How To Start Your Gemstones Business: Roadmap exposed

The gemstone market is flourishing since the demand for these beautiful stones is on a rise. There could be many factors for such demand, particularly- the beliefs surrounding it or simply the beauty and aesthetics associated with the stone and its use in fashion. However, the supply and transparency remain low. Thus, investing in a gemstone stone business seems like a wise decision.

Starting your own business can be an overwhelming thought, right? Self-doubt and questions like how, when, what naturally spiral into your head. Thus, we have collated 7 things to keep in mind while starting your gemstones business. Let the learning begin!

Know what you’re selling

The first step is to know what YOU want to sell. Do a little interview with yourself and ask a few questions like:

A. Why do I want to sell gemstones?

If you’re from India or Thailand, you might want to sell colored stones because you’re part of the largest manufacturing hubs for gemstones in the world. In India, Jaipur- the Pink City is also known as the City of Gems! The glamour of this industry is irresistible. Remember, you can also do this from anywhere in the world. You can always source your gems from India or Thailand.

B. Am I equipped with the science/knowledge about the various colored stones (for the future clientele)?

The gems and jewellery industry is a competitive market. The only thing that sets you apart from the rest is your practical knowledge of gemstones. This will set you to the right buying path and optimise costs. JK Diamonds Institute of Gems and Jewellery is known to impart 100% practical knowledge using advanced techniques and tools that are used in the industry for identification, origin, pricing of various gemstones including precious, semi-precious, rare and organic gems. 

Gemstones have become popular because of the beliefs associated with them. History is witness to these astrological beliefs that have resulted in an increased demand for gemstones. Celebrities and Popular personalities from all over the world possess gemstones that are assumed to bring in prosperity, good health, etc. 

Hence, gaining the right knowledge about the colored stones and understanding different markets of gems across the world is an essential to enter the business. 

C. Am I capable of establishing my own brand?

Branding is an essential part of business in today’s world. A brand is no longer “selling a product”, it’s about “selling a story”. Brands communicate with the audience through various channels, using dynamic strategies. Factors such as brand value and trust need to be built among the brand and its audience. For this, an entrepreneur must have the vision of establishing a brand. Branding is not a sprint race but a marathon. You need strong people skills to understand your customer tastes and preferences and take decisive steps to delight them. These stories need to be put out in the digital world and gradually build brand loyalty.

D. Do I have the resources, like time and funds to get it started with?

This totally depends on the business model you choose! Consider whether you are looking for trade solely of gemstones or gemstones studded with jewellery. Every choice you make will have varied requirements in terms of resources and funding. Only if you are sure that you can dedicate your time and effort in this direction, you must start a gemstone business. Remember, it takes about 3 years to set-up a fully functional business and start growing substantially.

You not only need the time and funds, but also the sources to purchase gemstones, metals etc. You will also need a network of people, including artisans, wholesalers, etc. if you are getting into gemstone studded fine or fashion jewellery.

E. Do I have a vision for myself and my brand?

Well, foresee the potential of your brand! Make a note of your goals, aims and objectives. Then strive to achieve these goals. You may have a separate set of short and long term goals.

It’s only through an open dialogue with yourself and your institution can you get specific with your goals.  

How deep is your love research

Once you have these answers and you discover the product that you want to bring to the market, the most important and crucial phase begins. 

Put your specs on (hypothetically), and start the (drum rolls please) research! 

“Gemstones have a huge market…”, so you have heard. But are you sure? 

Who is the target audience, why do they buy the stones, is it just the value or do they really consider them to be “precious stones”; where do they tend to purchase it from, how do manufacturers procure it? 

These are just a few questions which should sit on the tip of the iceberg of your question bank. Browse through the internet and study articles and ongoing trends about your industry. Follow relevant blogs and keep a tab on what’s cookin’ in the competitor’s brand’s kitchen. 

Institutions such as J K Diamonds Institute of Gems & Jewelry, where you pursue your Gemology education, will be one of the best places to answer most of the questions in your just created question bank. In fact, at JK, they even provide you with connections to source your loose gems or even studded jewelry, and also connect you with artisans to help you manufacture these beauties.

You can continue your research by doing desktop research. Use keywords like birthstones, real gemstones, semi-precious stones, while searching on Google and get a hands on knowledge about what’s trending and how you could use such keywords for your own business. Ace the Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) game with the help of free tools available on Ubersuggest and understand the SEO opportunities and threats.

However, online research alone- is not enough. Utilise the practical knowledge gained during the course by visiting the gem markets, trade shows, exhibitions, etc. Try your hand in purchasing various precious, semi-precious stones. Talk to other traders of various markets to gauge the opportunities and scope. Networking at such events helps you find the right suppliers as well as prospective customers.

