Recently I posted a thread on Etsy explaining that not everyone who has high international shipping fees are trying to pull a fast one on customers. I explained that shipping a package priority mail with Registered mail was the cheapest way to fulfill Paypal's shipping requirements for tracking.
I also pointed out that jewelry, specifically precious metals, generally had more restrictions than some other products when it was being shipped to a foreign country. In my case I was referring to sterling silver, although gold, titanium, and platinum are also precious metals.
Those restrictions sometimes includes the need to send a package a special way.
Here are the restrictions for Canada for example:
Coins; banknotes; currency notes; securities payable to bearer;
traveler’s checks; gold, silver, platinum, manufactured or not; jewelry;
and other valuable articles
may be sent only in registered items. "
And for Australia:
Jewelry is permitted only when sent as an insured parcel using Priority Mail International service."
Needless to say that thread did not go so well. I was accosted and told that there is no reason I should need to worry about any restrictions when shipping.
Some of my favorite ways this was worded are:
"most of what you sell (and what I sell in my other shop and some
in this one) is not fine jewelry and those jewelry standards don't
"Yes, I was thinking that "jewelry" that is prohibited for some countries
is fine jewelry, (i.e. real gold, diamonds, rubies, first class
gemstones, not secondary).
Most of what I've seen on etsy is actually "costume jewelry," that isn't super valuable."
"It totally makes no sense at all to mail a pair of $10.00 earrings for
29.50. They weigh perhaps 30 grams and aren't a huge loss of lost in the
mail. It's your prerogative as how to ship, but makes no business sense
"Your jewelry contains little precious metal. (When referring to mailing
precious stones, I believe they mean un-set, like sending a bulk
package of precious stones, not stones in a piece of jewelry of nominal
Well taking the advice of some of those people from this thread, I did contact the USPS. I asked specifically if a pair of solid sterling silver hoops (like my most popular sellers here) that only cost $10-$20 were considered "jewelry" where mailing restrictions were concerned.
This is taken directly from the email I received back from the USPS in response to that question.
Thank you for emailing us regarding whether solid sterling silver
earrings would be considered jewelry as far as mailing Internationally.
Any type of
jewelry, no matter the price, would be considered jewelry. Many
countries have these restrictions to prevent problems with black market
selling or to help keep production and sales in their economy.
For more information on the restrictions you may contact your local Mailing Requirement Office."
Well there it is. For shipping purposes, even in-expensive sterling silver is still to be treated as "jewelry" when shipping internationally.