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Buying rings on ebay

One of the most recent avenues for engagement ring shoppers is through the online auction site, ebay. Although some may argue that purchasing a pre-owned engagement ring is unromantic, and possibly bad luck, hundreds of engagement rings are purchased by satisfied couples through the site everyday. If you decide on using ebay to find a ring, there are some pitfalls you should watch out for.

Always check the seller’s ebay rating.

Ebay users are given a rating that tells you how reliable the sellers and buyers are. Because a diamond engagement ring is such an expensive purchase and because ebay purchases are based on an act of faith, you should only consider purchasing your ring from sellers with a 98 percent rating or higher. Don’t gamble with sellers with poor ratings.

Communicate with the seller.

Through ebay, you may contact the seller to ask him/her additional questions about the item for sale and get more information about it than what is in the description. Contact the seller of the ring and get as much information about the ring as possible What is the history of the ring? Are there certificates of authenticity for the ring? Are there any more photos of the ring available? The more information you get, the more likely you’ll also get a safe purchase.

Demand a return policy.

Most sellers on ebay, especially those who use the site frequently, will have a return policy but if the seller doesn’t – ask him/her for one. This will give you a few days to have the ring appraised to be sure you are getting what you pay for.

By using transaction sites like PayPal or escrow.com, sellers and buyers can insure that both sides are satisfied with the deal before the money is permanently exchanged.

 

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Once you’ve made the decision to insure your engagement ring, there are a few options you need to consider before you actually buy the policy.  Insurance coverage will vary on the amount they will give versus actual appraised value of the ring.  Sometimes it may only be a certain percent that decreases over time. 

If you buy your gem from a retailer and have it appraised, it is fairly easy to determine the value of the ring.  Make sure you receive a grading certificate from the appraisal agent.  It’s a wise choice to make sure the group evaluating your jewelry is of the utmost reputable standard.  Check for references and inquire to find out if they are listed as a trusted member with one of the institutes such as the GIA or AGS.

Perhaps your engagement ring is not new and it is more of a family heirloom that has been passed down over one or more generations.  In this scenario it is very difficult to establish a monetary price tag.  You should have this ring appraised by an expert that will take in consideration the overall history and heirloom or antique status.

An ACV – Actual Cash Value policy is a very popular way to go.  It is important to have your appraisal updated frequently so that your cash value will be up to date in the event that you need to use the Actual Cash Value Policy for reimbursement of the ring if it is lost, stolen, or damaged beyond repair.

An AVP – Agreed Value Policy is coverage on an amount that is agreed upon by both the insurance agent and the property owner.  These are quite costly policies and are sometimes hard to obtain.  In the instance of insuring a family heirloom, it may be best to go with an Agreed Value Policy.

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The traditional clear diamond is more affordable than a colored diamond. However the colored diamonds are becoming the hot new trend. A naturally colored stone is by far the most expensive. The traditional diamond is more often chosen for its affordability. Gemologists are synthetically manufacturing the more affordable colored diamonds.

 

Heat and irradiation are the most common ways a Gemologist can color a diamond. Gemologists use the lower quality clear diamonds to grow beautifully colored diamonds. This laboratory process makes it possible for the average person to afford a colored stone. A naturally colored stone will be very expensive and should be accompanied by a laboratory certificate. This certificate will verify the authenticity of the colored stone.

Even though the affordable colored diamonds are grown in a laboratory it does not take away from the beauty of the stone. The naturally colored diamonds are limited to the range of colors. However the synthetic diamonds have a wide range of colors such as red, blue, purple, pink and green.

Inclusions provide the naturally colored diamond with a great deal of its beauty. Even so, in a traditional diamond these inclusions are considered defects making these stones less desirable by most. However the inclusions make the natural colored diamond the choice stone.

A couple of key points to remember when choosing your diamond are to get the certificate validating your colored stone as being natural. Also the price of the colored diamond should match the authenticity of the stone. A traditional diamond is still a beautiful stone and makes for a wonderful choice as an engagement ring. Either way traditional or colored diamonds need to be affordable for the individuals own budget.

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Frankly, we can’t say either way.  Online stores are going to tell you it’s safe, and B&M jewelers are going to tell you it’s not.  We’ll give you both sides of the coin and let you decide for yourself…

Pros to Buying Engagement Rings Online
A wider selection
is a huge factor.  The internet offers an endless array of merchandise from around the world – accessible at your fingertips.  Some online vendors will even offer the ability to create your own engagement ring.  Fancy websites even have 3-D images of the rings on virtual hands!

