Where do people sell jewelry on line?

I have been reading the archive and have seen the posts about
etsy.com and selling your items there.

I have looked at etsy and I am not encouraged to sell there. I have
looked at the new ArtFire.com and even though the pricing structure
is a bit different, it just seems like another etsy.

I then looked at RubyLane.com - I have even bought items there but
the pricing structure is a bit much for a person starting out.

So my questions are:

  1. Where do people sell on line?

  2. Have you found a hosting provider that has a good template and
    PayPal integration

  3. OR did you end up building your own?

Thanks - Laurie

1 Like

in the past year i have sold one item online (artfire); the rest of
my work has been from personal contact locally. the artfire sale came
from the rapid cart that i linked to my personal website, not the
artfire shop. i also have an etsy shop, but not a sale.

John Atwell Rasmussen, Ph.D.

in the past year i have sold one item online (artfire); the rest of
my work has been from personal contact locally. the artfire sale came
from the rapid cart that i linked to my personal website, not the
artfire shop. i also have an etsy shop, but not a sale.

John Atwell Rasmussen, Ph.D.

I’m probably going to raise a few hackles here (what else is new?)
but I think selling jewelry on line is a bad idea. I know, I know,
tons of money is being made on the web doing just this, but you
cannot imagine the amount of absolute junk, completely
misidentified, totally useless crap that is being sold on line.
Regardless of the quality of your own personal work, in my mind you
then run into the problem of guilt by association.

Let’s just look at a few things I’ve handled in just the last two
weeks. One young lady comes in with a white gold ring with a small
“diamond” (I use this word very loosely as industrial bort might be
a better term for the single cut, heavily included piece of junk on
the top). Her boyfriend gave her the ring two weeks earlier and the
shank has already cracked. It’s so thin that there is no way to
repair it that it will last. So I have to charge her to do a half
shank on the piece (it truly needed a full shank because it was so
darn thin but the design was created to save on metal and there was
no way for me to run the shank up that far), and to rhodium plate it.
Cost her $150. I’d guess the guy couldn’t have paid half of that for
the junk (certainly if he did, he got ripped off).

Then last week I get another young lady in, again with a ring from a
fiancee?/boyfriend. She says to me it needs to be sized. I say sure.
Then she says to me that the ring is from the 19th century. It came
from an “antique” dealer on the web and they told the boyfriend that
it was from the 19th century. Let’s see if I can describe this ring.
It has an oval topaz at the top in one of the half bezel settings
where there is only a bezel on either end of the stone. Down the
sides are channel set, modern cut diamonds. Now it’s just possible
I’m wrong, but in my (now) 40 years in the business, I have never
seen a 19th century ring with these types of settings (no matter
with modern cut stones in them). The ring showed no signs of wear and
tear. My best guess? The ring was made sometime last month. Maybe it
was from late last year. 19th century?? Only if the 19th century
ended last week.

Then there are the guys who come in with a diamond they bought on
line. They say to me, “Will you look at this and tell me if I got
what they told me?” My inevitable reply is “Why would you ever buy
something from someone you don’t trust?” I get the same answer every
time. “Oh, I trust them, I just want to make sure it’s what they said
it was.” Nice trusting relationship built up there.

Then there are the couples who come in with the wedding bands they
need sized that they bought on line. I always ask why they don’t go
back to where they bought them since they are brand new. Answers
range from: They don’t size bands, they only sell them. It costs too
much to send them back and forth. We don’t have time to send them
back and forth. I’ve had it sized by them twice (substitute three or
four times in some cases) and they can’t get it right.

And then there are the ones who come in with colored stones that are
completely misidentified, synthetics, non disclosed, etc.

No offense to those of you who follow the rules and sell on the web,
but in my mind, there is no way to know what you’re getting when you
buy jewelry this way.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC

Hi Daniel,

I feel at odds with your reply.

