You’ve seen the ring of your dreams- you were casually scrolling through Instagram ( or perhaps even Tiktok). Then, “WHAM”, there it is all in its scrollalicious glory, staring back at you saying buy me, BUY ME NOW!
However, before you push add to cart here are a few things I feel you should check out first.
Once upon a time ( in a galaxy not so far away ) jewellery buying involved heading to the local jewellery store, most towns had them, and many still do. Then perhaps if you wanted something more outside the standard ring box, you would head to a contemporary jewellery gallery, where you could perhaps get a custom ring made by one of the jewellers they represented. ( whilst the gallery takes a big fat custom fee for the privilege).
But how things have changed, social media has bought to the forefront an endless stream of jewellery delights, and as we know with the algorithm, look at one ring and you will be shown many many more, to the point of ring overload.
So let’s start with a few basic questions to ask to help you make the right decisions.
1: WHAT IS IT MADE OF?
Sounds simple right? But often the gold you are seeing “online” these days is only gold-plated, gold-filled, or gold vermeil ( a fancy French word for heavy gold plated.) Unfortunately, it all wears off and is definitely not suitable for engagement or wedding rings. What is/are the gems in it, are they real or lab-grown? What are their dimensions *( often things look way bigger online so ask for MM sizes, not just carat weights). Is the gem securely set in the ring? Is the gem actually hard enough for everyday wear?
Photos can often blur the truth, I have seen rings online and then in person at a fancy jewellery gallery in Sydney and was amazed by how ridiculously tiny the gems used were in reality, compared to the pictures on Instagram.
2: WHERE IS IT MADE?
There is a lot, and I mean A LOT of stuff online that looks the part ( eg: handmade) but it’s just a copy or even worse a rip-off of another jeweller’s work. Fake accounts get set up constantly and some really do look like the genuine profile. Ask where and who makes the rings. The last thing you want is a locally designed eg: Australian-designed ring, that’s actually made offshore. Ask if it is solid or hollowed out, is it CAD produced ( mass produced ) in a factory, handmade entirely, or just ” hand assembled” ( I go into more detail about the difference between handmade jewellery versus hand-assembled in a previous blog )
3: HOW LONG HAVE THEY BEEN IN BUSINESS?
It goes without saying if you are buying a lifetime investment, maybe do your homework. Does the profile have a physical shop or just an online presence? Do they have Google or Facebook reviews, or any reviews for that matter? These days it seems anyone fresh out of RMIT or after watching a few Youtube videos can call themselves a jeweller. Then they set up an online business and start selling. And no, I am not knocking the self-taught at all. It’s just creating custom engagement rings and wedding rings is a big responsibility not to be taken lightly.
What is their backup plan if you do not like it, or if it needs a repair, are they knowledgeable about gemstones and durability, or different metals and their hardness?
4: WILL IT SUIT YOU?
A good jeweller with experience in ” fitting” rings should be able to guide you remotely. Ideally it is better in person, but often it is just not possible when you’re not in the same town. This can include what metal colour they feel would work with your skin type tone. They can also look at your finger shape, and length and ascertain what would work, and what would not.
So in summary, ask all those hairy questions, loads of them! And remember, if the price is exceedingly cheap, and it seems too good to be true, chances are it’s a complete piece of sh@t.