With Korea in the news recently again thoughts little tiny birthstone baby earrings from 20 years ago cycled through my historic brain. Today I am very concerned about the image and quality of the baby jewelry parents buy for their children. Today I write about 14KT gold jewelry.
I have written about comparing different materials but have not described my experience over the last 20 years with manufacturing quality country by country. When a customer buys earrings on a nationally know website its like a "River in a large Jungle," your selection should note country of origin.
Are these earrings from Korea, probably not. Maybe the gold filled are from China or Brazil, huge in the gold filled business. Korea's attempt to mass produce and distribute earrings seemed to have ended around the time George Bush and the Partriot Act became law. At the time I began to sell baby earrings and jewelry there was no comparison in the world with the workmanship in the beautiful jewelry manufactured in Spain. They know how to design, mold and assemble their earrings to give the customer the best possible quality and durability with a reasonable price for gold and labor. These earrings used to circulate in Florida and South America. We brought them to New York in 2003 and have never stopped selling earrings from Spain. The only country that excels beyond Spain but does not focus especially on children's jewelry is Italy. It was very trendy in the 1990's when gold was below $500 per once for many years.
In the early 2000's new countries began to slowly sell to the U.S. With Italy maintaining its excellence in all categories Asian countries such as Vietnam and Hong Kong entered the mass production of jewelry.
Vietnam is now considered a strong option for quality and durability.
Many U.S. based manufacturers have moved their factories from their old factories based in Providence, Rhode Island to Central America to lower the labor costs enough to compete with Asian manufacturers. The quality can be varied and I have experienced many instances where the solders are used so lightly that the product does not stay assembled. This does not make for happy customers.
Finally I will talk about Mexico which also entered our markets in the last 20 years. These products are in the same level as how I previously described Korean goods. They super light and their screw backs are tiny. Many customers cannot use them, lose them and are forced to either replace the whole earring or buy another pair. Since their earrings are made with super thin posts most U.S. or Vietnamese supplier of earring back are not interchangeable with earrings from Mexico. The finish is rough not smooth and polished.
For our customers we prefer to stay away from goods from Mexico. There are almost no Korean earrings left in the U.S. other then possibly old inventory left with suppliers in Los Angeles.
We like to sell the best and offer economic earrings made in Vietnam, Pearl earrings assembled in the U.S.A. and Canada and fashion and deluxe children's earrings from Spain and Hong Kong. Our new omega back hoops are from Italy.
When comparing karat, cost and price also take a look at country of origin.
I have left Thailand and India to a separate conversation about Sterling Silver.