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Mailing Jewerly overseas and custom forms

Until now I have restricted my sales to the US–easy for setting
postage, mailing, etc. But now I am thinking of expanding to some
countries overseas. However, I worry about what to write on the
customs forms for the content of the package, to keep it honest and
legal, and not invite theft by indicating that it is jewelry. I would
appreciate any suggestions --and what works for those of you who
regularly send things overseas? Thanks!

Sandra Buchholz

We usually use FedEx for most shipping and you are able to put on the
label of what is seen “personal adornment” but on the customs forms
(inside the shipping pouch) we have to be quite specific…some
countries are pretty strict about what can be imported and how
specific they want the written info on the customs forms, other
countries are a bit more lax. If it is not written clearly it will
get held up in customs.

It is important to know what each country allows as some do not allow
jewelry, some do not allow gold jewelry, some have value limitations
on jewelry; and some countries are pretty high risk for sending
things to. Both the USPS website as well as other sites have helpful
We use ParcelPro when we ship FedEx and they have
countries which they will not insure to as the risk is too high and
we will not ship where we cannot get insurance.

Mrs. Terry Binnion

DO NOT WRITE JEWELLERY on the outside tracking forms. You might be
aiding that the package get “missplaced”. Contact your own gov’t and
ask for a series of numbers to affix on the outside “International
Waybill” forms. We have these in Canada, the courier has no idea
what the “contents” really are. But the Customs know what these
numbers represent and you are so very safe. If you do the leg-work
now and follow certain steps, your package will get identified fast
and with no hassle.

I use Fed-Ex with great ease and no worries, their custom brokers are
used to these Gov’t numbers and appreciate that we write them down
ahead of time. If you don’t know your Gov’t telephone number, the
Fed-Ex office will help you in this situation…hope it works for ya!

Gerry !

Hi Sandra,

I regularly ship things to other countries. I’ve found Priority Mail
the least expensive & most economical way to ship.

You can sign on to & print the shipping label with postage
& the customs forms necessary for international shipments. In order to
print shipping labels & customs forms you need have a sign in name &
password. If you don’t already have one you can do that on the site as well. It’s free & you can pay by credit card.

If you do a lot of shipping, both domestic & international, you may
find a service like that offered by more efficient.
There’s a small monthly charge for but its worth it. I’ve
been a very satisfied user for many years.

You can order USPS Priority envelopes & boxes from & have
them sent to your location. Then when it’s time to mail a pkg. you
have the correct Priority box or envelope on hand & with the shipping
label with postage printed at your location you don’t have to wait in
any lines at the post office. If you want, you can even have the Post
office pick the pkg up.

It’s really nice to have the pkg ready to go. It’s fun walking past
the lines in the PO & just laying the pkg on the counter.



I mail necklaces and bracelets. When I have to provide an
explanation I generally write “replacement metal O rings” since both
necklaces and bracelets are made in a circular shape and they are
metal. Works for me.

Good luck to you.

I used the paypal shipping website and mistakenly used a small flat
rate box. That box is only $13 but cannot be insured. Forced by the
post office where I was shipping from to use the jewelry value and
description, the package could only be tracked to my post office and
paypal deducted all the money back when the buyer claimed she had not
received it. Learn from my mistake. Reasonably priced shipping that
cannot be tracked or insured is a false savings.


Speaking of flat rate boxes…the fee for them just went up again.
The small size is $5.20.

Didn’t they raise that rate less than a year ago?

Karen (who uses them quite a bit on Etsy)

The trouble with Flat Rate boxes is that you have no way of tracking
them. When the customer writes, “Where’s my stuff?” you can’t even
prove you mailed it. Priority International costs around 3x as much
but you can track it. Plus, the small size of the Small Flat Rate box
makes them easy to “disappear” from the system. We use the larger
Priority cube for all International jewelry. This requires a 4 page
customs form, one of which we keep as proof of mailing and for
tracking. The only International pieces we’ve ever had gone missing
have been in small Flat Rate boxes.

Customs and international shipping - I have had fairly good luck
with international shipping until this Christmas season/ I have 2
international priority mail packages still missing in action. One to
the UK and the other to Denmark. The sad thing is that I have never
had a first class international package go missing or any package for
that matter. I asked the customers to pay priority mail rates so they
would get there in time for Christmas. Since my items are mostly
under $100 it seems silly to insure them but I am probably going to
have to replace the items., I have decided to up my postage charge
and start purchasing 3rd party insurance.I have 2 packages going out
tommorrow I used shipsurance to insure them and it was fairly
painless and cheap to go through the process. I know many of my
fellow sellers refuse to ship internationally, but since 10% or more
of my sales are international I can’t justify stopping international
shipping. Plus I like the idea of my jewelry being all over the

Best of luck

I use Fed-Ex all the time and extremely satisfied with their handling
methods. I track my parcel at every stop and “watch” present
location. If you are using a business account, things progress much
more easily through the “customs”. Get a stamped “Commercial
Invoice” and a copy of the “tracking Slip”. This way nothing can go
wrong, or get “misplaced”.

Gerry !