EBay is expanding its Authenticate program to include luxury jewelry, hoping to build consumer confidence in the diamonds and gemstones sold on the site.
As with its Authenticate program for watches, the online market isn’t verifying each item that’s offered for sale. It’s giving its stamp of approval to listings from certain top-rated sellers.
Currently, 20 sellers, representing 45,000 items, have been selected for the invitation-only program. They will all get “authenticity verified” marks next to their listings of diamonds and gemstones accompanied by grading reports.
To keep up standards in the program, eBay plans to do “random checks and virtual auditing,” says James Hendy, senior director of eBay Authenticate. “We will work with the laboratories to provide a vetting process. Most of the sellers have been on eBay 10-plus years, so it’s more of validation for them, and then we’re limiting it to items they have certification for.”
With more sites like TheRealReal and TrueFacet selling “certified pre-owned” luxury goods, eBay sees this as a way to keep up with the competition.
“The landscape is constantly changing,” says Hendy. “We need to enable the consumer to have a more secure experience.”
He says the site hopes to eventually provide a way to authenticate each individual watch or jewelry piece for sale.
In addition, eBay is offering a new twist on consumer-to-consumer luxury watch sales. Starting next year, when consumers list their used watches on eBay, they will get an instant offer from a third party that specializes in timepieces. If the consumer accepts the offer, they can ship the item to that third party, who will release payment only after the item has been inspected and authenticated.
As things stand now, “if you are a [consumer] seller and you are listing your Rolex, and you don’t have a higher seller rating, it makes it very hard for you,” says Hendy. “[With the new program], there’s less friction in the selling flow. It makes it easy to liquidate a watch.”
Currently, eBay sells 50,000 jewelry items each day, or more than 2,000 an hour. It also sells one diamond ring per minute.
The Authenticate program is currently open to handbags, watches, jewelry, and collectibles. The authenticated jewelry listings can be seen here.
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