More and more shoppers are buying their jewelry online, but shopping online poses its own unique challenges. Are the pictures you're seeing online of the actual piece you're purchasing? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is most often no. It's more than likely that you're looking at a computerized rendering of the piece rather than an actual picture or video, which can make online jewelry shopping challenging to say the least.

Read on to learn about some of the potential pitfalls of online jewelry shopping that relies on computer renderings, and how we work to avoid them.

Creating Custom Jewelry Online

Online jewelry stores excel at giving you the experience of building your own piece of custom jewelry. This is especially popular with engagement rings. You can browse thousands of settings, and once you’ve found the perfect one, you can browse thousands of diamonds and gemstones to use in that setting.

Sounds too good to be true? On some levels it is.

In order for this experience to work the website has to use computerized renderings of the settings, diamonds, and gemstones. When your custom piece comes together on the monitor, what you’re seeing is an idealized version of the final product.

The problem is that the final product can vary widely from the computerized rendering you were shown before you hit purchase.

The main reason for this is that diamonds and gemstones vary widely in carat, color, cut, and clarity. Only the best of the best gemstones are going to look similar to the computerized rendering you saw online (and you can expect to pay a premium for these rare gemstones).

But does it really matter? After over 30 years of experience crafting custom jewelry, our answer is a resounding YES!

Real World Example

Imagine you and your fiancé decide to get engaged, so you excitedly hop online and start building a custom engagement ring; the ring she’ll wear the rest of her life.

You decide on a traditional diamond solitaire in a white gold setting. While shopping you realize that in order to get the size of diamond you’d like and keep to your budget you’re going to have to choose a diamond with lower color and clarity. It seems like a reasonable compromise, and the online rendering didn't change when you altered the stone, so no harm no foul, right? I mean, have you ever seen a diamond you didn’t like?

You place the order and wait anxiously for your custom engagement ring to be delivered, all the while planning the perfect proposal.

When the ring finally arrives you can tell something is off, but you’re not sure exactly what. The diamond looks off white, maybe you’d even say yellowish.

You also notice that the diamond you chose doesn’t have the kind of fire and sparkle you saw on their website. If you’re being completely honest with yourself, it’s not even close.

You decide that maybe this is just what jewelry looks like in person and you proceed with the proposal. She says yes and you start planning the big day.

As the days go by you start wondering if you chose the right engagement ring. You start racking your brain trying to remember what the return policy is for that online store. Did I even look at the return policy when I bought it? Should we send it back? Am I going to regret this purchase for the rest of my life? I know my finance would be so disappointed to have to send her new engagement ring back and have to wait for a new one.

This all seemed to be going so well. Where did it all go wrong?

Pictures vs. Renderings

All of this could have been avoided had you seen the actual piece before you bought it. You would have noticed that the ring didn’t look quite the way you had hoped.

But you’re shopping online. You can’t see the actual piece in person.

The next best thing to seeing the piece in person is pictures and videos of the piece. When you’re shopping online pictures and videos of the actual piece is, without question, the best way to know for sure what you’re actually buying.

It’s not that renderings aren’t convenient or useful. We create renderings of the custom pieces we make so customers can get an idea of what the final piece will look like.

However, we don't use renderings as a sales tool. Instead, all of the pictures and videos on our website are of actual jewelry.

We feel strongly that it is in the best interest of the customer to see actual pictures and videos of our jewelry so they can make the most informed decision. Our goal is your complete satisfaction with a high quality piece of jewelry.

As for custom jewelry, we have three full-time jewelers on staff ready to make the perfect custom piece for your special connection. If you can dream it, we can create it.

The quality, craftsmanship, warranty, and customer service you get when you shop with Park City jewelers is second to none. Shop online or in-store today.