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Manufacturing in Asia


Greetings. Has anyone had experience with manufacturing in Asia? I
am finding it to be very exhausting and overwhelming to both try to
market my designs and make them myself and would like to begin
manufacturing overseas. Does anyone have any advice about this? Has
anyone worked with anyone that they would recommend? I would be
extremely grateful. Thanks in advance for your responses.


Hi, I am Tusif (CAD/CAM Jewelry designer). I am working on the
subject mentioned. USAID is helping/ facilitating Pakistani Jewelry
industry. Lot of foriegner investors are coming and opening
factories in Pakistan. I am planning to visit USA also in couple of
weeks and If you like I can visit you and we can discuss every
issue. Here what we are planning to provide:

  1. place
  2. labour
  3. material

And we are expecting only CAD/CAM Machinery… We also having plan
for Asian designs to market in USA and your designs to market in

Anyhow its long topic… if you are interested, we can discuss every

Please visit site

Tusif Ahmad


Don’t people understand that asking this is like saying “I don’t
want local workers, I want cheap labor working on my designs. I don’t
care about laws regarding age of workers, or the benefits they may
have, or even the working conditions. I just want my product to be

What exactly do you want to know about sending your 'exhausting’
line to Asia?

I would like to know why you decided to send your designs overseas.



Craig my dear Orchid friend;

I deeply sympathize with the North American jewelers who are
squeezed hard between cheap labor in Asia and the discount chains. It
was said many times on this forum, the only way you can survive is by
education and evolutions of your designs and services.

Asia is a big continent and your statement is not accurate. Many
happy workers are producing jewelry in many happy countries. Please
don’t patronize Orchidians whom may be reading this board from

Go to Clasp in September; get education in new techniques and
selling tricks. This will be your first stage for surviving.

Mark, an Ex Asia Hand



I totally agree with your statement, If I were a retailer, (which
I’m not) I would “hesitate” in procuring their merchandise from them.
Many tradespeople are now out of business because of the overseas
’connection’. I know things are a changing, but at least know the
conditions of the labourers and the conditions of the factories. Are
they paid well, number of working hours per day…and “some” research
should be enforced…Gerry! My two Canadian cents here


Tusif, I think this is very interesting. I would like to see people
everywhere in the world be able to earn a living wage. I am curious
if people in Pakistan have access to good health care and if it
depends on their employment status. Here in the U.S., one obstacle to
entrepreneurship is the high cost of providing health care for
yourself, your family, and for your employees and their families if
your business starts to grow. Here you must buy health insurance at
very high prices or else pay for everything yourself – even basic
public health prevention interventions like vaccinations. And
individuals are charged much higher prices than high-volume
purchasers like health insurance companies. Either way, your business
must pass the cost of health care on to your customers. This makes it
very difficult for small businesses to compete, even in the local
market. Sorry if this seems like a side issue, but it’s a personal
challenge for me in trying to launch my jewelry business. Doing
freelance health care writing has also made me acutely aware of
global health and economic justice issues. I hope that the people in
other countries who manufacture products that I purchase are able to
provide a decent living for themselves and their families, but I
usually have no way of knowing. I don’t want to exploit other people
when I shop for the best price, but, on the other hand, it seems like
having regular employment must be better than having little or no
income. It feels very complicated.

Congratulations on the opportunity for Pakistanis to learn and
improve gemology skills, and best wishes for your business. I would
enjoy talking with you if you are planning to visit Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania during your trip to the U.S.

Zemyna Designs
Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, USA


Hi Mr. Craig,

I surprised on your answer. Only cheap labor is not the point.

  1. I think people can get new markets with this vision.

  2. There are very nice designs and designers in Asia and I think by
    this way new styles can come. Third place, machines and lot of
    materials are also cheap in Asian Market.

There are lot of points which after little study I can mention which
will be benificial for a jeweller.

I think we should keep a positive approach on this thought.

By the way I am a CAD/CAM Designer and interested to make a joint
venture with any good jeweller in USA or Europe.

Tusif Ahmad


I am American and have chosen to work and live in Asia. You chose
the people you work with and if you prefer a dishonest, lawbreaking,
SOB you can find them both in the USA or Asia.

