Want a simple, yet straight forward guide to buying gold jewelry online?
Great, you're in the right place! In this guide, you'll learn:
- Why buy your gold jewelry online in the first place?
- How to buy gold jewelry online? (5-step guide)
- What are some red flags to consider?
- And much more!
Buying gold jewelry can be a big investment and with advances in technology in the jewelry industry there are more and more online retailers selling gold jewelry at reasonable prices. You only need to follow through simple clicks and you can easily choose your favorite gold jewelry without having to move an inch from where you are.
But is buying gold online that easy?
In this article, we’ll find out some of the best practices to use when buying gold jewelry online. You’ll find money-saving tips, best online stores, red flags, and many more…
Why Buy Gold Jewelry Online In The First Place?
Going online when you buy gold jewelry has its fair share of highs, especially if you compare to local stores.
For instance, you’ll have a better shot at getting what you want due to the large inventories of yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, gold rings, and whatever else you're looking to buy.
Unlike offline retailers, online shops like James Allen or Blue Nile save a ton on overhead since they don't have many (if any) physical locations. That cost savings is almost always passed onto the customer (i.e., you).
Remember, online Jewelers know full-well that people generally like to touch and feel expensive things before they buy them. That said, they do everything in their power to get people to buy sight unseen through the use of special camera technology and extra certification.
So, How Do You Buy Gold Jewelry Online?
Step 1: Find A Trusted Online Retailer
Honestly, I'm just going to recommend you go with either James Allen or Blue Nile if you're thinking about buying any type of gemstone, gold necklace, or a pair of gold earrings online.
The reason for this is that these guys specialize in online only jewelry sales, which include traditional gold and silver gold.
Step 2: Understand The Purity Of Gold
The price of gold will largely depend on its purity (measured in karats). I’m sure you’ve heard of 24-karat pieces! They are the purest form of gold which is measured in 24 parts, hence the name 24k Gold. Basically, 24 karat means 99.9% gold but since it’s too soft, jewelers hardly make pieces using pure gold.
So for example, alloys (or combinations of gold with other metals) tend to strengthen the overall metal content, so 22kt (91.67% pure gold), 18kt (75% pure gold), are best for gold bracelets, gold bangles, or gold chains.
Personally, I stick to 14K or 18K for those pieces, especially if I'm wearing them frequently. Chains for women are pretty delicate as is and the softness of more gold could cause it to break more if it gets snagged.
Lower purities like 14kt gold are mostly used in stone-studded jewelry like diamond jewelry such as diamond rings, diamond necklaces, and diamond earrings. That said, look out for gold jewelry ranging anywhere from 14k to 22k.
That said, it's also worth pointing out how to spot fake gold jewelry. Check the video below for help on that!
Step 3: Look For Certification And Hallmarks
The hallmark is proof of the claimed purity of the precious metal. Always insist on this mark and make sure it matches the item’s description. Generally, the hallmark is either the karatage or the percentage of gold purity engraved on inconspicuous parts of the gold jewelry.
Apart from the standard hallmark, you can also find other marks engraved in the piece: the year of marking, the jeweler’s mark, the purity code, and the testing center’s mark.
Step 4: Understand The Language Of Gold Jewelry
So, you have chosen your online retailer, and know a few things about gold purity. But you still find it hard to juggle through the jargon in item descriptions. Well, before making any further decisions, you should take the time to understand what these terms mean.
For instance, gold plated jewelry is different from a gold-filled one. Gold plated jewelry has a thin crust of gold, plated on top of another base metal. Gold plated items are cheaper but will tarnish with time, showing the base metal. However, other forms of gold plating have specific base metals; vermeil, for instance, has sterling silver as the base metal. They are best used for those allergic to nickel.
Gold-filled jewelry, on the other hand, is filled with gold and a small percentage of metal alloys to make it last longer.
Step 5: Check For Warranty And Return Policies
If you’re making a high-risk investment such as buying gold jewelry online, it is important that the online company backs their products with a warranty. This may be added to the cost of your product, but it is definitely worth it. More often, companies tend to enhance the color of what they’re selling online and sometimes you may not get exactly what you saw on the website.
This is where the return policy comes about. Most online jewelers offer a few days for returns and money-back guarantees. But not all online sellers will have this option, so it's important to confirm what the company says about returns.
Again, both James Allen and Blue Nile have generous return policies.
Best Way To Save Money Buying Gold Jewelry Online?
Avoid Chain Stores
You may live a few meters from your favorite jewelry store, but I’m not sure if you’ll buy from them if you knew most of them set very high markups of up to 700%! That’s just ludicrous, considering online retailers and small vendors selling the same gold piece at competitive prices.
