I see what looks like really nice jewelry online from China, mostly pearls and small gold chains and stuff. What is the risk vs the benefit of buying online?
The potential pitfalls of buying gems and jewelry online is the potential for misrepresentation of the gems and jewelry that you buy. The questions to ask of the seller include:
- Can I return the goods for a full refund for any reason if I am not satisfied?
- Can I pay with a credit card? (important if goods are misrepresented)
- Are the gemstones treated? If so get specifics of treatment.
If you can return the product for a full refund if not satisfied and you pay with a credit card then you should be safe; however, the only way to be sure of what you have is to have an appraisal done on the items by a Graduate Gemologist that has an accredited Gemological Laboratory. Only 3% of the jewelry stores in the United States that have Graduate Gemologists on staff so this is the key.
Don’t settle for a jeweler that says that he has been in the business his whole life and is not a gemologist but is qualified. There are a very high number of jewelers that write jewelry appraisal reports on Gems and Jewelry that don’t have the training or laboratory equipment to identify the gemstones, interpret the market, and assign the appropriate value in the appropriate market.
In addition to that there are so many new treatments on the market that only a gemologist that does continuing education will be up on those difficult to recognize treatments that are crucial to value.
Do you have a jewelry question? Click here to submit your Ask the Jewelry Expert question. I will personally answer your question and may use your question in the Ask the Jewelry Expert series.Master Gemologist Appraiser
4016 Cortez Road West
Bradenton, FL 34210