A funny thing happens to us, oh a few times a week. Our social team’s photos are so mesmerizing, so breathtaking, and so popular on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, that they tend to spread. And not always with attribution. It’s frustrating to our wonderful photographers, on a creative basis – a lot more goes into those #ringpics than meets the eye! And we do tend to watermark our photos, because as one of our favorite Instagrammers says, you can’t get upset when people steal your photos if you don’t watermark. We get that. But it’s unfortunate that we need to “ruin” a gorgeous shot with an image because some accounts just don’t believe in crediting the original source. (We love the accounts that do!)
But as annoying as it is to have someone pass off your intellectual property as their own, it’s extremely frustrating that they’re misrepresenting our merchandise as their own. Especially our handcrafted designs by our main man with the magic hands Al Aletto. It’s not fair to the clients who might actually want to buy those rings – not just double tap some more engagement ring eye candy. And we aren’t the only ones who have our ring images stolen on a regular basis, so there’s a widespread issue of jewelers passing other people’s inventory as their own.
The person who gets screwed here is often the customer. If a serious shopper sees THE ring on Instagram – but on the wrong account – they can reach out to the jeweler. The jeweler may try to sell them something similar (anyone who’s shopped for a very particular design before understands that similar just won’t cut it when it comes to a ring they’ll be wearing for, oh, the rest of their life.) Or they’ll try to source the ring for them.
Now, sourcing diamonds is totally normal, every jeweler should do it. If we don’t have the exact stone that’s perfect for a customer, we’re always happy to reach out to diamond dealers to find one that’s just right. However, now we’ve added another person to this transaction. So the jewelers who have a “share first, shop later” policy are acting as middle men – with finders fees – for rings they never owned or had any intention of sourcing.
The online engagement ring business is booming, because it’s the easiest way to buy a diamond. Shopping for diamonds online is fantastic, gives you the most options, and is 99.9% guaranteed to save you money. But you need to beware of jewelers who insist the savings come from them holding NO inventory. There are a few notable exceptions to this rule, and of course it makes sense that a business with no overhead can offer you steeper discounts. But how can you trust an “expert opinion” or “quality guarantee” on diamonds said expert has never even seen? There’s only one way to make sure you’re not getting screwed in a retail experience like that, and it has little to do with the jeweler and everything to do with the grading lab behind “their” diamonds.
So, how do you sort the real deal online-only jewelers from Instascammers? You can use our handy acronym, L.O.V.E.:
- Longevity: Decades of happy customers don’t lie.
- Open Communication: Do they call you back? Facebook you? Text you? Direct message you videos of rings on Instagram when you request?
- Verifiable: Do they have Yelp & eBay reviews? Will they show you proof of a diamond’s certification?
- Easy Returns: Clearly stated, black and white, simple for you in case you or she doesn’t like the ring. Easy exchanges too if you want to try option B.
But before you even start researching the jeweler, you can take a look at their account. Do their styles of photos vary wildly? Are some shot indoors, others in natural light, some with crazy filters, some in different color and sized ring boxes? Are they all extremely blurry or edited within an inch of their life to crop out watermarks? Is every.single.pic. on the popular page of Pinterest? That’s a red flag. Sometimes our ring pics go viral, but not all of them. Check out their website – do they have actual listings of the rings you’ve seen on their social accounts? With pricing? Will they answer “Yes” to “Can I buy this exact ring?” Easy ways to spot someone who’s been doing more borrowing that diamond buying.