Finding the right people is most difficult. Most export quality
lines from Asia were built from the ground up with Western trained
individuals bringing skill and equipment from outside and spending
many years micro-managing.

I suggest you choose a country and spend 6 months traveling the
jewelry districts. Begin with a few pieces and be willing to lose
your money.

Ed Cleveland


Thanks to all of those who gave their advice. I actually came up
with the idea after visiting some of the larger boutiques in my town
and then definitely decided to pursue it after reading on Orchid
about how someone’s friend decided to have her products manufactured
in Asia, so that she could focus full-time on marketing her
products. Also, I have friends who work for major design houses in
the fashion industry and have observed people who own large to
mid-size jewelry concerns – to be very honest, most of these people
source their gems in Asia or in other countries as opposed to buying
through American middlemen – and many of them even have all of
their designs made in Asia.

I am lucky enough to live in a city with many businesses and I have
quickly realized that getting in touch with them will be a full-time
job. At this stage of my business, I am not in a position to take on
another employee. This is a crushingly expensive city, where
apartment rents of $3,000 a month or more are not unheard of. I
would not want someone else to be dependent on me financially at
this stage of my business. It simply would not be fair to them. As
it grows, then, yes, I will be willing to take on more employees.
Manufacturing in Asia will definitely help me to grow, as I
definitely do not have the space for a bench or to store gobs of
inventory. Space can cost $100 or more per foot in my town.

I am definitely concerned about the welfare of the workers who make
my jewelry. That is why I asked if anyone had had positive
experiences with manufacturers in Asia, as I would like to work with
someone who pays their workers a fair wage. I am even willing to pay
a little bit extra so that these workers are paid fairly. I
definitely believe in fair trade and would be happy to do what I can
to help with the development of a Third World country.

This is not to say that all countries in Asia are Third World. I am
aware that some of them, like Singapore are quite developed. This
leads me to another point: It is doing a disservice to Asia to
assume that all of its countries are underdeveloped with massive
corruption and such a lack of rule of law that its workers will
DEFINITELY be abused. While this is sadly the case in many
instances, it is not always the case. Abuses can happen in the US
and there are many sweatshops in my own city. I have believe that I
have personally witnessed this in the studio of one very famous
jewelry designer that I shall not name. It was clear that this
designer was using cheap labour to produce pieces that I have seen
in major fasion magazines and on Hollywood stars. This designer’s
jewelry is featured in many high fashion magazines and this designer
is almost certainly a millionaire. I know that I honestly cannot
afford to produce the designs that I want to produce in the United
States by myself. And I refused to pay someone lower than the
minimum wage, whether it is in this country or another country. I
know that the cost of living is cheaper in Asia and materials are
cheaper there, that is why I want to manufacture there.

For those of you who have concerns about the conditions of workers
there, have you done any research on companies that treat workers
well? If so, please feel free to share this with me by emailing me.
I am definitely interested in this.

Anyone who has had experiences with Asian manufacturers and knows of
reputable companies, please feel free to email me as well.


How about hiring some studio assistants? You could keep your
production in the states by bringing some jewelry students in who
would like to learn. They’d probably work for a little less given
the opportunity to learn.

Do any of your local high schools have a jewelry class? You could
probably post an after school job opportunity there. What a fun job
to have as a high school student! I would have jumped at the chance!



The only things that make manufacturing in Asia cheap is the human
and environmental aspects. Gold still costs the same no matter where
you go so you are saving on labor costs, and the lack of OSHA and
EPA standards for disposing of hazardous waste. The cost of living
is cheaper because the living standards are less, OR they have more
than one income to support the household. I know Shanghai is
incredibly built up and modern, but I also know the glaciers that
give China fresh water are receeding at an extremely alarming rate
because of the amount of emissions coming out of that country.

There aren’t many positive aspects to local economies, or countries
who have all their manufacturing/etc outsourced to another one.
That’s why the ones who RECEIVE the outsourced jobs REFUSE to
outsource anything themselves, and also have many stops on using
foreign workers or materials to produce things.

