If you are browsing through eBay, one of the things that draws your attention is the unbelievably low prices for the jewelry sold there.
And although you may have come across cheap jewelry before, even on platforms like Amazon, the extremely low prices of jewelry and even precious stones sold on eBay will raise eyebrows.
In a bid to help you make sense of things, we take a look at some of the real reasons why the jewelry sold on eBay is very cheap.
Why is eBay jewelry so cheap?
Although the rare and high-quality gemstone is rarely ever cheap on eBay, most of the other types of jewelry, especially fashion jewelry, is unbelievably cheap.
This happens to be the case because of the following reasons:
1.eBay a dumping area – This doesn’t give eBay the most solid of reputations, but when it comes to the jewelry sold on eBay, the rule of the thumb is that you get what you pay for, always.
Unfortunately, there are many cases where eBay ends up being the dumping ground for gemstones, and since most buyers aren’t willing to pay the market prices for the gemstones, sellers are often forced to respond to the buyers’ low prices (especially in auction sales). But these sellers need to make some money from the business, and what they do to make this possible is offer low-grade synthetics and even defective synthetics. There also are cases where sellers sell off incorrectly and misidentified gemstones.
2.Shill Bidding – this is the other big reason why eBay features some of the cheapest grades of jewelry sold on online marketplaces. Shill bidding happens where the unscrupulous sellers have not only active selling accounts but also a number of bidding accounts. In these cases, actual buyers perceive and build a great deal of interest in the gemstone being auctioned. Unfortunately, the deceitful sellers acting as buyers keep bidding, driving the prices of their own products. At the end of these bidding/ auction games, the sellers often claim that they were no paid, which means that they tell eBay that they have zero charges in sellers’ fees.
3.Estate prices for family heirlooms – most of the jewelry and gemstones sold on eBay are often estate pieces and family heirlooms, meaning that someone might be selling their grandmother’s brooches or rings. Although these pieces could have been purchased in retail, traditionally, they are now sold at lower wholesale prices, especially when the pieces sold are pretty much outdated. So, even though the pieces being auctions could be valuable vintage pieces, they’d only sell if the price is driven down.
4.Too many fakes and fraud in the new jewelry categories – these pieces are sold very cheaply. Often, pieces marketed as diamonds are cubic zirconia pieces, rubies are garnets, and the gold-filled jewelry often turns out to be Tibetan Silver. And since sellers are aware of the actual materials and their values, they will be sold off very cheaply.
5.Large stock of gemstones – other sellers will sell their jewelry very cheaply because the gemstones held at home in their garages are just too much, and the only thing they can think of is to sell lots of the stones very cheaply.
Why are gemstones so cheap on eBay?
Essentially, the cost and the value of jewelry, semi-precious and precious stones is set by the market – that is: how much the buyers on that marketplace are willing to pay for the gemstones. As expected, buyers will want to pay the smallest amount possible, even without considerations of the quality and whether the pieces are synthetic or natural. So, in most cases, gemstones sold on eBay are sold rather cheaply.
And with most sellers having many stones to sell, it makes sense for them to sell them to the lowest bidders. Well, unless they chose to sell individual, high-quality stones at a higher price, in which cases, the gemstones wouldn’t sell fast, but when it does, they will make good money off it.
Keep in mind that high-quality gemstones tend to be hard to sell because they are rarely cheap. But with the –you get what you pay for line of thinking, eBay ends up being this dumping ground for gemstones, with most buyers unwilling to pay for the actual value of the gemstones, forcing sellers to respond to this trend by taking even lower prices for their gemstones.
This, and then you add on the fact that there is a lot of Shill bidding on eBay, and you are left with an unfair marketplace where you have to sell your jewelry very cheaply. So, if you want quick cash from selling jewelry on eBay, it might be a good idea for you to source and sell cheaper gemstones.
Is the jewelry on eBay real? Is Fake jewelry allowed on eBay?
While you’d expect that most, if not all, of the jewelry sold on eBay is genuine, there are sellers who still sell jewelry that either doesn’t match up to the descriptions provided or are just fakes.
For instance, some of the jewelry made of gemstones would be graded differently, and you wouldn’t be able to easily tell if they are graded as CZ stones or man-made diamonds when it comes to the diamond scale used.
That said, it’s worth noting that it is very much against eBay’s policies to sell fakes. But there is a caveat to this – eBay doesn’t have a system or way of pre-emptively enforcing such policies, especially without manually inspecting all the products sold on the site, which is, unfortunately, not feasible.
What this means is that eBay relies on the reports given by the sellers and buyers, with the information provided by the sellers being crucial in determining whether sellers are actually selling fakes or not.
Is it safe to buy jewelry on eBay?
With all the information shared above and the concerns about the safety and genuine state of the jewelry that is sold on eBay, should you sell your jewelry on eBay, a platform that is already tainted, to say the least?
Well, the decision to sell on eBay and what you choose to sell on the platform is dependent on what products you wish to sell. Essentially, if you sell things like old toys and dolls or miscellaneous, otherwise regarded as collectibles, you will be happy to know that eBay would work for you. Though imperfect, there are fewer pitfalls for returns, and such niches/ categories may not attract as many scammers as other categories, like the ones for selling diamonds and other forms of high-end jewelry.
And with buyers not being 100% trustworthy on this site, you might want to reconsider the decision to sell high-value products on the site.
Tips for buying jewelry from eBay
Considering all the pitfalls and the misfortunes faced by different sellers and buyers on eBay, it might sound like a good idea to stop buying products from eBay. However, you don’t have to take this path just yet. The tips and recommendations below will ensure that purchasing jewelry from eBay is safer for you.
- Know the value of the actual products
In other words, if the deal is too good to be true, it probably is. But you won’t know how good the deal is unless you know the actual market values of some of the jewelry you are interested in buying.
If, for example, you are considering some antique sterling silver pieces, knowing the scrap value of sterling silver would be a great place for you to start.
Also, beware of the authenticity stamps and hallmark signs used and what they mean.
- Due Diligence
This is a crucial factor to bear in mind in your search for the best jewelry sold on eBay or on any other online marketplace, for that matter.
What this means is that if you see something you like on eBay, the first thing you’d want to do is to look up feedback for that seller on similar sales.
Also, compare what the seller offers to what others offer and check for big price variations, as well as the country of manufacture.
Again, if the deal is too good to be true, it probably is.
- Always be skeptical
This might not sound like the kind of advice you were looking for, but here it is. As long as you are buying jewelry or any other kinds of products from eBay, you must be skeptical. Be on high alert at all times.
Art Deco jewelry, for example, might not be actual Art Deco, and the antique piece might not be an actual antique piece. So, research and learn about the features you should expect from such unique and often high-value pieces before you buy them.
The best sellers offer comprehensive product detailing, both in the pictures and the descriptions. Also, don’t shy away from asking sellers hard questions about the products they are selling.
And if a seller doesn’t have any positive reviews, you should walk away from such transactions.
- Check shipping costs
This is important because your bidding price is the price you’ll pay before the shipping costs.
On the same breadth, think of the maximum amount you’d be willing to pay for that product before you place the first bid – this means considering all the associated costs.
- Know your measurements
If you are going to buy jewelry on eBay, you must know all your measurements, that is, the ring size, the necklace length preferable, and the circumference of your wrist.
You don’t want to bid and spend money on a piece of jewelry that doesn’t fit you, and you won’t wear it ever or even sell it.
eBay has some of the lowest product prices on the market, but before you spend your money on that ridiculously cheap piece of jewelry, read this article and always do your due diligence before you place any bid.