Buying Jewellery on eBay can be a highly enjoyable & exciting process provided you bear in mind a few simple principles...
Jewellery prices are lower for a reason!
Jewellery prices on eBay are much lower than the prices you will pay in the High Street for several reasons. Firstly, many items on eBay have been imported from overseas therefore they may not carry the UK standard hallmark that you may be used to hence it won't have to incur the costs of such hallmarking. Also diamond items may not come with a diamond certificate which they might sometimes have if purchased from a high street jewellers, where you would in any case pay extra to have the benefit of a certificate. Neither of these factors are a problem provided you purchase from a reliable eBay seller with good feedback & you do some research prior to purchase so that you are sure of what you are purchasing. You can also have items independently appraised by your local jewellers if this is required for insurance purposes therefore peace of mind is also possible in terms of the quality of your purchase, particularly if it is a significant one.
Also items purchased on eBay are rarely, if ever sold on a 'home approval basis' as sellers always incur the costs of selling their items on eBay regardless of whether you later return the item to them for whatever reason hence many buyers are cautious & unprepared to pay the huge prices that they would if purchasing from a high street jewellers as they are not able to 'try before they commit to buy'. This again is not a problem provided you purchase from a seller who offers a refund policy & you are aware of all terms & conditions involved in this.
Do your research prior to purchase!
Make sure you know everything possible prior to committing to purchase an item. Ensure you are aware of the 4 C's of diamond buying so that you are able to realistically assess an items worth when it comes to bidding & so that you can manage your expectations of the item to avoid disappointment when it arrives! If you are in any doubt about anything concerning the item, always ask the seller prior to bidding. A worthy seller will always be knowledgeable of their items & offer informative and honest advice. One of the most common reasons for buyers wanting to return items is because they overlooked the diamond grading details given or because they didn't check with a ruler to judge exactly how big (or small) the item was in terms of dimensions. These are some of the most important factors to consider therefore make sure you are 100% aware of these as few sellers will take such reasons as worthy of giving a 100% refund without deducting their costs. Also don't rely solely on photographs to inform your decision - some less reputable sellers will enhance their photographs (known as 'trick photography' to eBay sceptics!) & the majority will magnify/enlarge photographs to show fine details so don't judge these to be exactly how the item will appear & again, if in any doubt double check with the seller prior to bidding. Also if buying a coloured gemstone or metal purity you aren't used to, be sure to get care advice from the seller or your local jewellers so that you can be sure the piece will fit in with your lifestyle.
Always shop safely online & don't overlook feedback!
Before committing to purchase an item, make sure you check out the payment methods they offer. PayPal is one of the safest & easiest ways to purchase items through eBay. Also don't dismiss the PayPal protection they offer to buyers as when making a significant purchase, this can make all the difference. Inform you decision as to whether to purchase from a particular seller by looking at their feedback from previous buyers. Make sure it is above 90% positive and don't forget to read actual comments for example regarding quality of items, speediness of delivery & value for money. If a seller has one or two negative feedbacks, don't automatically judge them to be a bad seller without checking out the actual comments made. Often it can be a case of simple misunderstanding & remember even the best sellers can't always make every customer happy where high expectations and very personal tastes are involved as with jewellery items. It's simply a case of using common sense to form a judgement!
If something seems too good to be true, it probably is!
Imagine the scenario - you see a diamond ring selling for next to nothing with just second left to bid. You skim read the description & everything seems amazing in the pictures so you bid. You later receive the item & are disappointed. Upon checking the description again you notice the item to be listed as having a low diamond quality grading or to be described as being an imperfect recovered catalogue item. This is the classic case where simply reading what is actually written is key & how snap decisions can lead to disappointment. This also echoes back to the previous point of doing your research. The jewellery sold on eBay may be cheaper for the reasons previously mentioned, it may be that the seller buys in bulk or simply that selling through auction doesn't allow the seller to place such high profit margins as high street stores do onto their items simply as price is dictated by the bidders. But, it could also be because the item is not as amazing as it seems upon the surface when one reads between the lines of the item description. Quite simply to avoid disappointment, make informed decisions. On a contrary note though, if the sellers previous buyers have been delighted though, don't be put off too easily! There are some true bargains to be had on eBay!
You get what you pay for!
When shopping on eBay, do bear in mind the old moto of 'you get what you pay for'. If you purchase a diamond ring for £100, it is very rare that the item will be appraised by your local jewellers as being worth £10000, that would be silly on the sellers part to list the item for so little! But on the other hand, don't forget that high street jewellers charge ridiculous amounts for gemstones that are sourced relatively cheaply and that can be set beautifully without having to charge exhorbitant prices as those seen in the high street. The vast majority of jewellery listed on eBay is of very good quality matching or exceeding that in high street jewellers but they aren't able to take such huge profit margins or don't have such huge costs to cover in selling their items. Be sensible in managing your expectations & you will always be delighted with your purchases. It would be silly to purchase an item for 20-50% of that which you would in a high street jewellers and yet still demand it to be appraised as worth 3-4 times what the high street RRP or comparable items value was. If an item is appraised at what you paid for it or more then one can consider this an excellent outcome! It's all about being realistic!
So in conclusion, buying jewellery on eBay is fun provided you do it in an informed manner by doing your prior research, buy safely from reputable eBay sellers & you manage your expectations by basing them realistically on what is actually there in front of you in the item description! Ask questions as needed always prior to bidding & don't be afraid to take a risk provided you have made yourself aware of the seller's refund policy! And if you need any more incentive to purchase jewellery on eBay, take a stroll down your local high street & compare prices! Good luck & have fun.