On the one hand I agree there is a lot of junk and if you don’t know
what you are looking for or at, you may receive bad quality work.
There is nothing worse than repairing work that is not good to begin

On the other hand, their are quite a few people selling quality work

Personally I stand behind all my pieces and am willing to resize
replace, whatever is needed, but haven’t come across a return or a
complaint yet, although I am sure I will eventually.

As a consumer, if I cant get it in the City of Detroit, it will have
to be purchased online, that is my line in the sand. I know quite a
few others out there like this, not willing to commute to get a
anything, but interested in expressing that services are offered
within a reasonable radius of where they live.

I like to think of my online presence as a way to cater to this type
of audience.


Daniel, while I only have an online store, you are totally correct
in the fact that there are many unethical people out there in cyber
land who do not abide by any form of decent behavior. even my one
“online” sale was to someone that I know, i just had no idea she was
interested in my products as i have not seen her in several years.

I advise anyone who is to purchase jewelry (or stones, metal) to
only deal with a person who they know. I have purchased materials
online, usually a small purchase to see if I get what was
represented; then i will come back if that checks out.

I was interviewed for a “wedding” ezine, and I told that reporter
that anyone purchasing a diamond should know the dealer and his/her
reputation. Yes, the vast majority of online jewelers are ethical,
honest and provide exactly what they are claiming. Especially in the
small artisan shops. Unfortunately, there are also many folk making
“jewelry” who do not know the name of the stone that they are using.

i have rambled enough. caveat emptor


John Atwell Rasmussen, Ph.D.

1 Like


You sited some very specific examples of how a consumer can get
burned when buying jewelry on line. Your conclusion, that because of
this, we as reputable designers, or store owners shouldn’t sell on
line, is illogical, and confusing at best.

How many stories, or news exposes have we seen about jewelers, in
store fronts, switching customers diamonds, or selling misrepresented
goods? I have had to rebuild countless pieces that were repaired by
reputable jewelers, again doing business from a storefront. I have
also been aghast at the=

poor quality jewelry I see on a daily basis that are purchased from
a Jewelry store.

If you conclude, because of the poor quality work and examples of
misrepresentation you have seen connected to Internet purchases,
that the Internet is an invalid market place for the sale of jewelry,
then I must conclude, because of the examples I have sited, and your
guilt by association theory none of us should be selling jewelry from
store fronts.

Following your logic, there is no safe place for the consumer to
purchase jewelry. I beg to differ. I feel in any buying situation the
buyer must educate themselves, or they will fall victim to the
countless number of unscrupulous merchants waiting to take their

On the other hand, I believe there are more honest, reputable,
merchants, like yourself, and others, selling on the net available to
the public, to hopefully balance out the dark side of doing business.

Be Well
David Agronick
Making and selling jewelry in Hallowell, Maine
(I don’t sell on the net )

1 Like

Hi all, and thanks for the input.

I am glad to see all opinions but I think I am still wary of selling
on the web - not that I am unfamiliar with it. My husbands small
business is on the web but we have had that going for 10+ years and
had some help getting started by having some articles written about
the electronic components he sell.

(As she says puffing out her chest…)

I even built and set up his website and deal with e-commerce quite a
bit. It is when you read about all the time spent promoting your
site and the cost involved that really questions the value for a
newbie. Plus I spend my day working on computers, I really don’t look
forward to coming home and doing more - I just want to solder, wind
coils and doodle with ideas.

I really think that going to a few shops in my area and see it they
will just purchase to resell or do consignment might be the way to
go. I also think that if I host some jewelry “parties” with my
friends might help spread the word.

Have people had success with this? Any other “gotcha’s”?


The statement, that everybody who is selling online are selling
junk, but those with brick and mortar stores dealing in only quality
merchandise, is a sheer nonsense. Nothing else needs to be said in
relation to it.

Well built website provide far superior shopping experience to a
prospective client. There are severe repercussions to dishonest
vendors online. Nothing, even remotely close, exist in brick and
mortar world.

