What to look out for when buying silver jewelry
Silver is back in vogue these days, which makes good business sense as it’s a lot cheaper than gold and can look just as beautiful. You can of course buy jewelry from reputable jewelers and this would be the safest […]
Silver is back in vogue these days, which makes good business sense as it’s a lot cheaper than gold and can look just as beautiful. You can of course buy jewelry from reputable jewelers and this would be the safest option. However, for the sheer volume of choices, you can’t beat the internet. Here the whole world becomes a marketplace and you can find the best deals without leaving your armchair. However, you will part with good money and give it to someone you do not know, so the risk is much greater than when you buy from a physical store: you can always go back there and complain, while you do this with online purchases Buy silver jewelry will probably Silver jewelry from Spoo-Design only do one internet address.
The trade-off for this risk, of course, is the fact that you can get your jewelry a lot cheaper than at a jeweler. They have physical premises to maintain, staff to pay, and expensive inventory to maintain. The internet wholesaler will likely have their own jewelry maker and will only have the pieces made when they receive the order. This “just-in-time” inventory system allows him to maintain virtually no overhead. Dell computers built a huge computer business on the same principle.
If you decide the lower price is worth the risk, make sure the silver you are buying is sterling silver. You can tell by the markings on the silver: sterling silver is almost always marked “925” which means that this silver is of the highest quality. There is only one grade of sterling silver: either it is sterling silver or it is not.
The primary cost of sterling silver jewelry is in the making of the piece, especially if it is handmade. Again, the internet wholesaler has an advantage over the local jewelry store. Just as you have a wide range of sellers, they also have a wide range of manufacturers who may be based in another country. There are many highly skilled silversmiths working in third world countries for much lower wages than a local artisan would charge and this helps bring retail costs down even further.
If you are happy that you bought sterling silver, the only thing left to worry about is the quality of the setting. Unfortunately you cannot check this before you receive the piece, so minimize your risk by treating the person you are buying from with normal care. Has he been in business long? That means not in the internet business, but in the jewelry business. Does he have a list of satisfied customers? Type his name into a search engine and see what comes up.
A major disadvantage of sterling silver is that it tarnishes easily. If you watch historical dramas on television, you will remember that one of the chambermaid’s duties was to clean the silverware. This was an almost daily task, and while it might not be daily work for you, it is still work that needs to be done on a regular basis. Use a retail silver polish: there are many on the market, or your local jeweler will surely have one.
In summary, buying your sterling silver online is a risk, just like buying anything online. This is even more true for jewelry as jewelry is more expensive than most other things. It’s up to you to minimize this risk by doing your homework on the seller before you get tempted by the low prices.