According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) 24 percent of shoppers will buy jewelry for a friend or family member this holiday season, the highest percentage since 2006. Additionally, Shop.org forecasts that online sales will increase 8% – 11% this holiday season. If you will be one of the many online shoppers looking for jewelry bargains this holiday season, here are some tips for buying jewelry online:
B * Before you shop decide what you can comfortably afford to spend on jewelry purchases and the type of jewelry you intend to purchase. Do your homework by spending some time looking at jewelry in your local jewelry stores to get an idea of comparable prices.
Research the online vendors before you shop to determine that the company is legitimate. Reviews may be helpful and maybe a search of the Better Business Bureau website ought to provide information on the company. An important consideration is how they handle complaints, returns and repairs.
U * Understand the terminology used by jewelers to describe items. For example, gold purity is described as 18K, 14K, and 10K, gold-filled or bonded-gold. The karat quality marking describes the percentage of gold that is alloyed with other metals. Other metals like Platinum and Palladium are similarly described based upon the percentage of noble metal to alloy.
Gemstones are described as natural, synthetic (lab created), simulated or imitation (look like). Gemstones are sometimes treated to improve their appearance and/or durability and this should be disclosed when the treatment is not permanent; the treatment creates special care requirements for the gemstone; the treatment has a significant effect on the stone’s value.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides a few informative publications that are geared to consumers, “All That Glitters…. How To Buy Jewelry”, and “Buying Jewelry” are two helpful publications the FTC provides from their website. http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0045-buying-jewelry
Y * Your jewelry purchase should include sales receipts that include detailed descriptions of the jewelry including; the identification of gemstones, type and purity of metal (i.e.14K, 10K, Platinum, etc.), dimensions and weights of gemstones, quality grades of gemstones, and any gemstone treatments. Your purchase should also include a written copy of the store policy on refunds and exchanges.
I * Inspect the jewelry upon receiving for loose stones, rough metal, bent prongs, etc. and find out how the jeweler will handle repairs or replacement of jewelry if there is a problem in the future. This should be spelled out in the store policy on refunds and exchanges.
N * Never buy simply because you believe that you are getting a really great bargain. Most of the time the old adage “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” holds true. While price is an important consideration when buying jewelry it is only one part of the equation. Trust and the ongoing relationship you have with the jeweler you select are also important factors.
G * Get your jewelry appraised by an independent gemologist appraiser as soon as you receive your items to confirm that the jewelry does in fact reflect the attributes and qualities that have been represented to you by the jeweler. Many online retailers will only accept appraisal reports from an independent appraiser, a qualified professional who is not a competitor and is not in the business of selling jewelry directly to consumers.
For information on finding a qualified independent gemologist appraiser in your area qualified appraisers can be located by visiting the websites of American Gem Society, International Society of Appraisers, National Association of Jewelry Appraisers and searching in your local area.
Happy Holiday Shopping!