Thinking of buying jewelry online? You have made the right choice!
It is only on the internet that you can get the best value for your money. With that in mind, this guide will give you insights on how to buy jewelry online and:
- Why do you need to buy jewelry online
- How to get the best value for money on jewelry deals online
- Red flags to watch out for when buying jewelry online
- The best online stores to buy jewelry
- And a lot more!
How to Buy Jewelry Online
Let’s start, shall we?
In this Guide
6 Best Online Jewelry Stores
You can trust the best online jewelry stores on the list below. I pulled this quick list which I hope will be of great help. Keep reading to know more about each of the stores.
- James Allen (best prices and value for money)
- Blue Nile (best selection and variety)
- Ritani (top designer settings)
- Clean Origin (best lab-created diamonds)
- Whiteflash (best diamond cuts and shapes)
- Leibish & Co. (best colored diamonds)
Should You Buy Jewelry Online?
Before you commit to this huge expenditure, you must understand the reasons for buying jewelry online, or why you should be considering this mode of purchase.
Buying jewelry means breaking your bank account. Hence, most buyers feel the urge to touch and get the experience before wiring funds. This is understandable.
That touch and feel actually cost you something. You may be charged between 20% and 40% premium on the jewelry online.
Let’s explain this some more below.
There is no doubt that shopping online is convenient. There is no need for you to go to the physical stores. You can shop for your favorite piece while at home, in the office, at a coffee shop, in the garage, or anywhere else.
You can shop from a store that is several miles away without visiting the shop. Most online shops have a live online chat, round-the-clock customer service, and email support to contact the sales representative. These services are available all through and you will not wait around for help.
It costs much less to shop for diamonds online thanks to the dropshipping strategy by many suppliers.
Dropshipping is a strategy used by an online store where they do not keep the jewelry in their stores. The jewelry pieces are brought from the manufacturer’s stores only if a customer orders and purchases. The products are however listed on their websites. This helps eliminate the cost incurred in paying warehouse space and middlemen.
Blue Nile and James Allen are known to use this technique. Most of their jewelry is sold directly from the manufacturer.
At the tail end of dropshipping is a cheaper diamond necklace, ring, or bracelet, making it an advantage to you, the buyer. In a brick-and-mortar store, overhead costs include rent, sales reps, security, etc. all these cause the final price of the jewelry to go extremely high.
If you have shopped in a physical diamond store, most likely you have encountered persistently persuasive and pushy salespeople.
It is annoying to have someone trying to push a particular diamond necklace down your throat when you know exactly what you want (also, what you don’t want).
When you shop online, such ‘annoying’ people are not there. You will talk to great customer representatives who are willing to give you all the information that you want. In addition, there is no one on your shoulder criticizing your jewelry choices, this makes you feel more confident when buying jewelry online.
Most brick-and-mortar stores are limited by space, otherwise, they would have to increase the markup price to cover more storage space. This limited space makes it hard for the stores to have a wide selection of jewelry.
In addition, jewelry sellers may not have enough money to buy jewelry that can fill up a huge space. Come to think of it, it is risky to have that huge jewelry collection in one place. Corporate stores need to incur an extra cost for storage and security for valuable jewelry.
Online stores do not need a physical place to put their jewelry. Because of drop shipping, these stores can “store” as much jewelry as they want on their websites. Thereafter, the customers connect with the manufacturers directly.
How to Buy Jewelry Online
With these highlights, follow the steps below to buy jewelry online the correct way.
1. Find the Right Store
The first thing you should be thinking about is where you will get the jewelry piece you want. The question is, who will it be? You need to find a reliable online store.
So, how do you know which is the best?
I would go with and suggest with no doubt James Allen. Blue Nile is also a good stop shop. There are more other online jewelers but these two are the biggest and most reliable. Furthermore, they are optimizing their websites to make the online shopping experience better for their customers.
Unfortunately, these online stores experience what I refer to as a “touch and feel” problem. This is because they are not always able to allow buyers to touch and feel the jewelry before buying.
However, the problem has somehow been solved. James Allen, for instance, provides a 360-degree HD camera that allows you to view the jewelry piece online. Take a look below.
To compete with other online stores, James Allen has made 360 degrees viewing a must.
While James Allen offers this tool for all the jewelry in their inventory, Blue Nile offers the same for diamonds only.
