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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

FROM THE SUBLIME TO THE RIDICULOUS: SHERMAN BRACELET PRICES!

Okay, in my last post I raved on a bit about the incredibly high prices being asked and being paid for Sherman jewelry lately, especially when the jewelry is a bracelet. I also suggested that just maybe sellers are getting a bit greedy and trying to capitalize on this rush to acquire Shermans. I need to make one thing clear in case any of my fellow associates thought I was pointing a finger at them: I wasn't. I know, one in particular, is selling off an estate on consignment. So her prices are what the person she is selling for wants to get. That's just fine by me. And let me just add, that both the seller and owner are doing fantastically with their sales. This owner certainly has a collection to die for.

So now that's out of the way, let me address the rest: the ones I believe are jumping on the band wagon and looking to score bigtime, like the person selling the bracelet shown in the photo above. It's a gorgeous bracelet, and Sherman bracelets being as hard to get as they are, most of us would jump at this one, especially since it's 6-row piece and hence wide, even more desirable.

But, and it's a big BUT, this seller has simply shown a few small photos and in his/her description states nothing more than "I'll let the pictures do the talking". Well, for starters, if the photos were terrific, like the ones in OUR SHOP AT RUBY LANE, where you see 9 photos of a piece from various angles, front and back, and super close-up, the pictures might indeed do the talking. But even then, a seller asking a lot for a piece owes the buyers a bit more than just good photos. They need to really tell the buyer about the piece and disclose any issues that might impact on the purchaser's decision to buy.

So what might have happened here if a buyer hadn't asked a few questions? Someone might just have paid the starting price of $4000!! Yes, you read right: this seller is asking $4000 for this bracelet! So, big deal you say: folks are paying in the thousands now for Sherman bracelets. Yeah, sure they are for those rare as hen's teeth rigid cuff bracelets in popular colors (such as my aforementioned colleague is selling!) But not for the very much more common regular blue Sherman bracelets. Those go for between $200 - $300!

But there's more. When an interested buyer asked this seller for more information i.e. how about some dimensions, e.g. width, length, any missing stones etc. that's when we found out what the pictures didn't tell us: there are 4 small stones missing, 2 on either side. 'Scuse me? You're asking $4000 for a Sherman bracelet with missing stones yet? Did I say something about sellers becoming greedy? How about being dishonest too. Yes, he/she answered the question and thankfully posted the reply, but not disclosing that information to start with is just a tad deceitful don't you agree? Just imagine the disappointment and anger a buyer would feel if they were foolish enough to pay the opening price only to find missing stones! ARRRRGGGHHH! That kind of thing makes me mad and it happens far too often when folks don't make informed purchases and don't query the seller.

In this case, there's one more thing that most of us who do shop on ebay would look at besides the price and the item: the seller's feedback. Guess what? This seller has ZERO feedback! Again, sure, all sellers start with zero feedback if they've never bought or sold on ebay before (though most buy up for a while to establish their good reputations). But when you look at this seller's other listings (there are only 4 of them), three of them have thousand dollar price-tags. Now this seller could be 100% honest and well-intended, but all their descriptions are one-liners with little information and big asking prices. Methinks this seller needs some basic training in how to sell honestly and well before some angry ebay buyer comes down on him/her like a ton of bricks. Of course, odds are he/she won't sell anything either. Buyers are leery of new sellers asking massive dollars.

That's my rant for this week ... except to remind you where you can find Sherman jewelry at affordable prices from an honest seller: SHERMAN JEWELLERY SHOWCASE and VINTAGE JEWELRY SHOWCASE at RUBY LANE.

12 comments:

CRUISEROO said...

I guess someone must have told the seller mentioned in that post about this blog as the very next day he changed his opening price to a more reasonable $175. Worth going for this one if you are able to fix it. Glad the blog helped the seller too.

Anonymous said...

This looks and feels a bit like you are bullying and bashing another sellers, their stuff and photos and then you are pointing with HTML links to your own shop, your greater honesty and fairness and your more numerous and better photos... sound holier than thou.

Your website has an unsigned rhinestone bracelet for sale for $400? bit grabby yourself...

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous above. How about we let the free market decide what it is willing to pay. Your comments are somewhat disparaging!

CRUISEROO said...

Thanks for commenting even if you only have enough courage to hide your identity behind anonymity. At least this "holier than thou" blogger who studies the market consistently and reports honestly what she sees isn't afraid to identify who's making the observations.

As this is my blog, and yes, it's designed to drive traffic to my site (as most sellers' blogs are) I have every right to post html links to my items.

Apart from being a means to promote my own items, my blog is aimed at helping new Sherman buyers make informed decisions about what they are buying. When I was new at collecting, I made mistakes time and again, paying too much for pieces that I later found I couldn't re-sell for half what I paid. So I report the facts about items I see being listed. I have stated no untruths about the ad in question. The seller was asking a very high price for a Sherman piece that isn't in top condition and gave no description. Anyone considering paying $4000 for a piece of jewelry deserves a bit more than that. I stand by my conviction. This is not bullying or bashing other sellers. The very fact that the seller has now dropped the opening price to a much more realistic figure means the seller will sell it and the buyer will get good value, as long as they can do the repairs. So the post is actually good for both seller and buyer. Actually, the seller should thank me for publicizing his/her piece and driving buyers to his/her auction! Now at least the bracelet will be sold LOL!