Did you call someone when you witnessed sweat shop conditions? OSHA
probably would have been interested as well as other government

Do you believe our current trade situation with many countries is



When you go into Walmart, you will see most of the goods are “made
in china”. Many workers are complaining Chinese take their jobs,
when they are also enjoying the cheap price. Can you image a DVD
player will cost only $30 if it’s “made in USA”? Many jewelers say
their jobs are taken by Chinese, meanwhile many jewelry business
owners make huge profit by outsourcing the work to China.

I believe it’s a big trend and everyone should take this chance. I
live in North America for years and now I’m representing a jewelry
company in China. Many customers are happy doing business with us,
because our quality is much better but the price is much cheaper.

I would welcome all the emails regarding manufacturing in Asia


Many customers are happy doing business with us, because our
quality is much better but the price is much cheaper. 

I can see the price being better. I am not doubting that your work is
high quality, but I work with many casters here who are amazing
technicians. They do beautiful work, for which I am very grateful. I
pay for it, it’s not the cheapest I’ve found. But I enjoy working one
on one with them, getting their advice on masters and it makes me
feel good that I’m keeping my labor local.

I know it works for some to produce in China. For me, it is a
preference. I know I could produce for a fraction of the cost
elsewhere. But many of my customers purchase from me because my work
is produced in the states. I like the relationship I have with these

When I purchase clothing, I try and frequent smaller independent
stores, and purchase items made in the states when possible. Of
course, some clothes and electronics, and other items that I
purchase are made in China and while I have nothing against
purchasing a product of China (we all have to eat, right?), it makes
me feel good to support my local artisans and business people.

Just my .02…

Amery (who has never set foot in a Walmart!)



Here’s the misconception. Most people would rather spend the
$60-$100 on a DVD player if they new it was keeping someone employed
in their own country. I think many people outside of the purchasing
country don’t understand that. The problem is, you can’t find
anything made in them anymore!

I CAN’T buy ‘made in the usa’ to support usa manufacturing because
there is NONE!

The only ones who like outsourcing, and overseas manufacturing is
the recipient country and the shareholders of the company who
outsourced. The community that lost all the jobs, the citizens of the
country, etc are not happy ‘because they can buy cheap stuff’… No…
They would rather have the jobs.

THAT’S the problem.



Hong (with no disrespect to you personally)

You just said your “quality is better”. Does that really mean better
than ‘ours’, or has it improved? If it has improved, please let 'us’
know. I prefer “quality”, to “quantity” anytime. If you stated
"quality is better" why is it so cheap? Is that a reflection on your

I just returned an Internet Router yesterday. I had it for only 13
months, this thing just stopped, dead! Guess where it was
made??..:>( I was did some setting for a very large international
Canadian jewellery company, they bought a truck load of rings and
bracelets from a certain off-shore country, (no name mentioned here).
It was one of their most ill advised purchases in years. They had two
jewellers spending all week, all year fixing up those items to a
saleable condition. Stones dropping out, gold links broken, thin
shanks, etc…quality?

Gerry Lewy!


Like in any other industry, there is a market for jewelry for the
bigger purse people who wouldn’t be caught dead buying Chinese
jewelry at WalMart. Nothing wrong with WalMart’s Chinese jewelry if
that’s what you can afford and you are satisfied with it, but we have
no shortage of people who can do better. It all depends on how you
market your product. You don’t have to target your product at
BillyBob who stops in at WalMart to buy a “ruby” ring on his way to
the beer distributor. :wink: Fish for the bigger fish - they’re out

Personally, when I first started out I wholesaled some Chinese
jewelry. I still have it. I don’t like it and I wouldn’t dare sell
it. It would give my business a different cachet that I don’t want.

Brian Corll
Brian Corll, Inc.
1002 East Simpson Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

The only ones who like outsourcing, and overseas manufacturing is
the recipient country and the shareholders of the company who

I am afraid management has a say as well. Lets take our industry,
how many colored gemstones are cut in our country?



A LOT of colored gemstones are cut in this country, however most are
purchased for specialized pieces because they are more expensive
than the production cut stones of overseas. If anyone wants name of
american faceters I would be happy to supply them. You will get
excellent quality cut stones, but of course you pay for that quality.

Unfortunately most don’t know the difference between a well cut
stone and one that looks like a piece of shiny plastic.



Dear craig

I would appreaciate if i could get name of the few good american gem

U can mail me the list to

Best regards