Online environment is self-regulating with well-defined avenues of
feedback. Word spreads very quickly online, and dishonest vendors do
not last. In brick and mortar world, the scams go on for years and

For someone just starting in the trade, online presence is a must.
That is as plain as I can make it.

Leonid Surpin


I did mention I would raise a few hackles with this one. But here’s
the difference between the web and the bricks and mortar stores. If
you get screwed in a bricks and mortar store it is always easy to go
back to them and get it resolved in some fashion. If you get screwed
on the web you have no idea who you’re dealing with. When people come
into me with new rings that were wrongly sized from another local
jeweler, I can just send them back to that jeweler. The web seems to
present a myriad of problems around this (not the least of which is
that everything needs to be shipped back and forth).

How many stories, or news exposes have we seen about jewelers, in
store fronts, switching customers diamonds, or selling
misrepresented goods? I 

As for this, in my 25 years of owning a shop I can count on two hands
the number of people who have had this happen to them over the years
and come into my shop about it. I can count on the same two hands the
number of people who come into my shop every two months who have had
this problem on the web. And no I do not believe it relates to the
volume of business currently done on the web. It has to do with the
sheer quantity of bogus selling being done on the web, relative to
the amount of honest selling. In other words, maybe 1-2% of bricks
and mortar jewelers are engaged in what you’re describing but I would
guess that on the web the numbers approach more like 50%. The
anonymity of the web allows this to happen. You have no idea who you
are actually dealing with when buying online. And unless it is a
large company you have very little recourse with a lot of the sites.
If I go into a local store and buy something and there is a problem
with it, I can go in and personally confront them about it. Can’t do
this on the web.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC

I sell something almost every month from my etsy shop, but nothing

I sell a couple of pieces a month from my Etsy site. I’ve recently
expanded into Artfire and 1000 Markets. So far no sales, but it’s
only been a month there. It took a few months for Etsy to show any

Janet Kofoed

The web seems to present a myriad of problems around this (not the
least of which is that everything needs to be shipped back and

I don’t know “where to sell online”. A couple of people have said
they sell “a couple of pieces a month on Etsy”. Sounds like a cup of
coffee and maybe a danish, in profits.

I think Daniel is correct, but also more than a little cynical, too.
I need a 12mm long, nice sapphire cab (really…). I went to one
online vendor and saw that all the cabs had the very same picture - a
common scam even if the material is nice. Why post a pic if it’s not
reale It’s largely, as Daniel says, the anonymity or at least
emotional distance. And the global economy is still reeling from
self-regulation, so we won’t even go there, unless it’s back to

But - my website doesn’t have e-commerce - neither does
http://spirerjewelers.com BTW. I use it for PR and remote-access
portfolio and such.

BUT - cartier.com, tiffany.com, shreves.com (local), even jcp.com,
costco.com, blue nile, diamonds.com - on and on. I searched for “art
jewelry” and got a few nice hits. Whether the merchanise means
anything is less important to the topic than the fact that these are
reputable people. It’s not all bad… There’s also no magical place
that I know of where people are going to flock to yours and only
yours and provide buckets of cash. Online is no different than
offline - build a product, build a reputation, build a clientele,
brick by brick.

And cream rises to the top…

We have 2 sites - the niche site for nautical knotted jewelry sells
well for us online. The other site not focused closely on a niche
does only ok - have been thinking of removing the cart and making it
more of a gallery site.

I also have 2 major lines that I only sell at shows or in galleries.
Some of the pieces not expensive enough to warrant the time it takes
to put them online and once it is online, it is so easy to have it

I have worked with the Internet since the dark ages (early 90’s
building sites for the marine industry), and have written a book and
a number of articles on website development. I do believe you need a
site if you are serious about being in business, but only as a part
of your ongoing marketing campaign. If you can sell from it, it is a


1 Like
In brick and mortar world, the scams go on for years and years. 

Come one Leonard, I think you are being a troll.

