Gems can be beautiful and lucrative. Getting into the business of importing them can be a challenge, thanks to regulations and duties.
Acquire a customs broker. According to Informed Trade, a customs broker has "access to systems and knowledge to file Customs entries in an efficient manner and utilise importer best-practices to speed import clearances and reduce import duties." Companies like Merchant's Custom House Brokerage Inc. can help.
Be prepared to pay high duties for gemstones, due to their high value and limited availability. You should set aside money in your budget for this expense.
Become familiar with the classifications of the various precious stones and gemstones. This will help you when you decide on which gems to import. You can find this information online.
Learn where the various precious stones and gemstones can be found. Diamonds, for example, can be found mostly in Africa, garnets in the US, India, Sri Lanka, Brazil and some parts of Africa. Such information is helpful in deciding which countries to concentrate on to acquire your gems.
Familiarise yourself with the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States which lists the classification and duty rates of precious stones, semi-precious stones, pearls, and jewellery. This is an important document for all gem importers.