Buying antique jewellery online can be a great way to find a broader selection and better prices than you could find in high street antiques store. Whilst there are specialist stores that trade exclusively in antique pieces they are few and far between, and taking the time to travel to them doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to find the piece that you are looking for. Buying online can help to make sure that you are able to get a high quality piece without the additional costs that such stores have to meet, but it is undeniably a different experience.
At Laurelle Antique Jewellery we have many years of experience in buying and selling antique jewellery on the web, so we’ve put together the 5 most important things to consider before you buy.
1. Know What you Want
The first step in finding an antique piece is knowing what you are looking for. Antique jewellers often specialise in particular eras or styles, so it’s worth deciding what kind of jewellery speaks to your personal taste. Good online retailers will have pages on their site which go into detail about the types of jewellery they sell, and these can be located with the help of a search engine like Google or Bing.
Knowing the type, style and period of the piece that you’d like to find will help you narrow down your search, so it’s always worth doing a bit of reading first.
Once you’ve decided what you’re interested in it’s time to consider how much you’ll be willing to invest. Antique jewellery can vary tremendously in price, with pieces costing anything from a few hundred pounds to many thousands, so it’s all about how much you personally feel comfortable paying. Unlike modern jewellery antiques tend to appreciate in value over the long term, so although a higher price may be daunting it’s worth considering whether a longer term investment is worth committing more funds to.
Forearmed with knowledge and a budget you’ll be able to compare different retailers much more effectively.
2. Which Online Store to Choose?
There are many indicators that can show you how likely a company is to treat you fairly and provide you with a quality item. The first is the online equivalent of their high street shop window – the website.
Good companies will have a well maintained website. This means that when you click through the various pages the links should all work, and lead to what you expect. Missing pages are not a good sign, and links which take you somewhere you are not looking to go can be an indicator that a retailer is not on the level.
All online retailers should provide you with a phone number through which you can easily reach a real human being who can answer your questions. It’s always worth getting in touch with any questions you may have, and the person you speak with should be open and honest. It’s possible that they may not have all of the answers, but they should be willing to try their best to get you the information you need.
It’s also worth remembering that a genuine antique dealer will only ask you for the details they absolutely need to assist you. If they need to get back to you to get you the information you’ve requested they may ask for a phone number or email address, but they should not ask you for any payment information until you are in the process of buying from them.
Although all of this helps to reassure you that the company is trustworthy there is an even more important area to check.
3. What do Their Customers Say?
Online antique jewellery dealers who provide a good standard of service and whose pieces are of high quality will be happy to invite feedback from their customers. Take a look around their website for reviews. They may have a page where they have collected reviews, which is a good indicator, but the best businesses will have a verified review account with a third party review site. These independent systems, such as Trust Pilot, help to ensure that customer reviews are from real customers and are a strong sign that the company is operating as it should.
Disreputable companies will attract negative reviews and have an overall score which is lower, but a company with only 5 star reviews can also be a warning sign. If you’re only seeing glowing recommendations check how many people have reviewed them. If they’ve only had a handful of happy customers this might not be the best indicator.
Although it is important to look at positive reviews one of the best ways to see if a company is worth buying from is in how they deal with negative reviews. They should be responding to these communications by providing more information and trying their best to resolve any problems. Nobody can please everyone all the time, but a good retailer will still want to look after their customers after a sale is made.
4. Are the Pieces Genuine?
Knowing that what you are buying is what it claims to be is arguably the most important part of buying online. If you’ve done your research then you’ll be able to spot any obvious warning signs, but there are a few specifics that can help reassure you that a piece is genuine.
The details provided should be as comprehensive as possible. All weights and measurements should be included, including the estimated carat weight, colour and clarity of any diamonds. For higher priced items the seller should also be willing to provide a recommended figure for insurance purposes.
There should be multiple photographs of the item from many angles, as well as an image showing it on a model, bust or mannequin so that you can see exactly how it looks. They should also be willing to show you video footage of the item in motion so you can get a sense of the fire of any gemstones and the lustre of the metal.
5. Shop and Pay Securely
When you’ve selected the item you want a good online retailer should provide you with multiple ways to safely pay in a way which suits you. Although most will offer paypal and direct bank transfer an established business will often offer finance options through a well known finance company such as Klarna.
All online payments should be processed with a secure connection between you and the seller. When you are on their website the address bar should show a small padlock icon next to the website’s address in the top left – this tells you that any information you provide will be transferred confidentially.
Get in Touch
If you’ve followed the advice above you should be in a good position to buy with confidence, but if you still have doubts it’s best to contact the retailer directly. Most online retailers will be happy to speak with you and address any concerns you may have. You can tell a lot about a company from simply speaking with a real person and getting a sense of who they are.
We hope that this short guide has been helpful in your search for a high-quality piece of antique jewellery.
If you have found this useful why not take a look at our selection of hand-picked items here.
If you have any questions about the pieces which we sell feel free to get in touch on England: 0333 700 4500 or send us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team is always happy to help!