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Top Tips for Buying Pearl Jewellery Online

If you’re considering buying pearl jewellery online, some of the following tips should prove helpful.

Be clear what you’re looking for

Pearls can be considered as coming into three categories:

  • naturally occurring at random in the wild (typically the most expensive and rare today); 
  • naturally produced by molluscs with human intervention to stimulate the process (these are often called cultivated pearls); 
  • These may range from essentially plastic to a wide variety of more exotic materials. Purists would not typically describe these products as pearls.

If all other things are equal, the above is the descending order of typical price levels.

Be realistically and sensibly cautious if purchasing second-hand from a private individual

The vast majority of people are honest and would not seek to misrepresent the item they are selling. However, keep in mind that private sellers may genuinely:

  • not really understand the true nature of their peals and might unintentionally describe them erroneously; 
  • not really be aware of the nature of the mounts used (there can be huge price differences between, gold, silver, platinum and base metal). For example, it’s not uncommon to find people who believe their mount is white gold whereas in reality it’s silver; 
  • over-estimate the condition of their jewellery (describing it as “excellent” whereas in fact there may be stains and minor damage); 
  • have an unrealistically high estimation of the quality and associated value of their jewellery due to the plethora of bargain-hunting and antiques shows on TV today with their typically highly optimistic valuations. This is VERY common. 

Look carefully at the asking prices 

Looking around is sensible but keep in mind that if a price looks too good to be true then it probably is.

Real pearls, whether naturally occurring or cultivated, aren’t cheap. 

Buy from known and verifiable sources 

If you’re spending a very modest sum on a tiny piece of pearl jewellery then you might be prepared to take chances but with major prestigious and expensive items such as a pearl necklace, incline towards expert sellers with a verifiable track record.  

As touched on above, remember that if you purchase from a private individual or from a company with little history, you may have little recourse to satisfaction if something goes wrong. 

Pay by credit card or use a protected payments system 

Some people remain perhaps over-cautious to the point of paranoia when considering buying online. 

In fact, providing you pay electronically via a credit card and an established electronic payments system of a type such as Visa or Mastercard, then typically you will have a degree of protection against fraudulent transactions. 

The same is true of using payments systems such as PAYPAL (and others) where you’ll typically see if the recipient of your payment has been verified by them and where the funds handlers will offer refund guarantees should something go wrong. 

As a general rule when buying online, if significant sums are involved, avoid: 

  • paying by cheque; 
  • paying by cash; 
  • paying by direct bank transfers account to account. 

Your protection with such payment methods is limited to non-existent!

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