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Tips for buying jewelry on eBay

PickieBee

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 16, 2014
Messages
60
There’s truly nothing like having your perfect jewelry piece custom made for you…but when the budget constrains you there are sparklies to curb your cravings available on eBay! The pejorative “evilBay” has been well-earned by the site, but with some strategy and a little luck you might be pleasantly surprised by what you find. Here are some things that have worked for me; I hope you will find them helpful.

Begin with pre-owned jewelry pieces
Loose stones are best purchased from reputable vendors unless you are quite savvy. The loose stone category is swimming with fakes and junk. Same goes for brand-new pieces—stick to vendors recommended on PS.

Consider the setting and the stone(s) separately
I’ve been watching a cute chrysoberyl languish on eBay for months because it is in an unattractive, 1980s-style setting. But pop that stone out and reset it and it will really shine!
I picked up this ho-hum, windowed yellow beryl ring for about $215. But take a look at the setting…won’t it be divine with a sunny yellow sapphire?


Deals don’t come from dealers
There are definitely dealers on eBay with competitive prices. But a real score is more likely to come from someone who isn’t in the trade and is less knowledgeable about what they’ve got and the current market. Yes, there are plenty of sellers with the attitude that if it’s appraised for $2000 then it ought to sell for $1850. But there are lots of other sellers who just need some quick cash and want to unload grandma’s old ring. If a seller is posting one or two pieces of jewelry but their selling history is mostly other kinds of products, take note.

Choose sellers who accept returns and live in or near your country
There are many sellers who offer returns, no questions asked. You can adjust your search settings to show only returnable items. If the piece is not as described or not to your liking in any way, you can return it and only be out the few dollars you spend in shipping. And of course this gives you time to confirm that it’s genuine. I choose to only view products in North America so that return shipping, when necessary, won’t be a hassle.

Read seller feedback, and understand what it means
The more feedback and the longer the history, the better. Make sure some of that feedback is recent. But don’t be put off by a few negative reviews without checking them out first. Some buyers leave negative feedback unfairly or without giving the seller a chance to make it right. If the seller replies to feedback in a rude or condescending way, however, avoid!

Use “followed searches”
Here’s an example of some terms you could use in a followed search: (sugarloaf, cabochon) ring -rough -lab -rhinestone -created -synthetic -cz -faux -simulated -glass -beads -bead -cubic -zirconia -qvc -avon -silver -sterling –ss -925 -filled -plated -mens -men's. I also have it set to a certain price range, pre-owned, North America, returns accepted. Search terms are free, use as many as you need to narrow down your search and filter out time-wasters. Putting words inside parentheses separated by commas (pink, purple) searches for either word in the description. Don’t forget to search misspellings, too (sapphire, saphire). A minus sign omits results containing that word (-synthetic). Put words in quotes to only receive exact matches (“rose gold” won’t give you any gold roses). Don’t get too narrow, though. If you click the button to only view “Fine Jewelry” you might miss out on some nice pieces a seller listed in “Engagement & Wedding,” for example.

Pay attention to ring sizes
Many pre-owned rings have been resized in the past. If a ring you’re watching is a size 10 and your finger is 5.5, you probably can’t resize the ring without damaging it. And don’t forget that resizing is going to add $40 or so to the total cost of the piece. Don’t resize a ring until you are sure you won’t be returning it.

Use a narrow price range
If you set your followed search to a narrow price range and check results frequently, it will be more obvious to you when something stands out from the crowd. This rhodolite garnet came up in a followed search for garnet rings under $300. I felt that it was a great buy at $250 because I had seen many other rings of poorer quality sell at that price.

This $99 ring came up in a followed search for blue topaz. It seemed to have great color and sparkle compared to all the other blue topaz rings I was seeing in that price range, but I was still pretty surprised when it arrived and I discovered that it was actually a natural blue zircon!


