Site Review | Professional Jeweler

March 8, 1999
Opals International Jewelers

Opals are the primary subject of a Web site sponsored by Opal International Jewelers Inc. The site is directed toward consumers but also contains useful information for retail jewelers.

OIJI identifies itself as a custom cutting house and wholesale opal, gem and jewelry repair service for thousands of U.S. retailers and designers. They also have a retail store in Bethany, OK. The "Showroom" section displays photos of a portion of the company's large selection of opal and gemstone jewelry, including "thousands of trademarked designs," available for retail sale. OIJI also supplies calibrated opals for repairs, custom opals for designer pieces, replacement custom-cut opals and fine opal jewelry to retail jewelers. Instructions are provided on how first-time jewelers/designers can obtain merchandise, both through traditional means and via the Internet.

One segment, the "Story of Opals," provides interesting information for both consumers and retailers on the preservation and handling of opals, the types of opals available with descriptions, and evaluating and purchasing opals. There's a page on opal trivia, and even a recipe for an opal cocktail (gin, Triple Sec, orange juice and bitters).

The site also includes a varied conglomeration of links to other businesses, mostly in Oklahoma, which are obviously friends of the company's owners. None of the other sites has anything to do with the jewelry industry – they cover such varied topics as wheels, horse racing silks and tack, and collectible dools. One intriguing link is to the Watermelon Site, a page of watermelon trivia!

Technically speaking: Some links are difficult to read on secondary pages where they're programmed in dark pink text against a black background (a Web design no-no!). Photos of the jewelry range from pretty good quality to dark and blurry, but they can all be viewed in larger sizes. Because the pages use just text and low-res images, however, they load quickly, making the site easy to use.

- by Jack Heeger