Best Online Jewelry Selection
Everything boils down to one question - what are you looking for? Engagement ring? Sweet 16 charm bracelet? Graduation gift? A special treat for yourself since you snagged your raise and promotion?
Not all the websites we reviewed have the same jewelry selection. It’s best to determine what you want in advance - it will make your search and purchase go much smoother.
Here’s a handy checklist to help you narrow down your choices! This is not a complete list of all jewelry options. Omitted are types of gemstones (diamonds, conflict-free diamonds, pearls, sapphire, opal, etc.) and metals (platinum, gold, silver, titanium, vermeil, stainless, etc.). The list is endless! Feel free to share it with friends, family and loved ones!
Type of Jewelry:
- Wedding Band
- Bezel - gemstone surrounded by thin, flat piece of metal
- Flush or gypsy - gem sunk into holes, flush with metal surface
- Channel- 2 tracks of metal that hold a row of gems side-by-side
- Pavé- central gem encircled by smaller gems set close together
- Solitaire or prong - metal prongs hold gem in place
- Tiffany-style - named for famed Tiffany & Co. design which is a six-prong setting holding a solitaire gem
- Bar - metal bars separate each stone
- Bead and Bright - stones are set even with the surface of the metal by raising metal beads to secure stones in place
- Tension or Tension-style - the tension of the metal band secures the gemstone in place with an appearance of being suspended
- Halo - center gemstone is surrounded by smaller pavé stones
- Cluster - gemstones are clustered tightly together to resemble one big gemstone or smaller stones cluster around a larger gemstone
- Cathedral - metal “arches” hold the gemstones
- Collar - 12 to 13 inches worn close to collar bone
- Choker - 14 to 16 inches worn close to the neck
- Princess - between 17 to 19 inches
- Matinee - between 20 to 22 inches (plunging necklines)
- Opera - length between 26 to 36 inches
- Bib - larger piece that covers you up like a “bib”
- Thread - multiple knotted threads paired with stones
- Locket - small compartment pendant that holds memento
- Lariat - rope or y-necklace with no clasp
- Hoops - circular design
- Tassels - dangling cords or threads, usually very colorful
- Chandeliers - formed like a chandelier, usually blingy
- Studs - usually a gemstone mounted on a post and passed through a piercing
- Drop - gemstone that dangles from chain
- Ear Cuffs - attaches to the ear cartilage
- Bangles - rigid rings that are usually metal and worn in multiples
- Tennis - narrow chain with small gems linked together
- Charm - metal bracelet hung with trinket or ornament
- Cuff - wide statement pieces
- Chain or link - links joined together
- Mechanical - must be wound and has ticking sound
- Automatic or Self-winding -continues to operate due to motion of wearer’s wrist
- Quartz - powered by quartz crystal
- Analog - time is shown by miniature clock face with 12 hours, an hour hand and a minute hand
- Digital - time is indicated by digits versus by hands on a dial
- Diving - water-resistant up to 100-300 meters (330 to 980 feet)
- Smart - has touchscreen, support apps and can often record heart rates and other vital signs
- Luxury - for the watch collector that recognizes excellence in workmanship and has money in the bank to buy it
I had to include a mention about ring sizing. The obvious question is how do you know what size you need if you buy a ring online? Relax. Some of the websites we reviewed have a ring size section (measure by string or use an existing ring) and one will even send a free ring sizer in the mail!
If you are not comfortable with the DIY method, get yourself to a reputable jeweler and have them measure your ring fingers!
Reputation and Certification
You can buy anything online today - from cars and mattresses to cat litter and toilet paper. And buying jewelry on the internet falls somewhere in between. This e-commerce industry is expanding globally with luxury jewelry sales expected to be in the billions of dollars.
That said, the consumer needs to do their research on finding a reputable online jewelry store. As you search online, pay attention to return policies (unconditional returns are a plus), customer service options, shipping (trackable methods like Fedex), fully-insured delivery, GIA (Gemological Institute of America) reports, and certified GIA appraisers.
Pay close attention to customer reviews. Check out these sources - forums, Yelp, iVouch, consumer affairs and Better Business Bureaus. If the online jewelry store has a social media presence, click on their Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram links to read what their customers have to say.
The best online jewelry stores offer a variety of services:
- Appraisal report by a GIA certified appraiser
- Customization services - engraving, resizing, unique design consultation
- Refurbishing antique or vintage pieces
- Ring sizing
- Financing options - flexible payments
- Special packaging choices - like a keepsake box
- Lifetime diamond upgrade for loose diamonds purchased at their website
- Temporary Mounting - will set your diamond temporarily so you can see the setting before you make your purchase
- Tax and duty calculators
- Staff consultations
- Bonuses and frequent buyer program
Warranties and Consumer Protection
Some online jewelry stores will cover defects in manufacturing only. Others offer a lifetime guarantee that covers free prong tightening, plating, re-polishing and cleaning. Certified appraisals are offered but some online jewelry stores will charge extra for this.
Rest assured. If you’re not satisfied with your online jewelry purchase, you have options. All of the online jewelry stores we reviewed have a return policy but you need to read the fine print. There are time restrictions, no returns for custom jewelry, handling fees, etc.
Some offer free insurance on returns, free return shipping and a FedEx pickup. And if they have a physical store or a partner store in your area, you can always drop it off.
The best online jewelry stores offer excellent support to their customers. Buying jewelry is usually is associated with a personal milestone. It’s an emotional purchase that requires careful thought and the buyer may need extra hand-holding!
Help options are email, live chat, SMS, phone number, and social media. A detailed FAQ and jewelry buying guides can answer most questions. Some offer free consultations in which they share the screen with the customer to actually study a diamond, discuss its attributes before making a purchase.