It must have cost JA a huge investment to get this technology, but that cannot be compared to the impact it has on converting mere visitors to customers.
2. Additional Costs (Shipping and Tax)
Since you are buying online, it is expected that you will pay for the product to be shipped to your location. In addition, you will pay sales tax for the products you purchase.
Between these two added costs, you should be more worried about the sales tax. Most jewelry pieces are lightweight and their shipping costs are negligible.
Sales tax is determined by the state and city where you are and are charged based on the price of the jewelry. To avoid this cost, you can have your new jewelry shipped to a state that does not charge sales tax like Oregon if you are in the west, Delaware on the east, or Montana if you are somewhere in the central part of the USA.
You can achieve this by opening a local mailbox account in any of the above states. That should cost you about $20.then give this address to your store of choice so that your jewelry can be shipped there. You can then forward the jewelry to your home address. With this simple trick, your expenditure will be reduced by $100 compared to if you pay sales tax.
DO NOT buy any valuable jewelry that does not have any authentication documents. A diamond certificate is the only proof of quality for the jewelry you are about to buy. The certificate must be issued by an independent gemologist from a recognized and trusted grading laboratory.
The level of doubt and uncertainty with online shopping leaves no option but to know that you are getting a genuine product. For example, a website may state that a diamond is VS2, but is it really that?
The Gemological Institute of America and the American Gem Society and the two common and most trusted laboratories for providing gemstone authentication certificates. Remember to ask for a certificate of any of these bodies as part of your purchase.
If you don’t know how to buy jewelry online and you find a jeweler that is selling a jewelry piece without a certificate, run away and don’t look back, it is fake! Do not trust any store that sells diamonds that have no certification.
Think in the lines of buying a car that has a warranty. If the ring seller does not offer a warranty (certificate), who knows, maybe he is just selling you cubic zirconia for $1,000.
4. Ask for Real Images & Videos
You already know that online jewelry vendors sell what is not in their stock. They do this to increase the inventory stock. Most of them list jewelry with stock photos rather than real photos.
Stock photos are more like photos of similar products in the place of the actual product. The online vendor contacts the supplier for the actual photos only when a customer has ordered the jewelry.
It is important to confirm the dimensions of the diamonds you are buying. Cameras tend to make images look bigger than the actual product.
Some online jewelry stores will use color correction techniques to make the jewelry piece appear brighter. As earlier mentioned, some stores like James Allen are optimizing their websites using 360 HD videos. This is the least that any online jewelry seller can do for its customers.
5. Ask About Warranty
It is common for most online buyers to get something that they did not order. It is safe to buy a product from a vendor that assures you of the quality of what they sell.
This is where a warranty comes in handy. Ask the seller if the product comes with any warranty and if the same attracts any extra cost. A good number of jewelry sellers online have a manufacturer’s warranty that covers regular cleaning, polishing, re=tipping, and other routines. However, such warranties come with a limited period and an extension attracts additional costs.
RECOMMENDED: Does James Allen Offer Warranty on Jewelry?
If you buy jewelry from Blue Nile or James Allen, you will get a lifetime warranty that covers rhodium plating, prong tightening, cleaning, and polishing. The warranties, however, have restrictions. When these restrictions are violated, the warranty becomes void.
See below Blue Nile’s restrictions
Based on the restrictions above, if you take your Blue Nile diamond ring to any local jeweler, the Blue Nile warranty will not take effect.
This, however, does not mean that Blue Nile is scamming its customers.it is business as usual to offer a 100% warranty with restrictions to get profits on its expensive jewelry.
The point here is to ensure you get jewelry from an online store that is ready to back its product with a reliable warranty.
RECOMMENDED: Does Blue Nile Offer Warranty?
Buying Jewelry Online vs. In-store
By now you have already known that it is better to buy jewelry online. Here are the reasons in detail for why you should shop online.
Less Overhead Costs
Buying jewelry online is cheaper.
Physical stores have additional costs that are not incurred by online stores. they have to pay for a rental facility in a busy place where there is a lot of foot traffic, storage facilities, security, shipping costs, and other things.
They also have to predict demand by finding a strategic location and stocking jewelry that sells. A few times, customers are disappointed to hear that the jewelry of their choice has been sold out but they can find it in a store that is 20miles away. Immediately you hear that excitement turns into frustration. If you are still interested, you may walk to the next store, but other customers may give up the search.
