I agree with BardStuff on this one. When creating a website, you must ask yourself 2 important strategic questions.
- How will the website serve my company`s needs?
- How will the website serve my customers` needs?
I would guess that YOUR need is to promote and sell your jewelry. And your CUSTOMERs` needs would be to find more info about your jewelry and buy it. The "outside of the box" thinking would be best directed toward your products. (and some good grassroots marketing)
There`s now been over 10 years of testing, experimentation, and examination of what works best for websites. (it even has a name, "usability") Website visitors are accustomed to certain standards on a website (web conventions).
Some common web conventions include:
- Logo in the top left corner that links back to the home page
- Navigation along the top or left.
- Blue underlined links (although many sites break this rule..including this one)
Think of a designing a car...would you want to put the steering wheel on the roof...and use buttons on the console for the brake and accelerator? The car could get 100 miles to the gallon, have a full spectrum of comfort and safety features, but if it`s too unfamiliar to drive...it probably won`t sell. Think of your website this way.
Now there definitely could..and will be..changes, upgrades, and adaptations to "web conventions" and what users expect to see. The question is whether you want to attempt to create these yourself...or whether you should use the best conventions currently available to get your products sold.
You can use branding to differentiate your company, which does include look and feel. However, in my opinion, the most important aspect of branding on a website is making it as EASY as possible for your visitors to "do what they came there to do". I always refer back to some of the most successful e-commerce sites out there...Amazon.com, eBay.com, Overstock.com..
Look at how these sites present information and learn from them. They`ve spent a lot of money testing how users behave on their websites. Check out http://www.uie.com/ if you get a chance...they dedicate a whole site to what works best on websites.
Best of luck to you!