Watch out for red flags
Some gemstones are faked more than others. Use extreme caution when purchasing things like ruby, sapphire, or emerald. If the price is too good to be true, try to find out why. Look for context clues: nobody sets a really great gem in low-carat gold next to white topaz instead of real diamonds. If the seller “doesn’t know” whether a stone is real or synthetic…it’s a fake.

Ask questions; ask for more pictures
Message the seller and ask as many questions as you need to. Is this natural, earth-mined, heated, etc.? Does it have inclusions? A window? Where did you get it? Do you have an appraisal? I often ask for more pictures, especially if the stone is photographed from angles that would hide a window. I usually also ask for a photo of the ring on a finger or with something else to give it perspective.

Make an offer
Even if the seller hasn’t chosen the option to “make an offer,” give it a try anyhow. I don’t waste anyone’s time with a lowball offer, but I’ve been surprised before when a seller agreed to relist an item with a ‘buy it now’ option for my first offer without making a counteroffer. A polite message to the seller is worth a try.

Keep watching relisted items
If an item isn’t selling, eventually the seller is likely to lower the price or begin accepting offers. If you like something that’s priced a bit too high, keep watching. Watching items is also a good way to get a sense of what is selling and for how much.

Give the seller a chance to make it right before you open a case
If there is a problem with a purchase, message the seller directly before opening a case (clicking “I received an order that wasn’t as described” automatically opens a case against the seller). This platinum and yellow gold spessartite ring arrived with a damaged gallery. The seller paid for me to ship it back to him, had it repaired, and returned it to me.


My tsavorite ring arrived missing one tiny pave diamond. The seller refunded me $60, the cost I was quoted locally for the repair. I have a good relationship with my local jeweler and he ended up making the repair and replacing the missing stone free of charge.

Don’t be shy about opening a case and fighting for a refund
If you have a problem and the seller is not responsive, by all means open a case against them. Make your case in a clear, polite, factual manner. Include a concise description of the problem and how you would like it resolved. Attach pictures when feasible. EBay will almost always side with the buyer and can force the seller to issue a refund whether they like it or not. If you lose your case, you can contest it and have it reviewed and reopened. I’ve had to open cases as a buyer over the years (though never for jewelry items) and have gotten a full refund every time.

Be patient, check followed searches often
If great deals were common, they wouldn’t be great deals anymore. Use an app to check your followed searches during idle time. I have followed some searches for years before finding just the right thing.

These are some of the things that have worked for me. Let me know if you have anything to add. And I would love to see pictures of your eBay scores, especially if this guide helps you find them!

_250_heliodor.jpg

_220_spessartite.jpg

_99_blue_zircon.jpg

_250_rhodolite_garnet.jpg
 

minousbijoux

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
12,824
Well done, Pickiebee! This is super helpful, particularly the guidance on how to undertake searches with the use of various terms, parens, commas, and minus signs. No doubt, I have wasted countless hours searching the old fashioned way.
 

aussiejamie

Shiny_Rock
Trade
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
166
This is great information Pickiebee.
Well written and concise!
:appl:
 

iluvshinythings

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
May 15, 2009
Messages
899
Thank you for posting this info. I LOVE shopping on eBay but didn't really know how to properly search and hadn't even thought of making an offer! This info is so helpful.

All of your items are wonderful too! Love the pics and stories.
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
25,225
I would also add that this is fine for buying jewelry with inexpensve colored stones or no colored stones, but one must be highly educated about colored stones to get a good deal. You should always use dealers that will allow you to get a reputable lab report if necessary, or better yet, they'll get one for you.

Most colored gemstone dealers are in Thailand, so you can't really get one in a country close to you if you don't live in Southeast Asia.

