The online jewelry market continues to grow and while buying jewelry online can be convenient, it is wise to proceed with caution and make sure your purchase is legitimate and arrives in your hands whole and beautiful.
Here are a few things you’ll want to do before you click “purchase” online:
Research the seller
Do your due diligence on the seller first. Read other buyers’ comments or reviews, to see whether the seller has a reputation for being ethical, fair, and easy to work with.
Read the fine print
Request pictures and documentation
Ask the seller for detailed pictures of the merchandise before you buy to ensure the quality of the jewelry you’re considering purchasing. For example, if the site claims the piece is signed or the metal is a certain quality, request a photo of the signature or metal purity stamp on the piece, or any documents supporting provenance. If buying a diamond, ask for a GIA Diamond Grading Report: the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the most recommended and sets consistent standards for diamond grading and identification. For colored gemstones, the go-to labs for grading include: AGL (American Gemological Laboratories), Gübelin Gem Lab, SSEF (Swiss Gemological Institute) and GRS (GemResearch SwissLab).
Make sure it’s packaged carefully
Scratches are a common cause of jewelry damage, so make sure that the seller packages your piece for delivery carefully and tightly, so it cannot be easily tossed around in transit. Request that the seller pack each individual item in a soft cloth pouch that can be sealed or tied shut so the piece can’t come loose during shipping. The seller should make sure the cloth pouch fits snuggly within its shipping box – packing with extra bubble wrap or tissue paper can help. Additionally, twisting and bending semi-rigid chains or other jewelry pieces can cause permanent damage. Pay extra if need be to ensure that your item is shipped in a box that is large enough.
Verify your insurance coverage
Especially when you are purchasing expensive diamonds, gemstones, and jewelry with precious metals, there is no guarantee that your existing homeowners policy will provide sufficient protection if the piece is lost, damaged, or stolen. Before buying a piece online, contact your insurance agent or broker to see what coverage you have in place. Consider adding a valuable articles policy that provides all-risk protection and automatic coverage for newly acquired jewelry to ensure that your purchase is protected from the moment you click “buy.”
This document is advisory in nature and is offered as a resource to be used together with your professional insurance advisors in maintaining a loss prevention program. It is an overview only, and is not intended as a substitute for consultation with your insurance broker, or for legal, engineering or other professional advice.