June, 4 | Jewelry

Online shopping has many advantages, but when it comes to valuable goods like fine jewelry, some precautions must be taken to make sure you have the best and safest experience.

Buying jewelry online comes with big pros and dangerous cons. On the one hand, you have access to a very extensive set of options and prices, anywhere in the globe, at the tip of your fingers.

On the other hand, you are buying a piece based on a picture, without actually seeing or touching it, from a seller whose reliability you can not always confirm.

The key to successfully purchase jewelry online is learn to take advantage of the tools available to you, and always do your homework.

Informed consumers may obtain better deals and a broader, more convenient buying experience if they know the dos and don'ts of buying luxury items from the web.

Despite how overwhelming it may seem, you can safely enjoy the many advantages of buying beautiful jewelry pieces online, by following these simple, but important, steps:

1. Research Before You Buy

Buying jewelry, whether you do it at a local store or online, is not something to be done lightly. It is never a good idea to buy jewelry on an impulse. You should start by doing some research, based on the piece you are looking for.

Learn more about the specifics of the metal or gemstone you are going to purchase, their quality grades and indicators, price variations, and everything there is to learn to make sure you know what you are buying.

The more informed you are about what you intend to purchase, the faster and safest the process will be.

2. Know Your Sizes

If you plan on buying a ring, for example, make sure you know the size you want before starting to search. This simple step will reduce the probability of having to return the piece because of a wrong sizing, and also allow you to quickly identify whether your size is available or not for the piece you chose.

3. Check the Seller's Reputation

As with every jewelry sale, trust is paramount in online transactions. Research the seller to make sure it is trustable, and check for indicators like:

> Some years of establishment;
> Knowledge and professionalism;
> Good standing with third party organizations (ex.: Better Business Bureau);
> High reviews from buyers;
> Direct contact and a good customer service;
> Detailed, high-quality images from different angles;
> Thorough information on every piece;
> Availability to answer all your questions.

4. Look for Detailed Information and Certification

As mentioned above, research is critical. If you are buying a gemstone, for instance, take the time to go through all the documentation and information provided. You should get access to measurements, independent grading reports, appraisals, provenance, and history of the gem.

Ask for information that clearly backs the seller's claims, like detailed images and lab reports that verify the condition, and quality of the item. If a diamond, for example, is not independently certified, its quality cannot be confirmed.

When it comes to diamonds, consider only diamonds independently certified by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) because they are considered guaranteed when accompanied by this report.

Don't be afraid to contact the seller as many times as you need and ask for more information and pictures if you feel the data they provided is not enough. A reliable seller is willing to answer all your questions and give you all the details on the piece, just like a jeweler in a physical store would be.

5. Search for Guaranteed Return and Exchange Policies

When you shop online, you rely on the pictures and the information provided by the seller. When you finally receive the piece, it may not live to your expectations or simply not look good on you.

For that reason, it is fundamental to buy only from trusted sellers with a guaranteed, open return and exchange policy. A reliable seller will allow you to examine the piece and return it for any reason if it is not exactly what you expected it to be.

6. Compare Prices

You should start by, once again, research. Look for what is determining the price of the piece you are looking for, and then compare the prices of similar pieces in different trustable sellers.

It is common to find identical pieces with different prices online. The important thing here is to verify if the difference in price is due to business factors (companies with fewer operation costs can provide better prices) or the quality or condition of the jewel.

Despite how tempting it may be to make a good deal, always ensure that the lower price doesn't mean a poorer or less safe service, as there is a cost to buy from a premium, reliable seller.

Comparing independently certified gemstones by GIA, for example, allows you to determine the causes of the price range better, and make an informed decision.

7. Search for Safe Transactions and Shipping Services

Buy only from websites with secure sites (SSL) and sales, as this will keep your banking information protected. It is also recommended to check your bank statement to verify if the transaction was made for the right amount.

A secure shipping service is also vital, as it will protect your purchase and ensure a safe delivery.

Now that you know what it takes to master the art of jewelry online shopping, what will your next purchase be?

Jesus Peiro | Porto