When shopping for a gemstone online, it is just as important to find the right website as it is to determine the type of gemstone you desire or your budget. If you are a savvy shopper, there is no reason why you should be hesitant to shop online. Here are ten tips you should keep in mind when buying a gemstone online.
1.Calibrate your monitor: No two people perceive color in the same way, and you could say the same about computer monitors! A color corrected monitor will at least ensure that you are seeing the same colors as those in the photograph of the gemstone. Check the brightness and contrast as well as the gamma range.
2.Beware of stock photography! Keep in mind when shopping for a gemstone online that you may not even be looking at a photo of the exact gemstone you wish to buy. Once you decide what kind of gemstone you want, use a search engine to view many different images of the gemstone. Don’t be surprised if you see the same photograph popping up on several websites.
3.Find a website connected to a bricks and mortar store: If your gemstone setting is in need of cleaning, maintenance, or if any unforeseen issues arise, you will find most jewelers are happy to provide service – if they sold you the gemstone to begin with.
4.Find a website with a personal shopper who is also an accredited gemologist: If you haven’t had the time to do all the research you need in order to shop confidently, having an actual live personal shopper can take a lot of the guesswork (and anxiety) away.
5.Find a website that offers a 30 day inspection period with a return policy: What if the gemstone does not meet your expectations? It can be difficult to get an idea of actual size when you are looking at an enlarged photograph on a screen. A wide window on returns gives you adequate time to send something back if need be.
6.Make sure the website’s contact information is correct. Call and speak to a person (not a computer or voicemail) or send an email and make sure you get a personal response, not an automated one before you buy a gemstone online. Avoid the frustration of dealing with a seller that is slow to return calls or emails, or is just difficult to get in touch with.
7.Choose a website that publishes its quality protocols. Reputable gem dealers will provide information on how they grade the stones they are offering for sale. If the gemstone is being sold with an independent lab certification, make sure the cert is visible as a pdf on the website.
8.Choose a website that offers interest free financing if you can: Why rack up interest charges on your credit card when you can get as much as up to 12 months interest free? Just make sure that your purchasing budget is well within your means and you could save a bundle.
9.Make sure you are purchasing from an accredited business: An easy search of the Better Business Bureau will tell you if you are dealing with an established company with a positive track record.
10.Choose an online store that is a member of one or more of the following professional organizations; American Gem Society requires member stores to be in operations for two years or more; Jeweler’s Vigilance Committee upholds integrity and ethical business practices; Jewelers of America advocates professional, ethical, and environmental practices. Look for the logos of these three important trade groups on the website from which you plan to buy.
These helpful tips will point the way to a safe place to buy a gemstone online. If you want to hear some more expert tips – check out this article by an industry expert. Did you recently purchase a gemstone online? Tell us about your experience. Would you purchase online again? Why or why not?
Read more posts from the Gemstone Buying Guide series, or browse a selection from some of the major jewelers online.