As for my website having an unsigned rhinestone bracelet for sale for $400, kindly tell me which one? I can't find it!

Why do I get the feeling that both anonymous posts are by one and the same person? Well even if they aren't, yes, I agree on letting the free market decide what it wants to pay. But, sadly, it's just this kind of thinking that makes so many online buyers unhappy with their purchases when the seller doesn't disclose all the facts. If I'm selling and the piece is damaged in some way, even just scratches to the AB finish, I state that and my price will reflect it. That's why I have a repeat Sherman buyer who tells me she's never worried about what she buys from me as she knows the piece she's getting will be exactly what I stated, good and bad. That hasn't been her experience with other sellers and returning goods is costly & annoying.

So mine isn't a "holier than thou" attitude. This is full disclosure and buyers deserve that degree of honesty so they can then freely decide if they want to pay the price. Why do people buy Consumer Report magazines? They want to be informed before they cough up their hard-earned dollars.

I stand by my convictions and am not afraid to let readers know who made the statements. You'd do well to do the same if you come back to post again or I'll simply delete your comments. Thanks for your time.

Anonymous said...

oh hi, its me again, the first anonymous responder.

Listen, you are probably a nice person but do you really think that you are getting the message across that you are trying to help people with this blog by driving traffic to your site and at the same time with name calling and the comments you wrote like:

"sellers are getting a bit greedy and trying to capitalize"

"I need to make one thing clear in case any of my fellow associates thought I was pointing a finger at them: I wasn't." > then you immediately point a finger at a particular seller <
"the ones I believe are jumping on the band wagon and looking to score bigtime, like the person selling the bracelet shown in the photo above."

"common regular blue Sherman bracelets."

"'Scuse me? You're asking $4000 for a Sherman bracelet with missing stones"

"Did I say something about sellers becoming greedy? How about being dishonest too."

"not disclosing that information to start with is just a tad deceitful"

"This seller has ZERO feedback!"

"this seller's other listings (there are only 4 of them), three of them have thousand dollar price-tags."

"Methinks this seller needs some basic training in how to sell honestly"

"Of course, odds are he/she won't sell anything either."

So, I picked one of the supplied identity options on "your blog" - anonymous. Not anonymous/cowardly. Cowardly is a negative tag you are applying to the identity choice and is an association made by you.

If you really don't want anonymous comments then perhaps change your site so anonymous is not a choice or a selection that is permitted.

The unsigned red bracelet for $400 is still on your website. Everyone learns they go. Hopefully our teachers are charitable too.

Sincerely,
Anonymous

CRUISEROO said...

Okay, this is the last time I'll respond to this. Thanks for commenting again, and you have rightly pointed out that if I don't want anonymous comments I should change my settings. Good point.

You're right: I am a nice person but this nice person has been ripped off one too many times by sellers not disclosing the truth about what they are selling. That's why I feel a need to alert others who might be new to the game and will get burned if they don't know what to look for, eg.. zero feedback is a good reason to tread cautiously when the price tag on what someone is selling is very high. Yes, all sellers start with zero feedback but not all sellers are selling $1000 items. This is just cautioning readers to use common sense and ask questions, as one buyer thankfully did of the seller of the bracelet in question. If she hadn't done so, buyers would not have known 4 stones were missing. THIS FACT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DISCLOSED IN THE DESCRIPTION! The good thing is the seller posted his/her reply. The bad thing is many people miss these questions/answers. I have. So when the seller went in and changed the opening bid price and was able to alter the description to say "Part of a family estate. Obviously from my previous asking price was way out of line. Hopefully Ive changed that to a reasonable amount. I think its a very nice piece" this was the chance for the seller to rectify the oversight (or whatever it was) and mention of the missing stones. But again the seller chose not to put that in the description. Need I say more?

We could go on and on here but I don't have time for it. This seller got a fair and appropriate dollar for this item in the end. It was nice of him/her to include shipping.

There is no "name calling" in my blog. Throughout the blog I have stated facts. I didn't make these up. But of course, most blogs are personal opinion and I'm entitled to mine. I am incredulous at what people are paying for Sherman bracelets (mainly the cuff bracelets). Nor have I ever seen so many Sherman bracelets being listed on ebay as there has been in the past few months. This tells me that sellers see a great market for these bracelets. Good for them. I'd do the same. But I'd still be reasonable in my asking price. $4000 as an opening bid on a bracelet missing 4 stones is not a reasonable asking price. That's why this piece was singled out. Given it sold for $177, when a similar one missing no stones, sold earlier in the day for $210, that indicates how out of line that original price was. And if you know enough about Sherman, you also know that while pretty, blue is not the most in demand color in Sherman as it's not that rare.

