Sunday, April 13, 2014

JewelMint Subscription Box Review - Oia Jules Collection

Buyer Beware - a purchase subscribes you!
My iPhone is being so annoying. One of the recent OS updates coincided with a loss in up-close focusing. However, I also drop, throw, and dribble my phone on an hourly basis, so it's probably not fair to solely blame the software. That's a long way of saying sorry for the focus issues - I need to upgrade my camera!

JewelMint recently offered a special Collective Style Surprise box for Oia Jules (designer Elizabeth Shricker)  Although overall the pieces on JewelMint don't sing to my soul, the Oia Jules pieces I found online sparked my interest. I saw expensive looking jewelry consisting mostly of chunky chains and beautiful agates and druzies. The mystery box cost $29.99 and promised 3 mystery pieces worth over $100.

First of all, I found the JewelMint site confusing, as are several of these subscription sites. I don't think it's obvious that you are automatically signing up for the subscription service when making this one-time purchase until after the fact. That should be very clear prior to any charges. It wasn't until I saw $29.99 in "credit" on my account and reviewed fine print in a confirmation email that I realized I was going to be charged monthly and expected to spend that money on one of the following websites: IntiMint, StyleMint, ShoeMint or JewelMint.

There is no easy or simple way to unsubscribe via the website. I'm not cool with the fact that they hold credit card info hostage simply because you've made a purchase through their site. That being said, once I found an email address ( and requested the end to my subscription, it was cancelled within 2 days.

Onto the box. It shipped quickly. I ordered it March17th, received a shipping notification on the 27th, and it arrived on the 29th. Yes, this review is behind!
Love this matte box - the packaging was higher quality than one of the pieces!
The packaging was great - a high quality matte box packed tightly with foam, which will be reused for gift wrapping at some point. As promised, three pieces were inside - two bracelets and a necklace. Although perhaps not the ones I would have chosen, they were very similar to pieces I found on the Oia Jules site.
First Impression
What does a little birdie say?
This silver bracelet actually cheapened the box for me. In fact, I don't think I originally gave the other pieces enough credit because this was the first one I picked up.

This is so light it has to be entirely made of plastic. Silver-plated plastic is still plastic. Ok, maybe it's tin. With super-shiny "silver" and an iridescent "jewel," at least it is eye-catching. I like the size of the links and I will get some wear out of it, but if someone wanted a closer look I would have to resist the urge to self-consciously pull my hand back. As Cher Horowitz would say, "It's a total Monet."

I found a gold version on JewelMint called "Chunky Opalite Bracelet" for $35. Opalite is nothing like Opal. You've been warned. There are some similar bracelets made with agate and druzy that look rather beautiful, but I'm gun-shy after seeing this one.
Leather wrap bracelet
I have had such an issue getting wrap bracelets to fit properly, and I love that this piece is fully adjustable and can be wrapped tightly. A gold leather band supports a large green agate. At least I think it's real (dyed?) stone; the first piece has me questioning everything. I gave this a test drive the day I got it and received compliments. This is different than anything I own, which is the benefit of ordering these surprise boxes. Expanding horizons and all that. There are several similar bracelets online I'm interested in, each of which runs about $44.
Holy Mole-y
Although I haven't worn it out yet, I like this necklace, which feels like the highest quality piece in the box. A neutrally striated agate is offset on a pretty gold chain. If this had been shipped solo, my opinion of its value would likely be even higher. It's refined and interesting. Ironically (or perhaps fittingly), the classiest piece in the box will probably get the least use from me. I couldn't find this online, but somewhat similar necklaces cost around $52. 

According to my research, the MSRP value is $35 + $44 + $52 = $131. Hmm, ok. I paid about $30 for this box, and it felt like a fair price to me. I could be convinced of a $70 value ($5, $25 and $40 respectively), but not over $100. Material-wise, there is room for some improvement, at least in the lower-end pieces. Admittedly, as I've had these, they have definitely grown on me. So, overall I'm still happy with the cost of the box. 

Takeaway? I think I'm over JewelMint. I don't appreciate or fully understand their membership service, which needs better explanation. On the other hand, it was successful in that it introduced me to a new designer who is showing some originality. In fact, I'm tempted to pick up a few more Oia Jules pieces. The designs are pretty, and this jewelry stands out in the sea of glass statement necklaces filling every store right now. 

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