A few weeks ago, one of my fellow WalletPop posters argued that one should never purchase jewelry online.
I respectfully disagree. Over the last few years, I've bought pearls, opals, and a fairly large number of set and unset gems from sellers on eBay. I've never been really disappointed; even my less-than-stellar purchases have been a lot of fun and provided me with interesting and unique gifts. As with anything else, it is important to be careful when purchasing from strangers, but if you follow a few simple rules, you can get some fantastic deals on the internet. Best of all, the selection is far beyond what even your most extravagant local jeweler will carry, and is available at a fraction of the cost.