Physical stores have to revise their prices upwards to cover the overhead costs.
Online stores look for warehouses that are strategically located in industrial areas. There, rent is cheaper. By doing so, they shift their focus to providing excellent customer service to their online customers.
Physical stores are normally crowded during seasons like Valentine’s and Christmas.
You can wait for several hours just to buy a pair of earrings during these holidays. the better option is to buy the earrings from an online store since there is never a crowd.
No Pushy Sales Reps
When shopping in a brick and motor store, you will not escape the salespeople. These people will derive their morale from the commission that they will get when they sell jewelry, the reason why they are pushy. Because of the foreseen commission, these salespeople will give you false information just to get you to commit.
There might be honest representatives but the fact that they are working on commission makes it hard for you to believe that the information they give you is the correct one.
When you shop online, there is a higher chance that you will get unbiased information.
Better Deals and Coupons
Online jewelry stores remain open every day round the clock, this gives you the chance to access jewelry deals when they go live.
In addition, you have 24/7 access to customer support and you can ask them if there are any ongoing sales or if there are coupons available. the sales reps in online stores focus on making the customer happy, whether you buy the jewelry or not.
Avoid Sales Tax
Jewelry sold in physical stores almost always attracts a sales tax calculated as a percentage of the diamond’s markup price.in some states like New York, the tax can go up to 10%. You can avoid this cost by shipping the jewelry from an online store to a state that does not charge sales tax. The mailed jewelry can then be forwarded to your resident state.
Save Money When Buying Jewelry Online
Are you now convinced that buying jewelry online is the way to go? Here are some more tips to help you save money.
Let’s talk about the money to buy jewelry given that it is a huge expenditure. Several online stores offer customers financing options that are interest-free to make the purchase affordable. You can even buy the jewelry in bits as opposed to one-off lumpsum expenditure.
One time I bought a ring from Brilliant Earth through their 12 months program. The program works through Wells Fargo and it is interest-free. It’s like having a new credit card. This is a good deal especially if you have a good credit history.
Another great way to save money is to wait for when online stores are clearing their stock. To get new products in store, these vendors will sell the existing stock at extremely low prices. During clearance sales, you will be lucky to land on discounts of up to 90% off. Discounts can also go high during holidays or special days.
You can get coupons on anything! Talk of signing up to a service, reading a jewelry magazine, visiting the website, purchasing a diamond ring, etc. coupons come in handy if you want to lower the total cost of purchasing jewelry.
Many vendors use coupons to promote their products. hunt for coupons in every way possible to get discounts on the next set of jewelry you want to buy.
Red Flags When Buying Jewelry Online
Let’s end this guide with the things that should raise an alarm when buying jewelry online. This section will be updated anytime in the future.
No valuable jewelry enters the market minus an authentication certificate. The certification is conducted by a nonpartisan agency like GIA or AGS. Be sure to ask for these certificates when purchasing diamonds online.
With a certificate, there is no compromise. Valuable jewelry MUST have a certificate, period.
Never rely on stock images to make a purchase. Although, it makes be a bit difficult to tell the difference between stock and actual images. Check out below a stock image of a round-cut diamond in a white gold solitaire setting.
The image looks great, but this is not the product that will be delivered to you after ordering.
RECOMMENDED: How to Buy Gold Jewelry Online.
Do not get me wrong, stock images are good, but why buy a piece of jewelry that you have not seen?
Stores that do not have real jewelry images are a big no. if you are not sure whether the image is real or stock, do a reverse image search with Google. Look at the example below.
At no point should you buy jewelry without getting all the necessary information? you must know everything before buying.
At the very least, the following information should be provided by the seller:
- 4Cs (carat, cut, color, clarity)
- Year of manufacture
If a product does not have these bits of information, that should worry you.
Abnormally Low Pricing
Online stores periodically offer sales and discounts on their products, but it is not surprising that you will find others who will trick you into buying substandard products.
For example, you may find jewelry that has hard-to-notice defects being sold at lower prices than the original product. Remember the adage, “when the deal is too good, think twice?” yes, you should indeed think twice when the price is significantly low, that is the best trick on how to buy jewelry online.