Amazon isn’t a major player in fine jewelry, and we don’t see it stocking Irene Neuwirth and David Webb—or even more affordable sought-after brands such as Mejuri or AUrate—anytime soon.
But its digital aisles are very much bulging with demi-fine and non-fine jewelry. Type the phrase “14k jewelry” into Amazon’s search bar, and a cornucopia of 14k gold pieces, mainly gold-plated styles, pop up from global manufacturers including Miabella, Pori Jewelers, and Lifetime Jewelry (along with low-cost jewelry retailer Ross-Simons).
Prices are rock-bottom, as expected. A pair of real cultured pearl earrings in a 14k gold setting go for $59 (and are “Prime,” so delivered within two days for members). Genuine 14k yellow gold continuous hoops from Art and Molly start at $24.99 for the 10 mm size.
Some of the trendiest jewelry styles being sold by the world’s biggest retailer—which was valued at $702 billion in January 2019—are from a brand called Pavoi, which according to a 2019 Forbes article is owned by Tal Masica, 30, and Zeke Araki, 31, sons of jewelers who source accessibly priced jewelry from overseas manufacturers. Fine jewelry is a closed category on Amazon, meaning the company vets and chooses its vendors, and Pavoi made the cut early on.
In searches for trendier, lightweight styles—such as stacking rings, huggie hoops, and X rings—the brand always shows up.
I ordered a few Pavoi pieces, including 14k gold–plated huggie earrings with CZ ($13.95) and was impressed by their solid, non-flimsy quality and fine-jewelry look. I ordered the huggies to stand in for a $330 14k white gold and diamond pair I’d purchased last year, but had lost one.
One of the earrings below is Pavoi’s 14k gold-plated huggie (again, priced at $13.95), and the other is a solid 14k white gold-with-diamonds hoop valued at more than $150. Can you tell which is which? To most naked eyes, the differences in the patina of the metals, which is how I can tell them apart, would be all but imperceptible. The mismatched pair can easily be worn together.
With Pavoi and a handful of other stunningly low-priced demi-fine jewelry brands, Amazon is clearly trying to capture the starter fine jewelry buyer. How can brick-and-mortar stores compete? By carrying a wide variety of trendy, affordable jewelry—from fine to demi-fine to costume pieces. Give that 17-year-old with multiple ear piercings a range of studs and mini hoops to play with and buy. And make sure they’re priced to move. She’s chasing a look, not an heirloom.
Top: CZ and 14k gold-plated Pavoi ear crawlers, $12.95 (all jewelry photos courtesy of Amazon)
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