Monday, August 4, 2014

Should You Buy Jewelry on eBay?

Of course I'm going to say yes because I now run an eBay business that sells designer jewelry but I also sold this same jewelry in a high end department store for many years so I feel qualified to provide an opinion.

During my stores days I probably would have told you never to buy on eBay because you could never be sure if you were getting the real thing.  I knew where my merchandise came from since I was the one who received the boxes, checked in it and put it in the cases.  However, over the last few years while still in my store I noticed that more and more of my long time clients were coming in to show me their latest eBay bargain and asking me if it was real.  I hated to say it, but they were real and the client usually paid way less than the retail price of the same piece in my showcase.  I didn't need a brick to drop on my head to tell me that I needed to start paying attention to what was selling on eBay and other after market selling sites.

Thus a new eBay business was born.  We have fun looking for authentic designer jewelry anywhere we can find it and bringing to our cyber clients.  Many of our former customers started asking us to sell their unwanted jewelry for them and so a nice little consignment business was born too.  Plus, we are certain we are selling authentic pieces since we originally sold them to our client in the first place!

Just as you would cultivate a relationship with your favorite store sales associate, I suggest you do the same thing on eBay. Don't just look for a nice pair of earrings, but be sure to thoroughly check out the seller as well. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
  • Look for outstanding feedback scores.  Ours is 100% positive, which means we will do just about anything to make our customers happy - just like we did in the store.
  • Be sure your seller takes returns.  This means you should have no problem sending something back if you are not happy with your purchase.  Otherwise, you will have to open a case with eBay and perhaps do battle with your seller.  This can be protracted and not fun.
  • Try to find free shipping.  The best sellers try to offer free shipping as a convenience to the client.  If your favorite store ships for free (and most do) so should your favorite eBay store.
  • Look to see if your seller posts a phone number for you to call.  This gives you the opportunity to ask a lot of questions and can offer a buyer the same type of customer service you get in a store.  Our many years of client relations at the store level naturally spilled over into our eBay business and buyers who call are pleasantly surprised to find we offer this personalized service.
  • Read the fine print and carefully look at all the photos.  One can get very excited to see the David Yurman piece you almost bought in the store at less than half price on eBay, however; there might be dents in the end caps, or a missing diamond, or the chain might be 13" instead of  the 16" length you really need.  Know your merchandise and read carefully!
These are just a few of the more important things to be aware of before you click "Buy It Now" and the more you buy the more second nature these basics will become.

Bella Tutto Items of the Week

David Yurman SS/18K Extra Large Oval Link Necklace
Retail:  $3950...Bella Tutto:  $2550
David Yurman Sterling Silver .48tcw 7mm Blue Topaz & Diamond Bracelet
Retail:   $1900...Bella Tutto:  $1150
David Yurman SS/18K .50tcw Pave Diamond Metro Ring
Retail:  $2050...Bella Tutto:  $1195

Friday, August 1, 2014

Outlander's Caitriona Balfe Sparkles in Van Cleef & Arpels at Starz Screening in NYC

Outlander panel at 92nd St Y
On July 28th, fans of Diana Gabaldon's novel, Outlander, got an early screening of the book's upcoming television adaptation at New York City's 92nd St. Y. 

My sister treated me to tickets to the screening. She has been a fan of Diana Gabaldon's books for some time now and teaches Outlander in her romance novel class at George Mason University in Virginia. When we got to the 92nd St. Y, we found the place packed with hundreds of other Outlander fans, some of whom even dragged their kilt-wearing husbands to the event.  Note to self…think about buying husband a kilt. 

Much has already been written about the first episode screened that night, as well as the lively panel discussion with series producer Ron Moore, Gabaldon, and the charming stars of the show, Caitriona Balfe, Tobias Menzies, and a very red-headed Sam Heughan, that followed. Moderator Leslie Yazel, Executive Editor at Cosmopolitan, was funny as hell and could have career possibilities on Saturday Night Live. She guided her guests through the epic journey of adapting Gabaldon's story about a 20thC nurse, Claire Randall (Balfe) who time-travels back to the 18thC where she falls in love with a hunky Highland hero, Jamie Fraser, played by Sam Heughan. This is what happens when you are not careful around ancient stones that make strange noises. 

Caitriona Balfe
But forget those stones. Let's talk about the other stones on display during the discussion. The most striking thing I saw from my seat on Monday night was not Sam Heughan's thighs (you'll see plenty of that in the first episode anyway), but rather the jewelry Caitriona Balfe was wearing (this is a jewelry blog after all).  Balfe wore a beautiful flowered dress from Honor with a poor shoe choice (weird Mary Janes), but her jewelry was the star.  I  mentioned to my sister that I thought Balfe was wearing a Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra diamond necklace.  Her neck sparkled like crazy from where we were sitting and it was a little hard to make out the exact design with all that plaid in the way.  

Van Cleef and Arpels later tweeted that Balfe was wearing the storied jewelry firm's Folie des Prés earrings and ring, along with their Frivole necklace.  The ring alone retails for $56,500 and the necklace for $67,500. Gorgeous!

No time travel with these stones, but I think I hear them calling my name...

Folie des Prés diamond earrings
Folie des Prés diamond ring - $56,500
Frivole diamond necklace - $67,500