So Instapundit has finally noticed online jewelry. He mentioned that Amazon was starting to sell jewelry online but of course, as a reader mentioned to him, Blue Nile has been doing that for years. What surprised him was that people would buy jewelry without touching or seeing it directly.
As someone who got She Who Is Perfect In All Ways some lovely earings from Blue Nile last year for her birthday, I can provide the explanation. It’s simply that for many of us clueless guys, actually seeing the jewelry wouldn’t help. If it’s really low quality, I could tell but that kind of thing comes through even in web pictures. Any judgement of quality requiring better images is not something I could do anyway, so it’s not much of a loss.
On the other hand, Blue Nile is a website that clearly geared toward clueless guys who want to buy some nice jewelry to give to their Reason For Living. It took me all of about 10 minutes to locate and purchase an appropriate item. SWIPIAW had specified that she was interested in sapphires and earings. Three clicks got me to a page of those. When the earrings arrived, they seemed allright to me but the recipient quite liked them and is still wearing them, which is all I really care about. I doubt I could have done better at a “real” jewelry store and online was far less hassle.
I strongly doubt that online jewelry will replace or even be as big as physical ones because the afficianados will want to see and touch first, but the niche market of clueless guys who need to buy is certainly a big enough niche market for a company to do well.