As for feedback, use toolhaus.org to get feedback going back quite a while. It's a great tool that weeds out a long history of negative/neutral feedback. Lots of feedback consists of bribery from the dealer to the seller in order to get a refund. You have to really watch it and be careful.
 

indigoblue

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Dec 7, 2012
Messages
344
Thanks for the info. I started my colored stone buying on eBay. My old followed searches are now comical to me because I had no idea what I was doing (princess cut sapphire hahaha!). My first colored stone purchase was way back before I knew anything about colored stones. It was a chunky, custom made 18k yg ring with a small bezel set emerald and diamond that I bought from an individual seller (the photos were amateurish) who was selling stuff from her jewelry box. I took it to three local jewelers who all said that it couldn't be sized without damaging the stones, so I sold it for scrap and got about $20 dollars more than I paid for it. Now I wish I'd at least kept the emerald. I wasn't impressed with it because it wasn't sparkly, but that was before I discovered Pricescope and learned about jardin. It might have been a decent stone after all.

The only thing that might be added to your list is to check for recent sales of followed items or similar ones to get an idea of what is selling and for how much.
 

lovedogs

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 31, 2014
Messages
18,749
Thanks for a great and informative post! :clap: I've been slowly easing my way into Ebay--trying to be cautious and smart about what I buy--and this is very helpful advice.
 

Rockinruby

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 27, 2013
Messages
2,740
Great thread Pickiebee! Lots of great info! :appl:
 

Lisa Loves Shiny

Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Nov 1, 2007
Messages
4,758
Great thread with great tips! I follow most of the tips listed. I do have a few to add. Ask yourself what you can scrap the ring for. That is always my starting point. Next- ask yourself what you truly want. For example, there is a really nice 1 carat red spinel that I think is a great price on Ebay. But in reality I like my stones over 2 carats so I need to get over the knee-jerk reaction of what a great price that stone is selling for. In reality I will just have to re-sell it and take a loss.

Next pay attention to brand names or known vendors. For example- I recently bought a Julia B gemstone and diamond ring at a fraction of the buyer's price on Ebay. I have seen sellers listing Julia B, and Richard Homer's gemstones (rings) at less than 30% of what they paid for them. These are great deals when you find them.

Lastly- don't be afraid to "rent" a ring. For example, if there is a ring I love, I might buy it knowing I will re-sell it in the future. I usually do this with diamond rings. I might buy a ring for 2K knowing I will be able to re-sell it for 1.5K. But if I can enjoy wearing it for a couple of years, then I have "rented" and enjoyed the ring for $250 a year. On paper I still took a loss because I sold it for less than I bought it for, but I enjoyed the ring for a couple of years which is worth it for me.
 

minousbijoux

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 5, 2010
Messages
12,824
LisaRN|1439054050|3912526 said:
Great thread with great tips! I follow most of the tips listed. I do have a few to add. Ask yourself what you can scrap the ring for. That is always my starting point. Next- ask yourself what you truly want. For example, there is a really nice 1 carat red spinel that I think is a great price on Ebay. But in reality I like my stones over 2 carats so I need to get over the knee-jerk reaction of what a great price that stone is selling for. In reality I will just have to re-sell it and take a loss.

Next pay attention to brand names or known vendors. For example- I recently bought a Julia B gemstone and diamond ring at a fraction of the buyer's price on Ebay. I have seen sellers listing Julia B, and Richard Homer's gemstones (rings) at less than 30% of what they paid for them. These are great deals when you find them.

Lastly- don't be afraid to "rent" a ring. For example, if there is a ring I love, I might buy it knowing I will re-sell it in the future. I usually do this with diamond rings. I might buy a ring for 2K knowing I will be able to re-sell it for 1.5K. But if I can enjoy wearing it for a couple of years, then I have "rented" and enjoyed the ring for $250 a year. On paper I still took a loss because I sold it for less than I bought it for, but I enjoyed the ring for a couple of years which is worth it for me.

Love this concept! Whether we acknowledge it or not, there are many of us who practice this regularly ;))
 

gemandjewelrylover

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2012
Messages
372
Great advice, Pickiebee! And thanks to the other posters who added their 2 cents. All very informative!
 

pearaffair

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 15, 2015
Messages
3,445
Great guide! I love the pics of those beautiful finds you scored!
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 22, 2004
Messages
38,364
Just avoid commonly highly treated stones like corundum (sapphire and ruby), red (and soon blue) spinels and emeralds unless the price is so low that you are okay with it.
 
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