Like so many other products, jewellery sales are increasingly moving online rather than taking place in a traditional brick and mortar store. Shopping online is of course quick and convenient, plus it allows you to shop from places far away from your location.
While being able to see a piece of jewellery and trying it on in person is great, the downside is the inconvenience of needing to travel to a store and being limited to what that particular store has available. You’ll also miss out on beautiful artisan jewellery created by independent designers who generally don’t have bricks and mortar stores (like us!).
While there are plenty of upsides to shopping for jewellery online, it still takes some consideration and there are a number of ways it can go wrong. In order to buy jewellery you’ll love you need to pay attention to the right things and avoid some of the pitfalls.
If you avoid our top 7 Online Jewellery Shopping Mistakes, you’ll be much more likely to have a positive experience and will enjoy wearing your beautiful new pieces for years to come.
Let’s get started …
1. Skimming the Description & Photos
In an ideal world, there are some things you’d prefer to see and feel in person before buying them. Jewellery is likely to be one of them as it’s good to be able to try it on and decide if it feels right. Of course that isn’t possible when shopping online.
A new online jewellery shopper may be concerned about missing out on the ‘trying on’ step of the purchasing process, but that’s where detailed descriptions can help you.
If you’re shopping with a well run and reputable online jewellery store, the product listings will have in-depth information and observations about each piece of jewellery. You’ll get a very good idea of what to expect just from reading this information. In particular the description should give you a clear information about the materials used to make the piece (if not, this is a red flag for jewellery shopping) and the dimensions.
Also check all of the photos provided by the online store to see the piece from different angles and to get an even better idea of size.
Too many shoppers don’t read the descriptions thoroughly or look through all of the photographs. They miss out on crucial details that could sway their decision. It’s definitely a mistake to avoid.
2. Not Checking the Returns Policy
While properly reading descriptions and looking at photos will help a lot, sometimes you’ll receive your purchase and it isn’t quite as you expected or it isn’t a good fit for you. There’s only so much even the best description and photographs can convey about a physical object.
I’m sure all of us have bought something online only to feel it just isn’t the right thing when it arrives. Often that’s the point at which we’ll check the returns policy for the first time. Sometimes we’ll be disappointed to discover that a return either isn’t straightforward or isn’t possible at all.
A good online store should provide its customers with a fair returns policy, particularly when it comes to items like jewellery where seeing a piece in person is very important. At Simone Walsh Jewellery we have a money back ‘happiness guarantee’ that allows returns for any reason.
The best time to check the returns policy is before you buy. That way you’ll know where you stand up front when it comes to returns or exchanges. You should feel confident before making a purchase that you can resolve the issue if your item arrives and it isn’t suitable.
Not reading the returns policy before you shop online is a mistake that’s easy to avoid once you get into the habit.
3. Buying Pieces You Won’t Wear
Shopping online means you have easy access to many different types of jewellery. For some shoppers this can be both a blessing and a curse. It’s great to be able to see a wide variety of what’s out there and you may find something you really love while browsing, but it can also be distracting.
It can be so easy to unthinkingly add items to your cart when shopping online. For some people that means they may be more likely to buy things on a whim that just catch their eye. That kind of impulse may lead to adding pieces to your collection that don’t really fit your style or lifestyle and won’t often be worn.
Before checking out have a think about your selection and consider where you’ll wear the pieces. Are they for special occasions or everyday wear? Do you have a particular outfit they will suit? Are they a fit with your current jewellery collection or are you looking to make a change? Do they say something about who you are as a person?
Some quick consideration before finalising your purchase is a great way to avoid buying jewellery you might regret later.
3. Getting the Wrong Size
It’s frustrating to be excited about ordering a piece of clothing or an accessory online, only for it to arrive … and not fit. If the online store has fair returns and exchanges policies you should be able to sort this out, but it can still be discouraging and may feel like you’ve wasted time and effort.
Too many online jewellery shoppers fail to correctly measure themselves and get pieces that won’t fit correctly. This is especially the case with rings, but is also a factor with bracelets, necklaces and anklets.
To avoid this issue, the first step is simply reading the product descriptions, as outlined above. A well run online store will give you clear measurements for each of their products and you should make use of this information.
For necklaces and bracelets, you can simply use a tape measure to check how those measurements will sit on your own body. Also take a look at our Necklace Length and Style Guide for other handy tips and a size chart. At Simone Walsh Jewellery, almost all of our necklaces and bracelets have an adjustable length, giving you some flexibility. We also have necklace chain extenders to make the lengths more adjustable.
Taking the time to measure the right way is especially important when ordering rings. A ring should be easy enough to get onto your finger, be comfortable while you’re wearing and be a bit harder to get off. Knowing your ring size for each finger you want to wear rings on is highly recommended. Check out our ring sizing kit to help you get it right.
