The UK has a rich history of jewellery , with some of the finest craftsmen in the world creating unparalleled work.
But sometimes you may find that the jewellery you’re looking for can only be found overseas.
This may be a brand that isn’t distributed here, or a particular artisan that you would like to commission to create a one-off piece, who just happens to live overseas.
In this article, we’ll take a look at things to consider when importing into the UK, as well as the taxes and duty that you’ll need to allow for in your budget.
One thing we would always say before importing from overseas is to make sure that you have done your due diligence to see whether the item you are looking for can be sourced from within the UK. At Jewellery Monthly, we support British jewellers, and would rather that you buy local, if possible.
Importing from Europe to the UK
When importing from the EU, UK VAT will be charged on all items (except for gifts worth £39 or less), which is usually paid to the courier company before they release the items to you.
Something to note is that VAT is not just due on the value of the jewellery, but also on postage, packaging and insurance and the import duty that needs to be paid.
Standard import duty is 2.5% on the all items worth more the £135. Again, this is usually paid directly to the courier before the item is released.
Importing from the USA to the UK
Importing from the US is subject to the same taxes and duties as importing from the EU.
One thing to note is that some US retailers include UK VAT on their prices, while others do not. This is something to be cautious of when calculating your total price or comparing to local UK jewellers, which will include UK VAT in their listed price.
A useful tool to understand how much VAT and duty you will pay is US-diamond specialist James Allen’s import tax calculator:
This can be used to understand your total price, whether you are buying from this retailer, or any other.
Other things to consider when deciding whether to import jewellery into the UK
Buying anything from overseas is more complicated than buying locally, especially high value items like jewellery. Before making a decision to do so, there
- Customer protection: Foreign retailers aren’t covered by the UK’s sale of goods act, which means that as a buyer, you have less protection than you would have as a customer of a UK company.
- Return policies: While many online retailers do have good return policies (often 30 days), it’s worth checking whether this 30 days starts from the time that the item is received or whether the clock starts ticking when it is sent. If it is the latter, it may be worth evaluating whether you will have enough time to receive, review and return it within the allowed period.
- Warranty: Ensure that you are comfortable with what the jewellers’ warranty covers, and read online reviews to judge the level of post-purchase service that the retailer delivers.
- Adjustments: Rings, particularly engagement rings, frequently require slight adjustments to fit the wearer’s finger perfectly. While many overseas retailers for offer free adjustments, the process for sending it back to them may be more expensive than having it adjusted locally.
Importing from overseas can make sense in certain situations, but does need to be considered carefully to ensure that the total purchase experience is a positive one and is worth the extra effort and time over buying locally from a UK jeweller.
We always recommend you check the import duties and other costs before making a decision to import to the UK to ensure you are fully-informed.