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Buying Jewelry On Ebay

Updated on May 29, 2014

Online buying basics

  • Check the description-including any necessary measurements
  • Check seller/store feedback
  • Focus on negative feedback and try to identify any common issues.
  • Never bid or place an item in your cart if the seller/store has an overwhelmingly negative feedback score.
  • Pay attention! Once you buy an item, it is difficult to bargain for your money back.
  • Pay through paypal in order to increase security.

Buying jewelry online

Whether you are buying jewelry off ebay or some other site, there is an inherent risk you need to be aware of before you begin. As with most online purchases, you cannot be 100% certain of the product's authenticity until it arrives at your doorstep. Therefore, you need to proceed with caution when purchasing from any online retailer. Before you start your bidding or placing items in your cart, make sure you read the description of each item in detail. Some sellers provide measurement information on the products they are selling. Be sure to check out these measurements in order to understand the size of the product you will be receiving.

Another important step to buying anything online is to verify the reviews of the seller or store. Always place more emphasis on the negative reviews than the positive ones. Often times, there is helpful information from negative reviews. For instance, if a seller has several negative reviews about shipping, the odds of you having a similar experience is greatly increased.

Pearls | Source

Fine jewelry for cheap?

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is a scam. Ebay jewelry that is sold as fine jewelry at ridiculous low prices are typically misleading. Most of the time, these products originate from overseas. Also, items listed as fine jewelry may not be fine jewelry at all (at least by most people's standards). It may just contain a trace of real gold, or is "gold filled." A 14K gold filled necklace is not the same as an actual 14k gold necklace. Similarly, the item may be listed as "gold plated." This is another terminology you may want to steer clear from if your aim is to purchase true gold jewelry. In fact, according to ebay, there is no legal requirement on how much gold needs to be used to plate the base metal. This means, sellers can list their item as having gold without too many regulations restricting them.

The best way to avoid these fine jewelry scams? Don't buy into it, or buy into it with the expectation that it may be a scam.

Rose Garden
Rose Garden | Source

Costume jewelry or estate jewelry

There is less of a risk when buying costume/estate jewelry on ebay. The only issues you may come across are the presence of lead in the jewelry, or the size/color of the piece was different than expected.

If you are worried about the lead content in your jewelry, there are testing kits you can purchase from hardware stores. Unfortunately, there is no real way of knowing if the piece is toxic until you physically have the item in your hands. Oftentimes, this is not something a seller wants to disclose in the description of the item. In fact, they may never mention it. If you are buying from the U.S., one way of lowering your risk of purchasing a lead laden product, is by excluding products from international sellers. Although this may not eliminate the risk entirely, it does protect you some.


Can't win auctions? Watch this video.

Bidding versus buying

There are many benefits to bidding versus buying. Even though buying leads to instant gratification, bidding may provide you the best deal. This is typically true for any item listed on ebay type websites. The key to bidding on an item is patience. At times, the auction may not end until days later. If you are in a hurry, you can narrow down your search by the "Time: ending soonest" filter on ebay. For jewelry, the prices start on the unusually low range and gradually pick up momentum as the auction draws to a close.

Buying jewelry may be ideal if you are not willing to wait for an auction, or if you see something that is not available through an auction. For either buying or bidding, make sure you note the seller's feedback, location of the item, and the important descriptions. For international jewelry, make sure you give the seller enough time in between shipping and arrival of the item. Those items, especially from China, can take weeks to a couple months to arrive at your door.

Keyword searching

For you to get the most out of your online jewelry purchasing experience, you must know a little about keywords. Regardless of what type of jewelry you are looking for, ebay has a category bar at the left-hand side for you to narrow down your topic. Simply entering "jewelry" in the search bar only gives you a broad sense of what is out there. This is okay if you are just having fun browsing. However, if you are seriously looking for a particular item, make sure you enter enough descriptive information in the search bar. For instance, if you are looking for "gold hoop earrings", make sure you also enter in the color, material, and diameter you want.

Ebay also offers you filters that you can use to narrow down your search. In addition to the helpful categories listed on the left-hand side, ebay also has options to narrow your search by time listed, distance, best match, and price (ascending or descending). Take advantage of these filters to refine your search for a better and more enjoyable experience.

Disputes. Item was not as described

There will be times where the jewelry you purchased looks nothing like what was listed on the website. For that, ebay has you covered. First, try to contact the seller and explain the situation. There have been instances where the seller allows you to keep the item and provides you with a full refund. Other times, they may offer you a partial refund. Don't accept a partial refund for an item that is not as described. When you contact the seller, make sure you point out where/how the jewelry piece fell below your expectations. Sometimes, there may some color variations, difference in sizes, etc. Whatever the reason for the dispute, make sure the seller knows first.

If, for whatever reason the seller does not provide the proper means to rectify the situation, contact ebay or paypal. Most purchases these days, especially on ebay, are done through paypal. Luckily for you, this means that disputes are taken care of promptly and in an efficient manner. You are also lucky because (unfortunately for the sellers) ebay has a tendency to favor buyers.

Solve ebay disputes
Solve ebay disputes

Steps for handling ebay disputes

  • Check the description of the jewelry you bought. Make sure you aren't making a mistake, or missed something in the description.
  • If you did miss something in the description, contact the seller and explain your side. Sometimes they may sympathize and provide you some sort of solution.
  • Always contact the seller first. Do this out of courtesy for the seller. It is their right to try to fix the issue before you give negative feedback.
  • If there are any communication problems with the seller, notify ebay. There are certain standards that sellers must maintain when interacting with buyers.
  • If correspondence with the seller does not work, your next step for reimbursement is to contact paypal (if you paid through paypal).
  • If you did not pay through paypal, contact ebay.
  • Contact your bank as a last resort.
  • Remain calm, and treat everyone professionally. It is easy to get upset when an online order is not up to par.

Have you ever bought jewelry on ebay?

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