Double check your measurements and compare those to the listing details to make sure you’ll get the right fit every time.
5. Buying the Wrong Materials
One of the best things about jewellery is that it can have all kinds of meanings that make it personal and special to the person wearing it. The last thing you want is to try to make a beautiful and meaningful statement but choose the wrong materials.
Metals & finishes
Not all metals are made equal. If you’re buying a sentimental piece that you want to stand the test of time, then you definitely need to steer clear of base metals, including brass and nickel silver (which doesn’t contain any silver and can be toxic). Ideally you should choose gold or platinum for such pieces, but sterling silver will also serve you very well.
For pieces that you’ll wear everyday (especially rings, bracelets and bangles that take a lot of hard wear), you should invest in solid precious metals rather than plated. For pieces that take a lot of wear, that includes heavily plated finishes such as vermeil or gold filled.
A reputable jewellery store will provide you with clear information about the metals and other materials used in their designs. For instance, just because a piece of jewellery has ‘gold’ in its name doesn’t mean that it’s actually made of gold and the description should make that clear.
If you read the product information and still aren’t sure exactly what the piece of jewellery is made from, then it’s best avoided.
Making a statement with jewellery is can be achieved through specific types of gemstones incorporated into the design. For instance birthstones are a popular way to honour a loved one and keep them with you whenever you’re wearing the piece.
An online jewellery store should provide you with information about the gemstones in their jewellery in the product description. They should tell you whether the gemstones are natural, simulated or lab grown. They should also indicate if the stones may vary from the the ones photographed (this may be the case with natural stones). Make sure you consider this information.
We also suggest thinking about whether there are ethical implications with your gemstone choices, which is especially important when it comes to diamonds and other high value stones. We prefer lab grown stones where available as they are more ethical than many mined stones, along with usually being less expensive.
If the meaning of gemstones is important to you, then do some searching for information about the stones you like. We have a handy article on gemstones and their meanings to help you out.
6. Shopping with Fake Businesses
Unfortunately, one of the biggest downsides of shopping online is an abundance of scams and fake businesses designed to trick you out of your money. The good news is that there are a number of clues to look for and some tools you can use to help you feel confident about who you’re shopping with.
As an example, lately we’ve been seeing online stores advertised on Facebook with a vast array of highly varied designs and surprisingly low prices (both are a clue that something isn’t right), along with a sad story about how they’re closing down. When we look closely at one of these online stores, we’ll discover it was only created in the past few weeks or months. At best you’ll get some poor quality jewellery that doesn’t resemble the photos, but at worst you’ll get nothing at all for your money.
One of the most important things you can do is practice safe online shopping habits and do your research before making any purchases.
A good tip for the ‘closing down’ scam outlined above is to check the domain name for the online store to see its history. Here is the Who.Is entry for simonewalsh.com, which shows our domain name has been registered since 2000. The Way Back Machine is also a great resource. Looking up our site there will tell you that we’ve had an online presence since at least 2004.
There are a variety of other ways to verify if a business is legitimate or not and it’s worth the effort to do those things. A little bit of extra research time can save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run.
7. Not Looking for Customer Reviews
It’s a good idea to look for online customer reviews about the item you’re thinking about or the company itself, especially if you’re shopping with a business you haven’t dealt with before.
These reviews can give you a first-hand account of the quality of the product, the shipping process and how the company handles various issues. You can find a lot of relevant and helpful information in these reviews. It’s a good way to help you feel confident in your purchase.
If you’re shopping with a small business you might find they have a lot fewer reviews online than big box stores. That’s not necessarily a sign that anything is wrong. Customers are more likely to spend time to leave poor reviews for bad products or customer service, so a lack of reviews likely indicates there have been few problems if the business is well established.
If you do see bad reviews for a business, look for a pattern rather than taking a single bad review to heart. Sometimes people can be malicious for no good reason.
Online Jewellery Shopping Mistakes to Avoid
Jewellery is often the key piece in an outfit that pulls it all together or it can be a sentimental piece that brings back special memories. You might choose a piece of jewellery for yourself purely based on aesthetics or because it has a deeper meaning for you and says something about who you are. Either way, you want to be sure that you’re choosing just the right pieces for yourself (or your gift recipient).
Taking a little extra time and care to avoid these online jewellery shopping mistakes can help you find just the thing. Online jewellery shops open a whole new world of possibilities and options for you to choose from as you build your collection. A few new pieces can level up your whole style instantly.
If you’re interested in finding some quality, artisan designed jewellery for your collection, check out our online shop today, where free shipping in Australia is available.