BUYING MEN’S JEWELLERY: BIG BRANDS VS BESPOKE BOUTIQUE
Over the past two years, due to the pandemic, we all had to change our shopping habits and become much savvier about shopping online and investing in current jewellery trends in general. However, splashing out on a luxury piece probably still brings worries and concerns for many of us. When we’re shopping for jewellery in person, we like to try things on, inspect them closely, and spend a lot of time gauging the look and feel of the item. Will that colour match or complement my outfit? How big is it? Do I like the cut? However, many online retailers have actually been selling jewellery successfully for years, and are streets ahead of some other industries in the extent of the service they provide.
Finding a trusted source
You may be tempted to stick with the big brands or high street chains for your online jewellery shopping, and there are many reasons why this is a sensible idea. Big well-known companies are typically going to be reliable, with a huge network of staff able to carry out their services and shipping. There’s certainly peace of mind when purchasing from a well-established retailer, but the items you receive are more likely to be mass-produced. If you’re seeking something more unique and personal, a small independent boutique may be a better choice.
As long as you do your research, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a positive shopping experience. Make sure you check the retailer’s reviews outside of those that they post on their own site, and if in doubt, ask questions or ask to see authenticity paperwork for the item you’re looking to buy. Whoever you decide to order from, it’s important to check the details of delivery and returns. Trustworthy jewellers will know the value of the item and will make sure that the shipping is insured against loss or damage. It’s also worth checking that they offer free courier returns to ensure you won’t be liable for additional costs should you need to return the item for any reason. When purchasing jewellery online, you should pay attention to the jewellery photography. A neat jewellery photo is a sign of quality and reliability.
Making ethical and sustainable choices
If you want to make sure your shopping choices reflect your moral and ethical stance, there are probably retailers you’ll automatically avoid, and typically these tend to be major chains. However, smaller independent stores often use sites like Amazon or eBay to extend their potential customer reach, so it’s worth looking on these sites to see what’s out there. If you’d rather shop direct with the store to support a small business, you can then look them up and find their own site to order from. Of course, this may not afford you the same delivery and payment protections as you’d get from the larger eCommerce platform, so make sure to double check.
“Another great way to ensure you’re making ethical and sustainable choices for your jewellery is to consider second-hand or vintage pieces,” says Harry Diamond, Director of Cry For The Moon. “As well as being a fashionable option, you’re also more likely to find something unique that really suits your personality and style. You’re unlikely to find anything like that if you stick to the big brands or high street chains, but lots of smaller retailers deal in high-quality vintage, antique, or re-made pieces.”
If you want a really bespoke and exclusive piece without sacrificing your ethics, an independent jeweller will be able to give you the background on where they’ve sourced their materials from and have the expertise to help you make informed choices.
Look for great customer service
Whilst a lot of shop-based boutique jewellers weren’t able to operate under lockdown restrictions, some have made the leap into online sales. You’re no longer restricted to the jewellers with stores on your local high street, so you can now look further afield for the perfect piece. You’ll know a good online jeweller if they show a range of photos of each item, so you can really see what it looks like from all angles. Some may even include a 360º video. Hopefully, they’ll also have included information about the measurements, and reference guides can be found online for the sizing of rings, necklaces, and bracelets.
Once you’ve decided on your purchase, shopping with the big brands and chains probably means they’ll have a code of conduct and a standard customer service routine; you know what you’re getting and it’s likely to be efficient and professional. However, shopping for jewellery should be an enjoyable and personalised experience, and a small boutique is likely to offer a friendly bespoke service to each customer. If they’ve made the piece themselves, the chances are they’ll be able to offer you a more thorough description of it, which is a huge bonus when you’re buying something you’ve never seen in person.
It can be daunting to make an expensive purchase online; if it’s for a gift or special occasion, you don’t want anything to go wrong, so you may be tempted to play it safe and stick with the brands you know. If peace of mind is your top priority, it can definitely be worth buying from a retailer you know and trust. On the other hand, if you’re more interested in seeking out a unique piece and having that personal touch, an independent jeweller is probably your best bet. As long as you follow our advice and make sure you’re shopping with a credible supplier, buying jewellery online can be a safe, hassle-free, and enjoyable experience.