Buying Diamonds & Other Gemstones
In moving our stock to our eBay store, we encountered a huge problem of badly illustrated and explained items already available, & were essentially driving traffic away from genuinely good quality product. Of course, people are looking for a bargain and often cheap easy purchases for which there is an abudance of items available. However, for the more discerning customer, I have created this guide so as to provide a small criterion of checks that will ensure that the item you wish to buy is exactly what it is listed as.
1. Presentation & Information
It is very easy to copy images from other sites, or buy them directly from suppliers. Look out for images that do not offer a few perspectives of the item. Invariably, to stop items being copied, suppliers will not provide pictures from different angles. We, for example, take the pictures ourselves and make a point of showing the stones, setting, band and a side view to not only offer a complete view of the item but also hopefully an indication that we take pride in our stock and the nature of the listing. This is our livelihood, thus it is imperative that we are honest traders. Our reputation on the High Street has been built over many years of face to face service, the internet is a different medium but the same end can be achieved if the same means are followed.
This means that any queries you have should be answered swiftly and accurately. A generic reply or no reply is immediately offputting, while one that lacks attention to detail suggests that the Seller doesn't really respect the potential buyer. Ring sizing, Certificates for Certified Diamonds and accurate descriptions of metals and stone should be conveyed in a knowledgable and courteous fashion. Never be afraid to ask a question, however mundane, it is the Seller's duty to accomodate you!
2. Certificates & Hallmarks
One could list an item as 18ct Yellow Gold or Certified Diamond, but honesty can be lacking in some areas of the internet, and as with any business the Jewellery industry is rife with insinuation that doesn't quite live up to the description. Therefore, despite there a number of decent grading houses, always ensure you request the Certificate number of the Certified Diamond that you are buying. That way, not only are you absolutely sure the Diamond you see is the one you will get, but a reluctance to comply with this request will immediately seperate the honest from the dishonest traders. As arule, we indicate the Certificate number in our listings.
Secondly, all hallmarked goods carry a stamp to verifiy their authenticity. This stamp can only be gained from one of a few legitimate Assay Offices. The most obvious stamps are 950 to indicate Platinum, 750 to indicate 18ct Gold & 925 to indicate silver. By simply asking if the hallmark is present on an item will straight away tell you the legitimacy of the seller....mounts can be bought from abroad or made independently that do not carry a hallmark, but they then may suffer from deficiencies such as air pockets that the Assay Offices would not sign off.
Our rings are all hallmarked as the same stock is available to the viewing public, therefore we caanot afford to cut any corners. Business reputations can take years to build and a single mistake to destroy.
3. Emeralds, Sapphires, Rubies & Other Coloured Stones
The majority of coloured stones on the market have been altered in some way to accentuate their colour. Either a heat treating proccess or chmical bath can increase the intensity of colour in some stones. This does not diminish the value of the stones and as they to become the main attractions in a piece of Jewellery, it is important that they look impeccable. The reason Diamonds have not been included on this list as they are majoritively untreated.
Untreated Emeralds and Sapphires are available but for excellent quality, the premium does make them very expensive. This is an honest comment to keep the seller informed, as it would be an inaccurate description to state the stones as otherwise.
The final point to note is that of the valuation for insurance and authenticity purposes. We appreciate that the insurance industry does not take internet jewellers as seriously as High Street Jeweller, thus we have every item we sell independently valued. The client receives a valuation for the full retail amount, with an image of the ring from a nother Jeweller with over twenty years of trading experience. This provides both an excellent indication to the insurance company about the authenticity of the goods but also peace of mind for the client who is 100% confident in their purchase.
Ensure your Jewellery comes with both a valuation and that the company offer an easy approachable service should you have any further queries after the purchase.
All of the above are very basic, and quite obvious things to look out for in the Jewellery market. If you have any other queries, we are more than happy to help, feel free to email the team at Marylebone Jewellers.