Etsy is making alot of changes to their site, DO NOT TRUST THEM.
Read the reviews!
There is in fact no protection from etsy. if it comes to very high price items I simply would not recommend any online purchase. in fact also etsy. - In case you still want to go for it - contacting the seller slows down the process but is giving you a picture whom you are dealing with. - As far as I am concerned, I will never again use Etsy.
I was a seller on Etsy, selling custom made formal dresses, we are trying to provide best experience for every customer. dresses are shipped from China, high quality made, you should see the reviews of a shop, before you order it.
Obviously I can only answer for the shops I worked with. I had 11 transactions all jewelry. I had lost my costume jewelry and needed to replace some of it. I had 11 transactions altogether. All but one where excellent people to work with. I purchased things from the US, Germany, Australia and Great Britain. There were two delays and the shop owners notified me immediately that there would be a delay which was fine and in the end I got all 10 of the items I wanted. The other shop StefelnyhStanyer did not reply in any way and I had no idea whether the sale had gone through - nothing heard from for well over a week. I finally wrote her and told her how I felt that she wasn't being either responsible or professional. ETSY contacted her and she responded in a matter of hours. She took such umbrage to my comments that she refused to sell me the item and in time I finally got my money back. Otherwise every person was indeed responsible and professional and the items were all just exactly as advertised and beautiful. I would not hesitate to recommend using ETSY for your jewelry purchases. I did not use PayPal but dealt directly with all the shop owners.
Ask questions of the seller you're interested in buying from. Check their feedback. See how long they've been a seller on the site. Longer the better, and always always use PayPal. If anything goes wrong and they don't meet your expectations then you get your money back, period. There are a lot of reputable sellers with pretty awesome handmade items. Just do your research.
I can only speak to the items I've purchased so far...dresses from China...Each purchase went very well, the products exactly as described & I was able to communicate with each seller FIRST if I chose and they communicated very quickly. The delivery and packaging of my items were more than acceptable..as I can only speak to these items , I highly recommend..& I will be purchasing again