Again, James Allen and Blue Nile are your friends here. They don't have the same overheads and don’t include salespeople, premises, and other expenses, thus that gold necklace set you had your eye on is probably cheaper at one of their shops. You should also be vigilant enough, not to stoop too low. Even online retailers may not keep their word.
Look Out For Deals
The best thing about online stores is regular discounts and flash sales. Basically, any online jeweler has a number of deals during the year. Apart from public holidays and Black Fridays, you can land yourself great discounts when buying gold jewelry online.
But not all discounts are right for you. Sometimes they’ll apply to select products or the “discount” might be very low. Compare these deals with different online vendors and identify the finer details so that you don’t become an easy target.
Some places like Clean Origin, never do deals, so you can feel confident in knowing that you're getting the best price offered 100% of the time.
Be Wary Of Extra Costs (Like Sales Tax)
The cost of purchasing gold jewelry goes far beyond the purity of gold and varies from seller to seller. If you’re looking to cut costs, you should get familiar with a few services that hike prices:
- The gold bullion rate. This is the market price of gold, which changes every day. A good online jeweler has a section on the homepage displaying the daily bullion rates of 24kt pure gold. Non-pure gold is typically measured in grams.
- Designer stores: You may wonder why gold sellers affiliated with Bulgari, Cartier, or other top-tier brands sell gold pieces at exaggerated rates. Well, designer pieces fetch price tags up to ten times higher than normal gold jewelry. This is because the other costs cover the product’s quality, designer’s attribute, and the brand name.
- Custom pieces: Unless stated, most online sellers have extra charges for custom pieces since you’ll not just be paying for the jewelry, but the design too.
- Sales Tax: Jewelry is expensive, and most states levy a sales tax. We offer guides on how to avoid sales tax on Blue Nile and how to save sales tax on James Allen jewelry. Check those out to save a bit of money.
What Are The Best Places To Buy Gold Jewelry Online?
I referred to these shops numerous times throughout this piece. It's not because I'm trying to promote them, I genuinely think these guys are doing a great job at providing customers with a superior experience buying gold jewelry online. The industry is changing, and these guys are here to help you get better pricing on the same gold rings and gold bracelets your parents were buying years ago.
James Allen is you one stop-jewelry shop and you’ll find a nice collection of gold jewelry. Although the online seller is not specialized in gold only, they have a wide inventory and offer 360-degree videos for each item. It is quite useful, especially from such an investment, to have a virtual view of how your preferred jewelry looks like.
However, navigating through JA’s inventory can be daunting. Currently, there’s no section dedicated to gold jewelry and you would have to search manually or filter based on the gold metal only. Beware of stone-studded jewelry as they fetch pricier tags.
All in all, the website is great and James Allen has been in business for more than a decade, so it shouldn’t be a risky affair shopping at JA.
Blue Nile has a reputation for very competitive prices and offers gold jewelry too. Most of BN’s products have 360-degree imaging and certifications. The jeweler may sell all kinds of stones, but finding gold jewelry is somewhat easier as there is a “precious metals” section under each type of jewelry.
Since the inventory is not as wide, in terms of gold jewelry, you’re able to reserve an order for up to 48 hours. This way you’ll have more time to decide if you made the right decision. BN is one of the most reputable online jewelers and purchasing here does not have to be tricky. Just remember to verify the fine prints before making an order.
Whiteflash has magnified its brand from retailing top-tier diamonds. However, it has limited varieties of gold-only jewelry and sometimes you may have to place an order and wait for Whiteflash to contact you. Honestly, I’ll recommend other sites if you’re looking for pure gold jewelry and not just stone-studded pieces.
Whiteflash may have a reputation for selling high-quality diamonds, but they lack in variety of gold jewelry. In fact, if compared to Blue Nile, Whiteflash has very few selections of gold jewelry.
What Are Red Flags When Buying Gold Jewelry Online?
It is worth pointing out some red flags as you begin your online search for new fine jewelry.
- Avoid buying gold jewelry without hallmarks. Some online vendors will try to sell you gold without engraved marks on the piece. Unless you are an expert, avoid buying such golds as you might have trouble in case you decide to resell.
- 24k gold jewelry may not be the best option. 24 karat might be the purest form of gold, but it is also one of the rarest. Furthermore, pieces made of 24k gold are ductile and might break if exposed to rough conditions.
- Avoid gold jewelry with a few images (or with stock images)- Now even though you may not focus much in the 4C’s in buying gold jewelry, it is important that you see what you’re buying beforehand. The images must also be real, high-quality images that represent the real dimensions of the item. This way you’ll avoid getting ripped off of items that do not match its descriptions.
- Watch out for fake gold. Bring a magnet with you to check if you're unsure. Real gold jewelry is not magnetic, while fake gold jewelry is!