How to try to avoid disappointment when buying jewellery or Don't let "occasional lemon" sour your eBay experience.
This guide is really about buying solid gold and precious stone jewellery, NOT costume, plated, or other styles of jewellery, as that's what I deal in. However a lot will still apply to other categories.
So you want to buy some jewellery on eBay? How do you avoid disappointment? Reality says you can’t BUT if you follow a few simple ideas, your disappointments should be very few and your eBay experience should be sweet. In fact the few lemons that you will purchase should not matter compared to the bargains and beautiful things you will also buy. If you are wise you will win more than you lose. If you win more than you loose, you should be happy. That has always been my attitude as a dealer. Mistakes cost you but the lessons learnt will not be forgotten.
Firstly, buy with your head and not your heart. It’s very easy to find amazing things on eBay that you simply "must have". Let your heart find them but your head buy them. Don’t let the adrenalin get the better of you.
You might find it hard to believe, but I have been embarrassed on more than a few occasions when a couple of bidders have lost it and one of them has paid, in my opinion, far to much for a particular trinket. A great deal for the seller but the buyer most probably won’t be happy.
Feedback now comes into play. A buyer opens a parcel and finds that they have paid too much. Is that the sellers fault? I don’t think so, but that might no be reflected in the feedback left. Refund is a possible option but will the seller want to lose a large profit which, he knows, will never be seen again.
So please don’t get carried away, control that mouse.
Putting a value on an item is difficult. There is no rule of thumb. I won’t go into details on that and let my other guides help. However it needs to be said that doing your homework goes a long way. Next time you are passing a Jewellery shop, Pawnbroker or Cash Converter, go in and have a browse, get a feel.
Use eBay’s “completed listing” search. It will prove invaluable.
Research, knowledge and gut feeling are my guides. In the end you have to have a go or you'll get nothing, just like trying to wait for THE latest model computer.
eBay is huge. There are plenty of fish in the eBay sea. I prefer to buy locally but even then the selection is large. And not only is it large, it also never stops. So if you find something you like but then discover something that worries you like, low or bad feedback, no Paypal, bad or lacking descriptions, or anything else look for another fish.
I find that, as an Auctioneer, I can’t help but use some adjectives when I’m cataloguing or describing. I mean, what’s a steak without the sizzle BUT amongst the sizzle you will find I have left all the meat you need to give you ALL the information about an item. Just get read in between the sizzle. I find it difficult to buy from a person who is vague about a description of jewellery. Either it is or it isn’t. It’s no good saying you think something is gold, or the stone scratches glass so it’s a diamond or that your mother said it belonged to great grandmother. I look for facts, not opinions.
Speaking of mothers, have you ever noticed how many people are selling up the estate of a recently departed mother, gran or uncle, sometimes for years. It also helps to develop healthy cynicism on eBay.
It goes without saying that you can ask as many questions you like. But first, please make sure you have thoroughly read the description and noted all the important details. I can't think of the number of times I have been asked questions that, if the person bothered to read the details, the answer is clearly stated. That person is just asking for trouble because they will eventually miss something important.
In the end it’s down to you and the choices you make based on the effort you put in. The more effort the better the result so spend some time and then be bold.
“Caveat Emptor"...Let the buyer beware!
I have been am a pawnbroker and second hand dealer. I have been regularly selling jewellery on eBay for the last couple of years.
SEE MY OTHER GUIDES FOR OTHER INFORMATION ON JEWELLERY. Vote as appropriate.
© 2010 Edward Vabolis
I seem to have used an awful lot of mixed metaphores in this guide for which I apologise.