I spend a lot of time at Deals.Woot. It’s an online community of user-submitted online deals, secret sales and coupon codes. Additionally, they have 5 daily sponsored deals at the top. A couple weeks ago, one of those sponsored deals was for a “Sterling Silver Tennis Bracelet With Sparkling Diamond Accents” from Shadora.com. At only $24.99 with free shipping, I ordered one with the intention of giving it as a Christmas gift.
Shipping was quick and I received it in a few days from New York. The product page for the bracelet said it had a suggested retail price of $199.99 and was rhodium-plated sterling silver with diamond accents totaling 0.8 carats. Here’s a picture from Shadora:
Here’s a photo of what I received:
I think it looks pretty similar and it’s what I expected for $25. Of course, not once did I believe nor did I expect to receive something worth $200—that’s just marketing 101 with jacked-up retail prices. The bracelet is really light, lacking the solid weight of higher quality jewelry, but I’m satisfied with it. This isn’t the case with other Wooters who jumped on the deal though. One called it “quarter machine junk” and another stated that it was “pretty much garbage” and that “the diamond chips are hardly distinguishable from the surrounding silver.” I noticed this last point right away; the promoted diamond accents are few and far between and instead of diamond chips, some of the links have flat silver discs instead:
Despite this, I still liked the bracelet and enjoyed the fast, free shipping. I decided to keep checking Shadora.com to see if anything else interesting pops up (their selection changes often) and I saw a gold tennis bracelet for $24.99. Since gold looks better on my skin and I was all of a sudden enamored with the thought of having a tennis bracelet, I bought the “1/8 Carat Diamond Tennis Bracelet in 18K Gold-Plated 925 Sterling Silver.” Here’s the photo they had up on their website:
The only write-up they had for this bracelet was “Frost yourself with some ice” and from the picture, it looked like a basic, pretty bracelet. I also thought from the picture that those stones were solid pieces, either a solid chunk of diamond (or simulated diamond, I didn’t really care at that price) or just pieces of diamond chips bundled together. I received my bracelet today and was really surprised and immediately disappointed. The “diamonds” are mainly just silver balls. It looks really bad and cheap to me and reminds me of balled-up aluminum foil. Here’s a close-up photo in natural light:
Only 13 out of about 44 links (yes, I counted) have a “diamond” chip and it’s tiny with no brilliance or sparkle at all. They look like embedded pieces of kosher salt to me! The entire bracelet itself is not only very light and flimsy feeling, but it hardly has any sparkle or shine. It really is as if you’ve made yourself a bracelet out of aluminum foil.
It should be noted that this bracelet photographs much better than it looks in real life. A camera’s lens is able to pick up more light and under the right conditions, this bracelet almost looks wearable in photographs. Today was one of those very bright, white overcast days and I was surprised to see that my photos hardly looked anything like the bracelet does in real life:
I am really disappointed with this purchase and have done something I rarely do: I asked for a refund! I shop online all the time and more often than not, if something doesn’t fit right or isn’t what I expected, I usually am too lazy to go through the refund and return process. Most of the things I buy online are pretty cheap to being with so it’s no big loss, and others who may have bought a $25 item from Shadora.com may feel the same way, but not me! I can’t believe how bad this bracelet is. It’s like something that would come in a cheap, Chinese-made princess dress-up kit for little girls. I’ve already emailed them requesting an RMA number, which they stated is necessary for returns, and now I’m keeping my fingers crossed hoping that this process goes smoothly. I’ll update this post if anything happens.
Update: Shadora emailed me the next day with the RMA instruction and form and I mailed my bracelet back using recycled packaging so I was out just $5.44 for the return postage. They sent me an email once they received my package, were very professional and understanding, and stated that my refund was processed. I haven’t seen anything in my bank statement yet but I know how these things work and it could take a few days to show up. So far, I’m quite happy with Shadora’s return process.
Update #2: My full refund has posted to my bank account. So the timeline of events:
Ordered on Thursday, November 18th.
Received on Tuesday, November 22nd. Requested RMA Tuesday afternoon via email.
Received RMA and return instructions Wednesday morning, November 23rd. Mailed back package.
(Thursday was Thanksgiving and Friday is typically a non-working day also)
Informed on Monday the 29th that my package was received and my refund was processed.
Saw the credit to my bank account on Tuesday, November 30th.
Conclusion: The refund process was hassle-free. Will I order from Shadora.com again? Maybe. The bottom line is that their prices are really low and there’s a reason for that. Their items are really hit-or-miss and though you can easily return something, bare in mind the cost of returning it such as postage, packaging, and your time.
Update 1/7/2011: I gave Shadora another try when they once again had a sponsored deal up on Deals.Woot. It was for their “2 Carat Blue Topaz Stud Earrings in Sterling Silver or 14K Gold Plated Silver” at $7.99 a pair with free shipping. I chose the gold-plated version. Here’s the picture they had on their website:
I received the earrings a couple days ago and am quite happy with them. They don’t look as blue as they do in that picture above with the center appearing to be a more clear/watery blue which radiates into a deeper blue edge. However, I actually prefer it this way since blue isn’t really my color and I like the subtle blue glow. Here’s a picture of a topaz ring they had up earlier which is more accurate in color to these earrings:
Also, the backings and basket seem very well built and secure. I’ll try to post pictures up soon. (Click here for the full review with photos.) I have a more expensive pair of very sparkly CZ studs that I got from Overstock ages ago and though I love them they hardly get worn because the backing always comes loose!