Friday , December 19 2014
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Web…site unseen

Web…site unseen

ALL THAT GLITTERS
Richard Alan
harborgoldsmith@comcast.net

Billions and billions of dollars are spent by folks using the internet, and there is no doubt a good percentage of that dough is generated right here in my household between my wife’s tennis addiction that involves ordering tennis shoes and trendy outfits that match the shoes let a lone the latest rackets and accessories.

I also have two sons who order car, truck and motorcycle parts as if they are stocking their own parts warehouse. Yep! You can buy just about anything online.

Ordering what you see on a screen and what shows up in the box on your doorstep can sometimes be another story all together. I once got a heck of a deal on two cases of laser lights for my retail shops. Only problem was when they arrived each one came equipped with European 220 watt plugs, which are useless here in the U.S. Such a deal! Guess I missed the fine print.

Well, it might be okay to order tennis equipment and auto parts. Now to the point of my story, and that is buying expensive diamonds, gems or jewelry online sight unseen. Crazy?

Yes, I know the facts. Millions of people do it every day, but just because tons of folks do it, it doesn’t make it right. Sure, I’m biased. I own a jewelry store where a shopper can look, touch and even try on my jewelry and ask questions. Heck, they can look me in the eye and even offer less money than I’m asking for the article — a little haggling and some negotiation. That is the way I have always done business in my business.

But geez, buy a $10,000 diamond ring online without seeing it — to me as professional jeweler — that’s just nuts! Look, I have folks bringing in the dreck they ordered from late night television shopping channels, informing me how rare and wonderful their purchase is. Heck, the lady on T.V. told her it came from a special mine in Togiabito, and it is very rare. If it is so rare, why do they have 1,000 to sell?

Too bad I can’t size the T.V.-purchased rarity down from a size 11 to a 5 without having every single stone fall out. What a great deal? Now, you can try wrapping a band aid or duct tape around the shank so you can at least wear it.

Let’s get back to the internet thing; I still cringe when someone walks in with reams of paper on a particular diamond’s size and quality that they are in the market for. They have researched and surfed from site to site for hours on end. Then they enter my establishment, walk past my numerous showcases containing my diamonds for sale and have the audacity to whip out their sheets of research papers and ask my professional opinion on which one I think is the best deal for him or her. My answer: all of them! And then I move on to one of my customers.

Look, you don’t walk in to a Realtor’s office and ask them if they will take a ride and look at a house you are buying from a competitor and to let you know if it is a good deal or not. Of course, you don’t, although I have a realtor friend who tells me there are plenty of morons who find their way onto the island that try to do just that.

My last internet customer experience was a guy who purchased a non-refundable gent’s 14 karat gold, one carat diamond ring. It seemed like a good deal for a good sum of money. The ring showed up in the mail as promised three days later without any diamonds in it; plus, it wasn’t the best quality ring I ever saw. He misread the deal. The empty ring setting accepts one carat of diamonds, which will cost him at least another $1000 to supply and set them. That ring don’t seem like such a great deal right now, do it?

Most jewelry buying experiences I have experienced first hand were…well, remember those heaping bowls of hot remorse I mentioned two weeks ago…well, there you go.

I have customers who can’t make a decision when it is right there on their finger, and you are going to fork over $10,000 on your credit card to who knows who for who knows what? Call me old school if you want, but I wouldn’t do it.

I had an interesting experience when buying a classic 1973 VW bug a few years ago. I saw it on the internet. I told the owner I would drive four hours upstate to see it. I let him know I was seriously interested in purchasing it and the price seemed fair. Heck, the post on the internet said it was almost totally restored: new paint, stock air conditioning, new clutch, brakes. You name it. When I got there the car looked great. There was only one problem. All the new parts, including the A/C, were in a box in the garage. I wasn’t pleased, but I bought it anyway paying less than we agreed on. Did I mention the car broke down twice on the way home, and a year later I trashed the useless A/C and had to buy a new engine? Another great internet deal!

I’m not inferring that everyone is trying to rob you on the world-wide web, but I believe there are many that will. It is all they live for. So, use the brain that momma gave you, and avoid the pain and anguish that can result from an unwise and expensive transaction purchased site unseen.

Folks you have to see, touch and romance the stone, and most importantly, fall in love with it. Then, if it feels right, you purchase it. There is nothing more beautiful than a high-quality diamond or precious gemstone, and knowing you had choices and advice before the purchase.

Face to face. It is a good, old-fashioned, no-nonsense way to buy fine jewelry.

About The Author

Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and owner of the Harbor Goldsmith at Island Plaza and welcomes your questions about all that glitters. Contact him at 239-394-9275 or harborgoldsmith@comcast.net

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