Brick and motar shops can be found, and the goldsmith/owner can be
beaten up----dige

Hans Meevis

The idea that selling online will somehow taint you is in my opinion
ridiculous. Course, I only sell very low priced items online, and
Daniel only sells very high priced items offline. So take our
opinions for what they’re worth :slight_smile:

Though ‘trust’ is definitely an issue when you’re selling online.
Walking into a brick-and-morter store and purchasing an expensive
piece of jewelry feels safer… those brick-and-morter walls, the
displays of jewelry under glass give a sense of permanency and
trustworthiness to the enterprise.

You somehow have to create that sense of trust when you’re selling
online. Some things to consider:

  • Have clear business policies wrt returns, breakages, repairs, etc.

  • Make sure there are no customers out there that have anything bad
    to say about you. Some places like Etsy allow customers to leave
    feedback – you really need that feedback to be good. Pple do read
    it. Crazy dishonest customers do exist, and the occasional bad
    feedback isn’t an issue. But it needs to be “occasional”.

  • Consider creating a name for yourself online… do you write, do
    interviews, won rewardse Stuff like that frequently ends up online.
    If your selling venue has a “profile” section, consider linking to

  • Pay attention to where you set up shop. I consider selling venues
    like Etsy, Ebay, Artfire, etc to be like brick-and-morter malls or
    shopping districts. The kind of jewelry you’ll succesfully be able
    to sell from your brick-and-morter store really depends on the local
    traffic and the other shops around you. I think online venues work
    the same way.

  • Consider a wide range of price points. Pple tend to start buying
    cheaper things from you, until you have a sales history and until
    they feel more comfortable about you.

  • I found the more you’ve sold, the more comfortable pple are buying
    from you.

Trust also works two ways… there are dishonest buyers as well.
What happens if the customer says they didn’t receive ite Shipping
fedex is way too expensive for cheaper items… nobody will pay the
shipping. So lossage needs to be factored into your prices.

I sell very low end items… $20-$120, with an average sale price of
about $35. So you’ll have to judge how applicable my
opinions/experience would be to your situation.

As far as selling venues… Etsy’s success has encouraged them to
multiply like rabbits! For what it’s worth, here are my opinions on
a few selling venues that I’ve researched:

www.etsy.com: I like it. A very wide range of items for sale there.
Everything from scrabble-tile pendants (generally composed of bits
of paper glued to scrabble tiles), to very nice hand-made
gold+gemstone jewelry. Average sale is quoted as $15, but from what
I can see, there’s a lot of jewelry sold in the $20-$100 range.

www.1000markets.com: Not officially launched yet. Somewhat juried. A
different concept than Etsy. In my opinion, a place to keep an eye
on… it may do well for higher end ends.

www.rubylane.com: I believe antiques and vintage get most the
attention here. Jewelry sold seems to be higher end. I don’t know
how well handmade stuff does. Lots of old antique and vintage sold
here. Expensive to sell.

www.artfire.com: Very new. They bill themselves as the “new etsy”.
In my opinion, a place sellers love and buyers hate.

www.dawanda.com: European – they have french, english and german
sites. From what I’ve read, the german one is the only one that’s
doing well at the moment – it’s the oldest one. I expect english
dawanda gets too much competition from Etsy. Personally I’m
interested in it because it does cater to a different market than
Etsy – ie the french/german markets in europe. And I can get by in
French and German, so I figure I should try it out.

www.icraft.ca: Canadian site. Nice looking, but very low traffic.

Like I said, there are zillions more than this. Personally I’m
looking at trying out Etsy, Dawanda and iCraft. When 1000markets
allows international sellers, I’ll consider them as well.

I have no plans currently on sellling in person at craft fairs or in
brick-and-morter stores. I currently find online selling very very


I suddenly feel an uncontrollable need to heckle my own raisins in
this thread. The point has been raised several times that if you
must buy online, you should buy online only from people you know. The
point has further been raised that a lot of online sellers are
dishonest, and you can expect to be cheated if you buy online. That
is just plain false.

