[Source] Need casting, manufacturer for pendants

I am in the process of starting a jewelry business, and this
industry is all very new to me. It seems most quality gold and silver
jewelry is made in the USA, but cannot find the manufacturers! After
hours upon hours of research on the internet, I am still yet to find
a company that casts, molds, polishes, etc (start to finish)
necklaces for businesses, not individuals. I want pendant necklaces
gold-plated, gold-filled, silver and eventually with diamonds with
similar quality workmanship of Jennifer Zeuner and Jennifer Meyer
jewelry. Any recommendations? Is it best to get the mold/cast done
with one company and have it manufactured with another? Is it best
to provide the company with the metal? Or purchase metal through
company making pendants? If yes, where is best place to buy metal and
necklace chains? I live in greater Los Angeles and have not found
any leads in the Jewelry District.

Thank you! Thank you!

Hi Karen,

Lots of luck finding it in LA. Try Frostbite Falls, Minnesota.

Andrew Jonathan Fine

Karin- At the risk of sounding pompous…

I’d recommend that you start a business in a field that you know a
lot, not a little about.

The fastest way to loose a million dollars is to start a jewelry
business or open a restaurant.

So before you spend your, or someone else’s hard earned money on a
new business, I’d suggest that you work in the field for awhile to
learn your way around. The fastest way to learn about the trade in
your area is to get a job with a wholesale jewelry supplier. That way
you get to meet all of the jewelers when they come into buy stuff for
their shops. You find out who’s good, who’s bad, and who pays their
bills on time.

Have fun and ake lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

Well, Karin, where to begin…

I searched Google for “jewelry casters los angeles”, “jewelry
casting los angeles”, “jewelry casting company” and “contract jewelry
manufacturers” and got many, many hits. Not sure where you are
looking. Go down to 550 S. Hill Street in LA and ask around.

Not so many people are going to be into making gold plated jewelry
and goldfilled is either going to be handmade somehow or die struck
(or hydraulics) - entirely different processes from casting. The two
people you mention are not especially high quality and not
especially low, either. Eminently manageable, IOW. It’s not easy to
get into the door without some cred, though. I have to ask - you are
prepared, right? You have aline mapped out and either rendered and
dimensioned or have prototypes made up? And financing and reasonable
expectations of costs? Without those things, nobody will talk to you,
I’m afraid - you need to have a portfolio of blueprints, essentially
(hopefully you do, just asking…) “I wanna make a line of jewelry
just like dose guys have” doesn’t go far inthe trade…It’s also a
fact that newbies can meet with resistance in places - just the
nature of the beast, I’m afraid… But try Hill Street - it’s the
jewelry center in LA.

Startup. I could write a book about startup, and might in my
retirement, IF I ever have one.

Anyway… the cautious advice given so far is ignored at one’s own
peril. However if you have the proverbial fire in the belly, here’s
my twenty dollars worth.

I think you need to really define your role in the business. Sounds
like you plan to be the administrator. If you do find a manuf company
that will enter into a contract with you, they are probably going to
need a certain volume to make it worth their while. Might be in terms
of units or might be dollars. If this is the case you need to be
ready and able to market that volume fairly quickly and certainly

Hypothetical scenario. Manuf demands 500 units or $50,000
volume(alter the numbers to suit your reality). This means that
likely you will make an initial payment of say $25,000 and balance
due at delivery…or something similar, or maybe pro forma…, all of
it upfront. Whatever, you need $50K just to get the merchandise made.
That’s fifty grand out of pocket and you won’t begin to make that
back till you start to sell some appreciable volume yourself. So
that’s why you need your marketing in place(which also costs real
time money) before you even begin the manufacturing process. You’re
the admin, that’s your job.

Who’s going to buy this first run at a theoretical
$100,000?(asumming key). If you are direct marketing you have to find
500 individual willing buyers. Not insurmountable but a job for sure.
How long will that take? can your new company afford to float the
$50K+ for an unknown length of time. May be its just three months,
maybe three years. A bank will not finance you, angels are hard to

If you are selling to retailers good luck getting your foot in the
door. If you choose to sell to independents you might close 20% of
your prospects and each might buy say 10 pieces average, til they see
how it sells. So that’s 50 actual closed deals, which also means at
20% you need to have 250 real presentations. That’s ALOT of work. In
this economy small fish are not easily taking bait. Institutional
buyers will prob buy larger quantities but do you know who and where
they are to make your pitch? And I’m being optimistic with the
numbers here. Again, alter the numbers to fit your particular

So maybe you say you’ll hire a rep instead. Good reps want proven
lines. Bad reps may take any line but do you virtually no good.
Catch 22.

WHEW, depressed yet? I’m not trying to depress or dissuade you. I’m
trying to illustrate that it all takes specific action and planning
on every nit pikin step to get anything accomplished. That’s your
goal…accomplish favorable sales.

So if you are ready willing and able to do the grunt work, to find
or front the money, to plan til you’re blue in the face, to work
nights and weekends, to sacrifice your lifestyle for now…may the
rewards be as big as your dreams.

I know that wasn’t your question but hopefully its a useful answer.

So that's why you need your marketing in place (which also costs
real time money) before you even begin the manufacturing process. 

Jeez Neil, that would put ME off!! :slight_smile: All true, at least in
principle, though.

There were a couple of replies on this - pretty depressing but also

I tried to keep the door cracked open, I hope. There’s something to
keep in mind beyond the gloomy realities, and that is the human
spirit… Another gloomy reality is that most people are average -
that’s what the word means. That means that most people will never
be Picasso or Cartier or Faberge or Obama. We went to a gallery
opening last month and it was full of the same, tired stuff…

But - That in no way means that maybe you - the OP or others - aren’t
the next Faberge or whoever you emulate. Lalique… 3 years or so
ago here on Orchid there was a nice lady trying to make a go of it
with bead stringing (she’s still in the gallery…) She got much
support here but she just didn’t make it in the end. At the same time
another bead-stringing lady cruised through with a contract in
Europe, wondering whether to use 14k or 18k because she had been
using silver. Her work was extraordinary, beautiful, elegant, well
made and imminently saleable, which is why she had the contract. I
meet and know lots of jewelry people - most are good but not
necessarily great. Certainly they make a good living. But every once
in a while someone pops up who just has that spark of something -
unique, special, visionary, lucky - some or all of those things. And
the doors just open up, because people can see it and understand it.

So, yes - the way is long and hard no matter what. That doesn’t mean
that it can’t be done and it DOESN’T mean that the OP maybe isn’t
that one - the one who really IS onto something and really does have
legs. Ya never know… But you need to have the work - the notion
that a couple of pages of degrees and gallery credits actually means
anything is one of the great myths of our business. You need to have
the work…

that would put ME off!! 

Sorry, didn’t mean to come off the way it maybe did. Maybe 20% of
this business is vision, the rest is nuts and bolts. Without the
machine the vision remains that, a vision. I’d like to see everybody
succeed which is why I might come off grumpy or something… just
saying hard facts that need to be dealt with.