In today’s world, consumers have more options than ever when it comes to buying their diamonds and jewelry.
In addition to mall and brick-and-mortar jewelry retailers, you can now conveniently shop from your desktop, tablet, or smartphone, any time you’d like.
But when you do decide to do your jewelry shopping online, you have to be diligent and make sure you know exactly what it is you are buying before going ahead with the purchase.
A lot of sites will show their diamonds within a range in carat weight, color or clarity. In order to know the true value of the stone you’re purchasing, you need to ask for exact specifics on its 4Cs, NOT a range!
The value of a diamond can vary significantly even within 1 clarity or color-grade up or down, and you’ll want to know precisely what it is your buying before you spend your hard-earned money!
If you do decide to go ahead with a purchase promised within a range, be prepared to receive the bottom-end of that range every single time. Both in color as well as clarity! This is how on-line-sellers bump up their margins and increase their bottom-line!
That said, there are many chain stores in your local mall who employ the exact same strategy. However, in that case you can ask them face to face, and are able to walk away from the purchase, without having to incur return-shipping charges and the associated insurance costs!
Finally, make sure the stone comes with an independent diamond grading report from a reputable grading laboratory such as The Gemological Institute of America, and not some in-house appraisal or grading report! (make sure it states whether you are buying a natural or synthetic stone, or perhaps even a simulant!) learn more
However, once you’ve decided on the right purchase for yourself, there are still a few diligent checks to do on the company you’re about to do business with before hitting the “check-out” button. You’ll definitely want to look into:
- How long has the company been in business?
- Have you ever heard of the company before you started your search? (A nice looking website does not imply that your are actually dealing with a professional and reputable organization).
- Does it belong to any jewelry trade associations? (Associations often have strict requirements around quality and levels of service for their members to adhere to).
- Do they offer secure transactions? (using cash, check or money orders for your purchase, can greatly reduce your options for recourse in case of a fraudulent sale!).
- How is their customer service? (Can you contact them by phone, or is this an email only operation? If so, this may be a serious concern!)
- What is their return policy? (Some offer very small return windows, which can be a problem if you are buying gifts early!).
- How will the purchase be shipped? Is the shipment insured? Is a signature required for delivery? (Often times the buyer is responsible for the shipping insurance which includes dealing with the insurance company, if the parcel is lost during shipment!)
- If you bought the item as a gift, who will be the one in charge of the return process, if the gift requires an exchange? (much easier if the store is located in town).
One thing you must be absolutely sure of is the seller’s location! Foreign-based retailers that do not have a physical presence in Canada or the U.S. are, for the most part, insulated from any recourse, and attempts to recover your funds can be very frustrating, if not entirely impossible.
Finally, once your purchase is in your hands, make sure you have an independent appraiser confirm that it matches the description and accompanying paperwork. It will provide you with the value of your purchase, not only for your assurance, but for insurance purposes as well!
Buying online can appear like a real time-saver, particularly for those of us who live a hectic schedule, however, it can also quickly turn into a real nightmare when what you were expecting turns out be anything but!
Interestingly enough a recent McKinsey & Co. study on the jewelry industry estimates that currently online sales comprise only 4 to 5 percent of total jewelry sales, and is expected to grow to only 10 percent by 2020!
At the time of writing this article, 81% of consumers indicated that they would still prefer to purchase their jewelry at a real store as most still want to actually touch and feel the merchandise, as well as have the piece-of-mind of dealing with a real, knowledgeable, and reputable jeweller!
We hope this article has given you a bit more of a background on buying your jewelry online, but should you have any additional questions about this or any other jewellery related topics, you can always: “Ask Our Jeweller”
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