Dos and Don'ts for Buying Wholesale Gemstone Beads

While many people engage in jewelry making simply for relaxation and fun, others take it to another level and make a profit from it. Creating a jewelry business can be complicated – especially the business part. Making sure you obey all the laws, in terms of buying and selling jewelry, can be a challenge. Plus, you want to make sure that you’re buying and selling the highest quality of beads possible.

By going the wholesale route, you can save money on wholesale jewelry supplies while utilizing fun and fresh ideas in your creations. However, the term “wholesale” can be confusing to some people. What does it mean and how can you best use wholesale jewelry suppliers to your advantage?

Green gemstone bead strands

Searching for advice? If you’re a newbie to the wholesale jewelry world, these tips and tricks can help you buy with confidence.


    1. Get a sales tax permit. Before you are allowed to buy wholesale gemstone beads, you most likely need a sales tax permit first. This is sometimes also called a reseller’s certificate. This allows you to collect sales tax on items you sell. If your state does not have sales tax (there are five that don’t – Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire, and Oregon) – then you likely won’t need one.


In some states, it is free to apply for a sales tax permit, while others charge a small fee. The process varies, but this page has the instructions and requirements for applying in your state. You will need information about your business, such as your Employer Identification Number (EIN).


To shop online, you will need to provide your sales tax ID number as well as provide the supplier with a copy of your permit. You will then typically receive a discount based on how much you order.


    1. Attend bead shows. This is a great opportunity to survey dozens or even hundreds of wholesale bead vendors at once. You can get a good idea of pricing and selection without having to spend time researching online. You may even find beads and supplies that you cannot find locally. If you order from someone at a show, make sure you get their business card. That way, if you run out of a supply, you can easily order more.

Magnified images of gemstone beads


    1. Be aware of minimum order amounts. Think you’ll be able to get a dozen beads for a great price? Think again! Buying wholesale is synonymous with buying in bulk. Merchants have minimum order amounts for wholesale buyers, which means you may have to spend more than you’re comfortable with. Some companies base your order on the number of beads you buy. For example, some go by units of measurement such as gram, mass, kilos, or carats.


For some companies, you may need to spend only $100 or so, while some may require a minimum purchase of $1,000 or more. Some may require that you buy beads by the kilo, which means you could end up spending thousands of dollars on stock you’ll never use up. If this is the case, the savings you’ll get won’t be worth it, in the long run.



    1. Rely on one store. It’s rare to find one store that has everything you need of the highest quality and at the lowest prices. Don’t feel like you have to be loyal to just one establishment. Feel free to shop around. Some stores specialize in certain beads, while others are best for supplies.

    1. Order online. When buying in such large quantities and spending a large sum of money, it’s best to conduct your business in person. That way, you can see the gemstone beads in person and make sure you’re getting high-quality products.


You don’t have that assurance when shopping online unless you know you are dealing with a reputable bead store. You may be able to see photos, but they can be deceptive. They don’t show you exactly what you’re buying. Once your order arrives, you could end up extremely disappointed and out a bunch of money, especially if the store has a less than stellar return policy.

Gemstone beads sold by the strand

By knowing how to shop at bead shows and wholesale retailers, you can buy in bulk and get great deals on high-quality beads made from precious gems. You can then use these beads to create amazing jewelry pieces. Don’t miss out on what wholesale has to offer, especially if you plan to sell your creations.