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How we created this
Complied from “Best of” lists published by the world’s most trusted sources, and with our own recommended brands peppered in - this Top10 list aims to help consumers make smarter decisions.

What to Look for When Buying Jewelry Online

Shopping online for jewelry gives you so many more options than you’d find at a retail store. Just make sure you choose a reputable online jewelry store.

The idea of shopping for jewelry online may sound funny to you if you’ve never tried it; after all, there’s something to be said for going into a store, trying on a ring or necklace, and looking in the mirror to see if it suits you.

However, shopping for jewelry online can open up your world to so many more options than a typical department store. You can discover creations from up-and-coming American designers, elegant European designers, and high-end brand names like Oscar de la Renta and Gucci.

Shopping for jewelry online can also save you the time and hassle of going out to the store, trying on different pieces, striking different poses in front of a mirror, and deflecting pushy salesmen. When you order jewelry online, you know exactly what you’re getting, and you don’t need to feel pressured by the opinions of others. And if you order from a site that has free returns, then there’s really no risk at all.

What Matters When Choosing an Online Jewelry Store?

It’s safe to say that there are certain features that characterize the best online jewelry stores, though they may vary slightly by company and seller. Of course, you may be asking, isn’t the jewelry the most important feature??

The answer is: Yes and no.

Of course, the actual jewelry on each site should be a factor when considering which online jewelry store to shop at!

But no, it’s not necessarily the most important feature. After all, you can find beautiful, stunning, glittering jewelry on many sites—but it’s the extra features, like high quality materials, helpful customer service, and free shipping/returns, that separate the blah online jewelry stores from the jewelry stores you’ll buy from time and time again.

High Quality Materials

Whether you’re shopping for a diamond engagement ring or some colorful costume jewelry to brighten up your outfit, the materials used to make the jewelry matter.

In the case of diamond rings, you’ll want to shop at a site that uses only the finest quality diamonds (not a site that claims to use the finest quality diamonds). You’ll also want to make sure that the ring setting is made from fine gold, silver, white gold, or whatever you choose.

To make sure that the online jewelry store you’re shopping at offers truly high quality products, it’s a good idea to snoop around the site and find either awards, certifications, or other testaments to the claims of fine materials.

Blue Nile, for example, has a page of industry rewards and reviews. James Allen, another site renowned for diamond engagement rings, has each diamond’s certification listed on the page of the item you’re looking at.

If you’re shopping for everyday fashion jewelry or fine jewelry for special occasions, neither will be as big of an expense as a diamond ring, but you still don’t want to spend good money on shoddy work! (Remember those “gold” rings that used to turn your fingers green?) That’s why it’s important to read what materials the jewelry is made of as well as customer reviews.

Etsy, for instance, is an amazing place to find hand-crafted, custom-made jewelry. It’s also a place where customer reviews are especially important, since it’s a marketplace for jewelry as opposed to a store. This means that even if you had a great experience with one seller, a different seller might be, well, different. So check out the reviews of each seller to make sure you’re looking at quality hand-crafted items.

If you prefer online jewelry stores as opposed to marketplaces, Bauble Bar, Net-A-Porter, Of A Kind, and Astley Clarke all offer high quality fashion and fine jewelry.

Helpful Customer Service

Are customer service representatives available to talk by phone and/or chat? Readily available representatives may be important to you, especially if you’re looking at expensive, high-end jewelry.

If you want an online jewelry store with live chat, you can check out well-reputed sites like James Allen, Net-A-Porter, and Astley Clarke. If you can live without live chat and just need email/phone contact, sites like Matches Fashion, & Other Stories, and Catbird can readily assist you.

The main thing to keep in mind when considering the type of customer service offered at online jewelry stores is that representatives are responsive, knowledgeable, and don’t try to push their own agenda.

Free Shipping and Returns

Some online jewelry stores offer free shipping, some offer free shipping with a certain minimum order, and yet others standard shipping that you have to pay for. Because domestic shipping isn’t a huge expense, it might not make a difference to you whether the site you order from has it or not.

On the other hand, even 10 bucks is money, so we looked into shipping costs at some of the top online jewelry stores and found that most of them offer free domestic shipping. This means that when you checkout at Blue Nile, James Allen, Matches Fashion, and Astley Clarke you’ll see a big fat 0 under Shipping Cost. Other top sites offer conditional free shipping, which in many cases, you can easily meet the conditions. Bauble Bar, for example, offers free shipping on orders of $25 and up and Catbird offers free shipping on orders $200 and up.

And yes, there are still those online jewelry sites that charge for shipping; while shipping costs don’t reflect on the quality of the products, it’s important to be aware that they exist. So when you’re shopping at Etsy, Net-A-Porter, or Of A Kind, tack on about $10-$30 extra in your head for shipping. (The exact cost depends on where the items ship from and to.)

As for returns, the best online jewelry stores will let you return items for free, or at the most, for the cost of shipping. When ordering fashion jewelry, returns might not be your biggest concern, but if you’re ordering diamond or precious gem pieces, you’ll want to check out the site’s return policy before paying a huge sum of cash.

Online Jewelry Shopping Isn’t Cheap, But It’s Worth It

Many people turn to the internet to find better prices than they would find in retail stores. And they manage! You can find just about anything online for fairly good prices, including clothes, mattresses, toys, books, and loads more.

Shopping for jewelry online, however, isn’t about finding great prices—it’s about finding great jewelry in a convenient way. Sure, some of the top online jewelry sites have a Sale section, but the majority sell their products at market prices, because these products are well-made and high quality.

So if you go to Catbird or James Allen and expect to find a killer deal on a diamond engagement ring, you may be disappointed. If you go to Matches Fashion and expect to find Valentino necklaces for 70% off, you’re out of luck. If you go to Etsy and expect to find one-of-a-kind, handcrafted jewelry at Walmart prices, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

However, if you go to any of the best online jewelry stores and expect to find stunning, remarkable items, you’ll be delighted and overjoyed. You’ll also need to prepare yourself for a barrage of compliments. Because when you wear high quality jewelry, people take notice.

How we created this
Complied from “Best of” lists published by the world’s most trusted sources, and with our own recommended brands peppered in - this Top10 list aims to help consumers make smarter decisions.