The convenience factor is also pretty nice.  You cancel out the pushy sales people and all the other hassles of shopping around.  Plus, if you’ve got your four Cs picked out, price comparisons among vendors is very easy. 

The prices on these Internet sites are also very appealing – the comparison capabilities make price gouging impossible.  Plus, diamond dealers online simply don’t have anywhere near the overhead costs stores do, so their prices stay low.  To sweeten the deal, buying a piece of jewelry online from an out-of-state vendor can be tax-free.  No tax can knock off quite a bit of money on a high-priced diamond. 

Certificates and appraisals are often part of an online purchase.  Considering there are a lot of jewelers that only hand over a receipt with your ring, a third independent evaluation is a nice bonus.

Credit card transactions make things safer for you.  If you’re not happy with your ring, just call up the merchant and inform him you intend to issue a chargeback unless he refunds your money.  It may take some time to get a refund – but at least you’re not out thousands of dollars!  FYI, too many chargebacks on a vendor’s record means they lose their processing privileges and risk their business.  So, they have a lot to loose by not cooperating with you.

Cons to Buying Engagement Rings Online
Not being able to see the diamonds in person.
This isn’t a toaster…you’re not picking out an alarm clock…this is a big deal…an expensive deal, and you’re giving it to a very important person.  It’s nerve wrecking to make a choice like this online when you’re going on pictures.  Build in a little extra time, incase you don’t like the ring when it arrives and you’re running low on shopping time.

Returns may be tricky. Although many online merchants offer wonderful and convenient return policies, you still have to mail it in, and sometimes the fine print makes it impossible for you to comply with their refund terms.  Silly things like “original packaging” might throw you for a spin.  You also should consider that only 2 percent of online retailers survive (Bloomberg Network), so that retailer may not be around to receive that diamond ring.

Treated diamonds are an increasing problem.  To avoid getting stuck with one, make the sale contingent on a breakage guarantee and/or a money back guarantee. 

Service may be problem.  If you need to get the ring’s prongs tightened, sized, etc. you’re going to have to mail it in each time.  That is if they even offer those services.  Often times, online vendors are done with you once they’ve made the sale.  Be aware you may have to find a local B&M to care for your ring after the online transaction is complete.

Shipping and Handling fees might add up, nullifying all that money you saved on taxes!  Some jewelers build their profit into handling fees, not the diamond.  That way whether you keep the diamond ring or not, they just made some money.  Avoid jewelers who charge handling fees that are non-refundable if you can.    

That’s our input…good luck deciding!

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There are many ways to protect yourself from losing money on a bogus online jeweler.  Credible, reliable vendors offer most, if not all, of the requirements listed below.  Look them over before the making any purchases – it’s a good checklist.  If you need more info, call the vendor and use this as a guide. 

  1. So obviously, you can’t make a call to the vendor if they don’t list Contact Information!  If there’s no physical address and working phone number – there’s no deal.  It’s actually preferred to buy from an online retailer that also has a brick-and-mortar location.  That way, you know they aren’t going anywhere.
  2. The retailer should also have a clean Better Business Bureau record.  A quick search online will tell you if they have any complaints against them.
  3. They should also offer a lab appraisal or certificate with the engagement ring, by a FTC approved laboratory.  Also, never accept a certificate older than six months!  You never know what’s happened to the diamond since its last certification.  If they’re offering you and outdated certificate, get them to re-certify the diamond (at not cost to you).
  4. Get  a bonding document guaranteeing the diamond is a 100% natural and not treated.
  5. Get a lifetime breakage guarantee to guard against baked diamonds
  6. See if they offer lifetime cash buy-backs to guarantee against any future customer dissatisfaction
  7. Check to see if they have a lifetime exchange policy or a lifetime trade in policy
  8. Do a quick price comparison, and make sure their prices are commensurate with others
  9. Ask about their free annual services – do they do ring sizing, cleaning, etc?
  10. Are there knowledgeable sales people to help you.
  11. Do they take all major credit cards?

You should be pretty confident you aren’t getting robbed when buying that engagement ring, if your vendor meets most of these items.  If there are any probs, dispute the charge on your CC.  The Better Business Bureau can be also contacted.

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