One thing that no one has mentioned yet is that diamonds are still the number one stone of choice for bridal jewelry, and that really doesn’t show any signs of changing any time soon. You will be competing against Blue Nile primarily, as well as James Allen, Price Scope, Diamonds Direct and other major players. Your issues won’t be with jewelry design, they will be in diamond sales. Online bridal sales has become a real cutthroat industry in the last decade or so. The bottom line to competing in online bridal sales is going to be price oriented. In order to compete on price, you are going to have to have some very, very deep pockets.
If you’re serious and no one is going to talk you out of it (which I understand completely, I couldn’t tell you how many people told me I was insane to do what I am now doing quite successfully), learn all there is to learn about diamonds. That is no small task. Start with the GIA Diamond course. Then you will need some really good connections in the diamond business. Many suppliers offer a link to their inventory that you can link your website(s) to. That’s how the big players operate.
I wouldn’t even mess with the brass and glass stuff. There is no credibility there. I’m not just guessing, I’ve been there and done that. If you can’t show people the real deal, they simply won’t buy from you, especially in an online type of setting. You must also come up with a method of shipping fast, and I mean fast. One week shipping won’t cut it, you’ll have to offer same day or at the very least next day shipping if you intend to play in the online bridal jewelry marketplace competitively. If you can’t ship your finished engagement rings fast, people will simply not buy from you.
If you really have some money to play with, instead of trying to design jewelry before really understanding the marketplace, I would suggest that you become familiar with the customer’s experience. Order some stuff from different companies and see how you’re treated and how things are priced and shipped. If there are chinks in their armor, that’s how you’ll find them.
The very best of luck to you. You’re really going to need it in that business.