Buying Poor Quality Jewellery Online

poor quality jewellery online example ring

Buying poor quality jewellery online – it could happen to anyone…

Once upon a time there was a guy called John and he was in love with Jane. John wanted to propose to Jane and came across an add from a company on Instagram called African Alps (not the real name). This company advertised beautiful engagement rings that Jane had seen before (and mentioned to John). Before planning his surprise proposal, John jumped on their website and ordered a 9ct rose gold moissanite & diamond engagement ring. Once the ring arrived, John organized the surprise proposal and Jane said YES!

Unfortunately, it was the wrong size and instead of sending it back to African Alps for a resize, Jane contacted us at SJ Gems to see if we could do it for her.

When we inspected the ring, we were shocked to see how poor the workmanship was and told Jane that if we worked on this ring, the diamonds would all pop out. We told Jane that it wasn’t a handmade ring and that it should never have been sold as an engagement ring in the first place, given how extremely delicate the ring was.

The ring that Jane brought to SJ Gems, could only be worn once or twice a week at best. How did we know this? It was the way in which the diamonds were set and the lack of weight (ie gold!) in the ring.

Armed with this knowledge, Jane eventually got her money back from Africa Alps. Without missing a beat, Jane and John teamed up with SJ Gems on designing a new engagement ring. The new ring was completely bespoke to the two of them, was going to last the rest of their lives and was a visual delight!

Anything you plan to wear forever should be created with meticulous attention to detail. Side diamonds must match for colour and be evenly set. Beware of mass-produced rings which may be identified by hollowed foundations, poor casting and porosity. These rings are not as expensive up front, but they will break down over time resulting in higher repair costs.

What signs should you look for when buying jewellery?

We have put together some of the tell-tale signs of poorly crafted jewellery. They are easy to spot and will ensure that you spend your money wisely. With better knowledge, you can avoid buying poor quality jewellery online.

Miss-matched Diamonds

Often the side diamonds in engagement rings have only limited brilliance and vary in size, colour, and clarity which reduces the overall quality. Using a 10x diamond loop, it is easy to spot them! Look for mismatched sizes and poor or uneven mounting.

close up of poorly calibrated diamonds

Channel Set Quality

If the diamonds are set unevenly or with gaps, they may fall out or rub together and chip. When choosing a ring with channel-set diamonds, look for the precision in the setting to make sure you are getting a quality engagement ring. The channel settings from many “chain” jewellers are poor quality with uneven and sometimes very thin channel settings, making for diamonds that are set unevenly or with gaps. You want to make sure you are avoiding these types of products.

Polish & Finish

It is vital to have an engagement ring that does not have a porosity problem because that ring will break down over time and will not last a lifetime. Porosity refers to little surface holes that get worse as you go further into the metal. You do not want rough spots in the metal either. You want a smooth, lustrous, high polished finish to the metal.

example of poorly polished ring


Porosity makes an engagement ring brittle and is non-repairable. A ring showing rough casting spots and little bubbles in the metal is porous. It is usually the result of mass-producing rings with little quality control. Poor casting, over “cooking”, under “cooking” and improperly mixed metal alloys cause porosity.

close up of crack in engagement ring claw

Engagement Ring Quality Really Counts

Good quality materials, workmanship and diamonds do come at a certain cost. If you don’t have the budget for what you are asking, it is always our advice to not compromise on quality, but to bring back your expectations a little in order to maintain that quality.

What we see in rings such as those pictured above, is pretty appalling stuff. To say nothing of how upset the person who bought this ring was once they discovered all its problems. Unfortunately, we see rings such as this all too often. Quality really counts, especially engagement ring quality. After all, this ring will be worn day in, day out, for your lifetime. If it is properly made, with good quality materials and great diamonds, it can be passed down for generations to come.

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