Selling jewelry on eBay can be a nice little money spinner if it’s done in the right way, both with used and new jewelry.
How to Find Wholesale Jewelry
If you are going to sell new jewelry I recommend you have a mix of two separate sources. Firstly, find local, independent jewelry makers in your area and ask to sell their products from them asking for a wholesale price. You’ll be surprised how many people make a second income from making their own jewelry and taking around craft fairs.
How to Find Used Jewelry
You can find used jewelry in all sorts of places: thrift stores, car boot sales and charity shops to name a few, but you can also find a lot of good pieces on eBay. Search for ‘jewelry job lots’ or ‘jewelry bundles’.
Look for used:
- costume jewelry
- metal jewelry
- jewelry with stones
- beaded items
Necklaces, gold and silver colored chains, bangles, brooches, hat pins, tie pins, pendants etc. all sell particularly well.
What not to buy
Don’t buy ‘job lots’ of new items as these tend to be products that shops can’t sell, usually massed produce and cheap. Instead, I avoid plastic jewelry because it is low value and I also avoid rings, because of the risk of them not fitting and people wanting to return them. Used earrings and other body piercing jewelry I don’t sell on eBay because of health and safety issues. You don’t want someone getting an infected ear, or worse, from something you sold.
What to pay
Make sure you buy cheaply. I never pay more than $15 for a job lot and for that I expect to get lots of pieces. You don’t want to be paying more than 50c per item. Put a bid in and if it goes above the price you want to pay, forget it and wait for the next job lot.
Sorting the jewelry
When the bundle arrives at home sort through it. You will find some items are trash and some things are worth selling. For now, put the trash aside, but do not throw it away!
Inspect each piece for the following:
- Does it have a hallmark? If so, it could be real gold or silver and is worth more.
- Are there small stones missing?
- Do the catches and clasps work? If it’s not in good order put it in the save for later trash box.
At the end, you’ll have a range of quality items to sell. By the way, quality doesn’t mean attractive. It means in good condition. You might find a particular piece really ugly, but if you came across it, it means somebody once bought it and chances are someone will buy it again! Taste varies!
Listing Jewelry on Ebay
When selling jewelry on eBay you need to write individual descriptions which can be a bit time consuming. I tend to create a generic eBay template and save my individual descriptions to a word file so that I can reuse them to save time later.
For advice on how to write good descriptions see my article Writing Effective Description Content for Your Ebay Lisitng.
Find the going rate for a similar products before listing
First of all, get the right price. Check out similar items by finding out what the going rate is. To do this
- type in your product in the search list, e.g., ‘used necklace’.
- click the word ‘advanced’ at the side
- When the advanced search comes up, tick the box on the page which says ‘Completed Listings’.
The results here will show you what has sold recently and how much for.
Next you need to filter for ‘buy it now‘ only items. The results from this search will give you a reasonable idea of what you can expect to sell for. Once you have found a price which is reasonable (don’t try to make a killing, no one will buy) put your item up for auction with that price as the starting price.
If you want your item to appear higher up the rankings in eBay search results add the price of P & P to the starting price and offer free P&P to your customer (see previous article for why to do this.)
Why you should always sell used jewelry by auction not ‘buy it now’.
Unless you have a particularly expensive piece of jewelry, you need to bear in mind individual pieces may have to be relisted a number of times before they sell – so continually spending on ‘buy it now’ fees will cause you to make a loss on your item.
If you sell by auction you can actually get away with listing for free. Auction sales are significantly cheaper to list than buy it now, but if you wait for a free listing weekend where you can list up to 100 items on auction for free, you will not have to pay anything.
How much would it cost to list 50 pieces as Buy it Now? How many pieces of jewelry would you have to sell just to cover the cost? Exactly!
If something doesn’t sell, you can relist your auction sales over and over again the nest time there is another free listing weekend. I generally find this happens every two or three weeks. Simply go to ‘unsold items’ in the ‘my account’ section, click select all and click relist – done! No having to rewrite ads or re-upload images – it’s all automatic.
Doing this you’ll find, over time, that the majority of your jewelry will sell. Just keep adding new pieces when old pieces sell and you’ll always have a shop front with 100 pieces of jewelry for sale. Don’t forget when listing to make sure that you have a link saying, ‘Please check out my other items.’
Making Your Jewelry Look Good
Jewelry is so intricate and small that it needs good close up photographs. You also need to make your product look good. Concentrate on getting the best angle and focus on the items most striking features. Try to get a nice clean background.
If you really want to make your jewelry stand out from the crowd, read my articles Learn How To Improve Your Product Photography and How To Create A Product Photography Kit Without Breaking The Bank
What to do with the Trash
Before I finish, I just want to return to that pile broken stuff we couldn’t use. Well, you can still sell it on eBay.
There are lots of designers out there and people who craft for a hobby looking to find cheap broken jewelry to recycle into new pieces. They’ll take beads from a broken necklace to make a different one, they’ll melt down the metal for their own bracelets and use the diamante to create stunning new pieces.
To get the most profit from your scrap pile, you need to sort it out like you would your normal recycling. Metal in one box, beads in another, stones in a third. Sell them separately as job lots – and list them as ‘recycled jewelry pieces, perfect for craft use‘.
The money made from the recycled items alone is what should pay for the next ‘job lot’ of jewelry that you buy, leaving everything else as pure profit.
If you are selling jewelry on eBay, hopefully these hints will give you the knowledge you need to increase your sales, reduce overheads and boost profits.
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