Gemstone pricing can vary drastically and one needs to do a thorough research and gain enough experience to understand the valuation of these colored stones. For example, rubies found in Madagascar are of certain quality and its supply is not very scarce. Accordingly these are more economically priced as compared to Burmese rubies, known to be pigeon blood color and extremely rare, hence priced at a very high premium.

The more you explore and research, the better your gem business will be established.

Design your Plan-of-Action

Armed with the knowledge, march towards the next goal. 

Start with a long term to-do-list, and mark it chronologically (based on priorities). With the information about manufacturing and procurement costs, figure out where and how you want to sell it.

Start with creating the right network of gemstone suppliers. Various categories of gemstones, such as precious, semi-precious etc. can be sourced from different dealers, depending on the quality and pricing.

Next is your target audience. Once you’ve figured out what product to sell, it’s important to package it according to the needs of your target market. Create a buyer persona (a fictitious person who is most likely going to buy your product) so that based on it, you can create designs, stocks and collections that fit the needs of your clientele.

Make quarterly and half-yearly goals for your business, and keep a list of what I call “Want to’s”. It can range from creating a user-friendly website to giving discounts to return/valued customers, to roping in a famous content creator with half a million followers. You do you!

Get your pricing on-point

Note down your costs, include your packaging and design costs and don’t forget to compare the prices of the competitor brands. 

It’s important to figure out ways to cut costs. A helpful tip is to try getting directly in touch with the manufacturer. If you’re looking to get into the gems trading business, then finding a source that can directly bring you stones from the mines is a great way of cutting middle costs of the network chain. However, this can be economically beneficial only if you have the right connection to manufacture (cutting and polishing) these stones originated from the mines.

If you’re planning to enter the jewelry business, make sure to note down your manufacturing cost, labor cost, metal costs, etc. as they can easily be overlooked. It’s crucial for your business to make some profit, and very easy to fall for the discounts trap. With the market being so unorganised, it’s easier to command a premium and make good profits this way instead. Do business with the aim to create profit from the very first sale.  

Remember, your business will only be considered successful if you have a positive balance sheet, a.k.a once you start making money. Thus, getting your pricing correct is extremely important.

Create a story to tell – Your Brand

Work on a strategy that is relatable to your consumer. A brand name that resonates with your target audience and a tagline that talks about its sense of purpose. Learn from your competition and more importantly, learn from their mistakes and design your strategy plan accordingly. 

The story of your brand is what the consumer will be attracted to along with the aesthetics. So give equal importance to both. What does your vision talk about and who are you as a brand? The communication should be as clear as the moon on a cloudless night. Remember, confusion leads to chaos.

Choose your brand aesthetics carefully as once they are available online/in the market, there is no going back. Your logo, brand story, brand name, tagline, online/offline store should be telling the same story, like different branches of the same tree. 

Here are a few websites you can refer to if you belong to the DIY tribe:

  1. Canva (graphic design platform)
  2. Pinterest (for research and inspirational content)
  3. GoDaddy (to buy and maintain your own website and domain)
  4. Unsplash (to download high-res free images)
  5. Bitly (to shorten long URL links for social media/website content)

Instagram is your new BFF

Whoever said Instagram is the new shopping mall…was not lying! 

Instagram makes you want things that you didn’t know you wanted, let alone desired. So you would need to/want to/have to create your own unique presence on this platform.

Instagram’s feature of shoppable posts is godsend for small to medium businesses. You can set it up manually or through third-party platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce. What shoppable posts allow your customers to do is purchase your products with a click of a button. The algorithm helps you reach a vast number of customers, and payment gateways can be easily set up thanks to the collaborative platforms already in place with Instagram.  Your buyers need not go outside of instagram to make that purchase of the intrinsic fashion jewellery that you just put out there.

Market trends are set by social media now. Take the evil eye jewelry for example. In recent times, as more social media influencers, celebrities started honing the look, more businesses started creating it, and the audience for it started growing and is massive today.

Thus, social media is the place to be. Use features like Reels to make your client aware of your product, and IGTV videos to educate them about it. The higher your engagement rate, the better it is for you. Interact with your clientele in real time, and let your products be the solutions/offerings they are looking for.

Try to create a great social media calendar, with a mixed bag of product posts, entertaining reels, quizzes on Stories – content that intends to engage your audience. Aim to get your posts saved or to be shared by your ideal target base. Stick to a consistent engagement strategy which would keep the algorithm happy. And of course, don’t forget to use hashtags. #SupportSmallBusiness

Good things take time

Creating a steady gemstone or jewellery business takes a lot of time, hard work, and effort. Your long nights will translate into something real and unique if you keep pushing it in the right direction, consistently and with vigour. Try not to get discouraged by the smaller bumps on the way and keep reminding yourself that feeling anxious and scared is part of the process. Your business is your baby so you have to nurture it yourself and in the meantime learn from it too. 

So get up and get going, the future looks bright. All the best!

Learn more about the fascinating world of gems and gemology at JK