And that brings me to the unsigned red Sherman bracelet on my site that comes with a price tag of $400. I located the one you mean. That is an unsigned, but definitely Sherman bracelet, identifiable by its construction and history. Secondly it is being sold as a set, with signed Sherman earrings. Thirdly, it's in the most demanded color of Sherman: Siam red. Fourthly, it has the rare, also in demand backing on Sherman jewelry: it's japanned (black) and finally, something you missed or failed to mention, the price is $275 USD, only $100 obove the altered opening bid for the blue bracelet on ebay.

That $400 you honed in on was the exchange rate at the time it was posted. My prices are in USD but if a Canadian buyer wants a piece, I honor the exchange rate of that day. So this bracelet would today be $321 CAD. If the buyer is Canadian, I would adjust the price at time of enquiry and yes, I need to update that on my site. But with currency fluctuations, I'd have to go in there daily, not always possible. Again, thanks for pointing it out as I'll now post a rider on the site saying prices are in USD and Canadian price is whatever the daily exchange is at time of purchase. You see: it's not a bad thing at all that someone point out such things if it alerts the seller and brings about a correction.

So, again, on that "unsigned rhinestone bracelet for $400" and the suggestion that I'm being greedy myself, let's not mix currencies: when signed Sherman bracelets in Siam red with japan backing usually go for over $500 USD, asking $275 USD for an unsigned Sherman Siam red bracelet + earring set is very reasonable. Asking $4000 for a blue bracelet with 4 missing stones is not. Case closed.

In summation, anonymous, are you the seller of this bracelet? To quote Shakespeare, "methinks you protest too much". It's time to let it be.

robby said...

You do a lot of typing in your blog. If you used the least amount of words, you probably get your point across. Having said that, it seems to me the more you "yap" about things shows me that your in the business of trying to be right all the time.

CRUISEROO said...

The regular followers of this blog don't have that complaint. "Yapping" isn't a sign of trying to be right all the time. I just happen to be garrulous LOL!

It seems to me that only the folks lending support to "anonymous" have a problem with my blog and now you're really trying to knock me down. But I still control what gets published on this blog and what doesn't. That said, I'm not afraid to publish your critical comments which are now an unveiled attempt to bash me back. Hope it makes you all feel better but it doesn't change my mind about anything I've written on this subject, right or wrong. So you all may as well give it up. I will not publish any more negative comments made by anonymous and friends so don't waste your time. Too much time has been wasted on this subject already.

Deb said...

Just had to add my own comment to this post and subsequent discussion and just for the record, I'm not ashamed to show my name and photo with it.

I have been collecting Sherman jewelry for many years and would have been LIVID to have paid for a piece only to find that it was damaged upon arrival. Not disclosing that there are missing stones is IRRESPONSIBLE for any seller.

We buyers must depend on accurate descriptions which includes chips, scratches, wear to plating, missing stones, missing safety chains, replaced stones, etc. - all of which affect the value. When shopping online, we do not have the benefit of inspecting the piece ourselves before purchasing and a conscientious seller will take the time to include many clear photos along with a VERY detailed description, like you do.

The asking price of $4000 is ridiculous for any flexible Sherman bracelet, I don't care what the color or width is (just for the record, blue is near the bottom of the desirable color list). At this time, only the rigid hinged cuff bracelets can fetch a price anywhere near that and a blue one wouldn't be worth anywhere near $4000 USA, even in excellent condition. I agree with your comment on zero feedback being a concern in this price range and that would apply to any seller or item.

I value the information made available on this blog site, INCLUDING your opinion. Thank you for taking the time to write for us collectors and just for the record, YES, I like the convenience of your store being just a quick click away so I can check out what is new. Thank you for providing the convenient links.

Deb

CRUISEROO said...

Thanks Deb for confirming my reasons for this post and this entire blog. This blog is for buyers and collectors like you. I appreciate your contribution very much.

Anonymous said...

oh hi - its me - the first anonymous again.

Deb's comments are good and thoughtful but anonymous does not = Anonymous and ashamed. I'm not ashamed to show my name either. Some people are just more private -thats all.

The fact that a bracelet is overpriced or misdescribed or undescribed or overvalued is never good.

Funny though - what about the inverse. Some buyers are trying to capatalize. It seems EVERYONE jumps on the undervalued buy it now items. You know - the "buy it nows" that are a quarter of the price.

What about buyers who take swipes on auctions at the last minute to not overinflate the bidding during the auction??? (Keep the price low until the last minute and then strike in the last 5 seconds - there are computer programs you can install to do this!!!) Should we be writing about the accurate value of those items to protect some sellers too? Or do we high five because we scored and the seller lost out BIG TIME! hmmm... interesting ethical questions here.

Is this the issue here???
I don't think so Mon Ami.

What is important here is the name-calling. I might imply that it is a bit undiplomatic. Can we have open minds and all agree not to do that? Lets think about polite computing and manners!

None of us are without fault.

I, like many good people who read this blog, tend to like to keep informed and also to help those who are weak or new (new sellers and buyers).

Profit is not the bottom line...
Deeds and words speak.

Anonymous

CRUISEROO said...

Please see my reply to this comment which has also been left on next blog piece at https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7337736914126144335&postID=146625666985256081