Everyone, please list your suggestions here. I will compile them in a guide to place on ebay. What to look for, what to avoid~
well I'm brand new here (as a poster)...but I'd say any claims for the pearls being anything other than freshwater, the seller should be able to provide an image of the paperwork proving it (recent appraisal or paperwork from the company it was originally purchased from). I'd also say that any claims of the pearls being worth several hundred dollars should also be accompanied by an image of paperwork proving it. Maybe that's too much though for eBay.
I have purchased a number of strands and earrings from eBayers in china... If you see a 20 or 50 Tahitian strand on eBay, it's not Tahitian it's freshwater. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it's not true. That said, I bought a "Tahitian" strand with14k clasp for $15 and they were freshwater, but surprisingly good quality freshwaters for the money (not freshadamas, but good enough for sale at Macy's for $50). The clasp was actually 14k (acid tested). I gave tem to my secretary for V-day. They matched the AAA black akoyas earrings that i gave her for Chistmas. Those were from The Peal Outlet and made e quite the hero. Guess who covers for me and bakes me cookies?!?!?
You give your secretary valentine's day presents?!
I think the most important thing to look for on ebay is the volume of sales and the satisfaction % . I've bought tons of stuff on ebay and only had about 5 issues..all of which were resolved with one email/pm to the store. I was refunded the money immediately and told to keep the merchandise. I don't work with anyone with less than 99.5 and have never been burned in hundreds of purchases. I think the thing is to also check the negative remarks over the past 12 months..sometimes they are just not legitimate complaints. People order something that is 4mm and then complain that its small. ;(
The problem with going with feedback alone is that lots of buyers of Tahitian black pearls don#t actually know they have been done
This is Pattye's post from the other thread.There are some relatively simple requirements ebay should demand from sellers to start with:
1. all "imitation pearl beads" must be called that in the title. Cannot use South Sea anywhere in title or listing.
2. "Tahitian" cannot be used except when actually a Tahitian pearl. "Tahitian black" cannot be used for freshwater pearls.
I had a listing pulled for some Judith Ripka earrings, because I noted in the title they had "omega backs." The ebay bots picked up on Omega~
It is more difficult to report a listing on ebay now; they used to allow some personal remarks; that has been eliminated.
1.I would tell buyers that if someone uses the phrase "Tahitian Black Pearl" Be very wary they are not just referring to the color. Some actual Tahitians are advertised as "Tahitian Black pearls", but most who list that way are being deceptive and really selling freshwater pearls and using "Tahitian Black" to describe the color.
2.I'd say to be very wary of most akoya pearls on eBay. You really can't see how thick the nacre is in a photo, esp if the photo is a stock photo. Inexpensive akoyas have very thin skins. You can often see the second rate nucleus inside it as you rotate the pearl, it will "blink" on the darker colors in the MoP bead.
I'd say to be wary of most pearls imported from China. They are never the strand seen in the photo, they are always smaller than the advertised size. That is, if they are advertised as 8mm, then you be lucky to get one that size and the rest would be smaller. It is a HUGE hassle to send stuff back to China, if you are disappointed.
Good points Wendy and Morphius. My response was probably more about avoiding being dudded by a seller who refuses to back up his product. That said, I think people should be aware that the term Tahitian and also words like Amethyst, turquoise,emerald are often used to deliberately confuse a description by the seller using it as a colour rather than as the true name of an item. I think ebay should certainly not allow the use of "Tahitian black" pearls to sell dyed black freshwater pearls. And Turquoise, sold by Chinese stores, is most often dyed howlite that is turquoise in colour.
As for the feedback, I certainly admit that its possible to fudge the numbers, but at least with the badge 'good sellers' and thousands of responses you are fairly safe in getting satisfaction if you are unhappy.
I do feel that ebay should crack down on misleading descriptions.
Ah, Caitlin we posted as same time ! Very good point to mention the pearl sizing. Even the more legitimate sellers will often use something like 10mm-11MM in the title and its not till you read the item description at the bottom that they will say the size is 9-10.5 . .... if they even admit it.
Last edited by Katbran; 03-07-2012 at 09:55 PM.
Be wary of the phrase "more than 8 available." This means you are looking at a stock photo and not the piece you will actually buy.
Another tip is to pull up all items offered by the seller and scan their listings for identical photos. Again, it will not be what you receive.
If I see an item that is obviously dyed (like lime green pearls) and that listing does not explicitly say "dyed or color treated," I won't buy anything from that seller. They aren't telling the whole story.
I'd advise buyers to be careful of pearls in "Mikimoto boxes" - I keep seeing empty Miki boxes for sale on ebay! People are paying $20 for them ... so they must have an on-sell context!
I don't know if anyone mentionned, but READ the description carefully and TILL THE END! Also, make sure the return policy is good. Oh yeah, good point Caitlin, IT IS a hassle to send back a item to China unless you know the vendor is reputable. Having a list of reputable Ebay sellers would be great, as I know they exist but tend to be rare. I read some PG people had good buying experience with some of them.
We've purposely avoided making lists of "reputable" sellers and vendors, but anyone can request that we take a look at an ebay seller or online store or at a particular item. In that case, when we've had good buying experiences, we are happy to say so, and also point out potential red flags.
You all are bringing up some great points, please keep them coming!
what to look out for when buying pearls on ebay?
1. is the seller from china? if yes, then high chance the pearls are misrepresented. Freshwater pearls being sold as South Sea or Tahitian Pearls. This happens all the time. Just look at their listings.
2. Suspect grading, selling pearls using made up grading systems to trick people into thinking the pearls are of higher quality than they actually are. You could ask 3 pearl sellers about a grade of a pearl and you could very well get 3 different answers. Often you see pearls listed as AAA, but alot of times they don't even specify what that means. They make you think that "wow this is AAA grade, it must be good".
3. Use of the word "Natural". While the color may be natural, the pearl is cultured. It is misleading the consumer to use the phrase "natural tahitan" or "natural south sea" pearl.
4. Selling shell pearls under the disguise as "South Sea Shell Pearl" or "Tahitian Shell Pearl". The correct term should be just "Shell Pearl". Shell pearls are basically manufactured fake pearls using ground pearl dust.
5. Is the pearl the actual pearl you are going to receive? It is very difficult to take photos of pearls because of their surface luster which is highly reflective. Alot of pearl sellers often resort to using stock photos which really is not representative of what you are buying. Buying a pearl from someone using stock photos is similiar to going on a blind date, you never know what you are going to get until you open the package.
6. Appraisal value...The old piece of paper that says these pearls are worth $10,000, but you can buy them now for $50. Well maybe not that dramatic, but you get the point.