Do you shop for jewelry online? How we shop for jewelry is always evolving. As children, the arrival of the annual Holiday Wishbook catalog was a big event. We waited all year to thumb through pages filled with the hottest gifts of the season.
After the catalogs came giant indoor shopping malls, with food courts packed with teenagers and roaming the isles at Hot Topic.
With the advent of the internet, buying went digital. We stopped standing by the racks and display cases in person; reviewing items one-by-one. Now we use our phones, tablets, or laptops to shop online.
Should You Buy Jewelry Online?
You shop online regularly now for groceries and household necessities, especially during the COVID-19 quarantine. Some websites even let you “try on” clothing, glasses, and hair color, virtually, by downloading an app to your smartphone or tablet.
Despite their best efforts to help you experience the item before you buy, online retailers still have to plan for a certain percentage of returns. Many make this step hassle-free by including a postage-paid return shipping label you slap on your box and “Voila!” that’s all there is to it.
Should shopping for jewelry be any different? If you’re purchasing fun, fashion-style jewelry online – it works about the same way as everything else. The risk is relatively low if you don’t like it. Some big-box retailers even allow returns in person at the location nearest you. This is a service we also offer for our online store.
There is a BIG difference between shopping for fine jewelry online and doing it in-person with a local jeweler. Here are a few important things you should know before you click “BUY.”
Fashion vs. Fine Jewelry
The difference between fashion jewelry and fine jewelry isn’t just price. Fashion jewelry is made from base metals and alloys (brass, copper, aluminum) with simulated stones (plastic, crystal, or cubic zirconia).
Fashion jewelry is trendy and seasonal. If it breaks, often the repair won’t “take.” The solder either won’t adhere to the metal or the high heat leaves the metal blackened. A good jeweler tells you honestly if the fashion jewelry you have your eye on can be successfully repaired.
Fine jewelry are engagement rings, diamond studs, and wedding bands. Quality pieces made of solid gold, platinum, or sterling silver embedded with gemstones like diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, etc. Fine jewelry is for everyday wear, easy to repair and with proper care, will survive to become a family heirloom.
A Costly Lesson
What do you do, if after all your research, you don’t like it once you see it in person? It could be a costly mistake. Before you press “BUY,” read the fine print in the return policy.
Recently, a customer told us they wished to return an expensive diamond purchased online at another retailer. Receiving a return on the purchase price was no problem. HOWEVER, the customer had to pay $700 for shipping and insurance on the package, just to get it back to the company. That’s a pretty hefty price to pay for changing your mind.
The online retailer’s business model focuses on upselling and volume. Their customer service focuses on efficiency via email or chatbot.
That just isn’t good enough for us.
The Personal Touch
Your jewelry is part of cherished memories and may be passed down from generation to generation. Lake Street Diamonds honors the trust you place in us when repairing or redesigning your heirlooms. When you’re ready to buy, you need an experienced artist/jeweler who listens and partners with you.
Getting engaged is nerve-racking enough – you want everything to be just right, especially the ring. These rings will represent the relationship. Part of making an expensive decision like this should include some education on stone quality, cut, setting and how it will be worn in daily life.
At Lake Street Diamond Company, you may speak with us safely in-store, on the phone, or via video conferencing. For 36 years, we’ve happily served generations of families.
Why Shop Local?
Confidence: A good local jeweler enjoys educating customers on the nuances of metals and gemstones related to the “wear-ability” of your jewelry.
Shopping in-person allows you to:
- Take your time
- Ask questions
- See all your options
- Explore custom design
- Understand the value of gemstone certifications
- See the quality and craftsmanship with your own eyes
Authenticity: Seeing gemstones in person is essential. Everyone loves the sparkly gemstones they see when they shop for jewelry online, but will the actual item live up to the photo?
- Cut and polish of a gemstones maximize the light reflected and refracted through the stone.
- For colored gemstones, you want to see the rich red of the ruby or the emerald’s vibrant green seen authentically in natural light.
- Online images receive enhancement in an image-editing program. The only way to truly know what your jewelry looks like is to see it in person.
Quality: Proper appraisal for your jewelry is important, too. An assessment by an independent (not an employee of the company) GIA-certified gemologist is the surest way to confirm the actual value of your jewelry.
- It verifies the price you pay for the piece is appropriate.
- The report creates transparency and trust in the transaction.
If you really feel you need to call us to double-check the quality of your online jewelry purchase, consider shopping locally first. Yes, this happens a lot.
A Last Word
In today’s world, consumers have multiple ways to shop. Buy in-person or online, just be sure to make an informed decision. If you must buy online, try to buy online from a local jeweler and always read the fine print.
It’s our opinion that the best use of online jewelry stores are to fire up your imagination. Then visit that piece in person or get help to turn that inspiration into custom jewelry that’s just right.
At Lake Street Diamond Company, customer service and beautiful jewelry are our passion online and in person.