OK, I will not argue that there are not bad apples in the online
world. On the other hand, I cannot remember the last time I walked
into a mall jewelry store and saw anything I would be willing to buy
for the prices. I can imagine buying a ring or pendant from one of
these major, as-seen-on-TV chains, taking the purchase home,
examining it more carefully, then trying to return it /without ever
taking it out of the box/. The response could well be something
like, “We can’t accept this back, it is damaged.” And this from big
companies that rake in hundreds of millions per year, and are still

I have been selling cut gems and rough online for a few years now. I
have little capital, no measurable advertising budget, and I am not
dealing in the top end. Yet. :slight_smile: I am here to tell you that if I ever
sold merchandise that was not as described, for a price that was not
justified, I would not be online today. I am quite certain the same
would be true if I ever hesitated to accept a return for any reason
at all. My only hope for survival is to deal fairly in the best
quality I can get my hands on.

Last year my net revenues increased by nearly 50 percent over the
previous year. I attribute this growth partly to my unconditional
return policy. My business model is simple. I show and describe my
stones as clearly as I can, you buy some, and if you don’t love them
after you get them, you return them for a full refund. I had one
person buy three stones and a couple of weeks later two of the
stones just showed up in my mailbox. I promptly refunded the prices
of the stones he returned and tossed in a bit for return shipping.
Yes, folks, it really is that simple, and I am not the only seller
that does it this way.

The moral of my story is, there are people online who will
misrepresent, overcharge, or be a pain about returns or other aspects
of customer service. Then there are others, often small operations
like me, who will do whatever we can to make the customer happy.
Sometimes we have to settle for not unhappy, but we do our best. If
you don’t know which kind of seller you are dealing with, send an
email with a question or two, or maybe place a small test order. You
will quickly know if this is someone you want to deal with. Then, by
all means, keep coming back to the sellers you like, even if
(unthinkable, of course) those online sellers are not me.

Thank you all for your time. We now return you to your regularly
scheduled discussions.


I have been successfully selling both jewelry and gemstones on our
website, bestcutgems.com for quite a few years. And yes we are real
people! And yes I have had locals come to me to have their diamond
jewelry checked that they had purchased or repaired by a local brick
and mortar store because he was convicted of switching stones. Just
because I don’t have a brick and mortar store doesn’t make me a
crook. My name and reputation is as important to me as it is to most
brick and mortar store owners. I have worked for brick and mortar
stores that have declared bankruptcy leaving their suppliers holding
the bag. I think that is just plain stealing!

Having a brick and mortar store doesn’t make you any more honest or
reputable than my website business! It is all about the people the
run the business!

Linda McMurray G.G., A.J.P. (GIA)
Best Cut Gems


Thanks for the input. I had not heard about 1000 Markets. I
certainly like the more professional, less cluttered look about it. I
will investigate it further.

I have also had emails from others, off line, about their experience
with etsy and artfire and ruby lane - thanks everyone

My husband last night told me - “Shouldn’t this be fun right now?
why are you stressing about selling”?

What a bonk on the side of my head.

I should just have fun making stuff right now, expanding my skills.
Then in October and I can get a small table at the club’s annual rock
event. After that I can decide to sell on line, work with some local
shops or just do a few of the rock shows in the area.

Then he followed up with “This does not have to pay for it’s self -



I couldn’t agree more.

If any of you ever decide to take the time to visit my Etsy store,
be sure to read my warranty. It’s easy to find, at the bottom of my
shop description. It’s gotten me more referrals and return business
than anything else.

The internet is a mixed bag. But it’s not all crooks, or even mostly

I’ve bought a number of things on Etsy and had no problems. (Ebay is
another story, but who carese It’s not designed for handcrafted work
anyway, just re-sell.)

Lindsay Legler