Engagement ring shopping is often the only jewelry buying experience that some people will have in their lifetime. However, this one encounter is not enough to make anyone an expert, as there’s so much more to fine jewelry than just the 4 C’s. If you’re new to the world of fine jewelry, you have a lot to learn. But that’s ok, cause we’re here to help! Before visiting your local jeweler, check out these exclusive tips for how to buy jewelry like a pro!
Avoid Jewelry Chain Stores
Jewelry chain stores are always promising low prices, but at what cost to the customers? For starters, you sacrifice selection. Chain stores often have fewer options than your local jeweler because they seldom carry designer collections other than their own. Many family-owned jewelers like Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers & Jewelry Buyers offer a diverse selection of designer jewelry, both vintage and new. And since many local jewelers also buy jewelry, their inventory is refreshed more often so there’s always something new to discover.
All Gemstones Are Treated
It’s natural for customers to feel hesitant when shopping for fine jewelry. Much like purchasing a new car, the experience can be a bit overwhelming, especially when you’re unfamiliar with industry jargon. For instance, when a jeweler mentions that a gemstone has been “treated,” you may feel compelled to run in the other direction. After all, something that has been treated or altered isn’t worth your time, right? Wrong. Gemstone treatments are actually a fairly common industry practice that have taken place for hundreds of years. In fact, nearly all gemstone jewelry you see in jewelry stores has been treated in some way or another. Before you purchase a gemstone, be sure to ask your jeweler what treatments it has undergone. This could potentially impact the gem’s value should you decide to sell it down the road, so you want to be sure that all key information has been disclosed to you, the buyer.
Bring a Friend Along
If you don’t feel confident shopping on your own, you can always bring a friend that you trust to give you a second opinion. Having a shopping companion is smart for a number of reasons, especially if they’re well versed in jewelry. Not only will a close friend tell you honestly how something looks, they may also be more familiar with the terminology, or have questions ready to ask that you may not have thought of. Plus, having a second set of eyes to peruse the jewelry store ensures you won’t miss any hidden treasures that you might’ve otherwise overlooked.
Designer Brands Will Be Pricier
No matter where you shop, well-known designer names like Tiffany & Co. and Cartier will always be pricier because of the name. Especially when you purchase directly from the source, expect the markup to be outrageous. This is to account for the expensive real estate, pricey advertising campaigns, and high profile events that help these brands maintain their iconic image. The exception, of course, is vintage designer jewelry. When your purchase an item pre-owned, it’s usually much cheaper than if you were to have bought it brand new. In fact, buying vintage is often the way to go if it’s designer names you desire, as you’ll generally pay less for something that has been restored to its original quality.
Be Sure to Budget
The most important consideration when jewelry shopping should be your budget. It’s easy to overspend when you see something sparkly and new that you’re dying to have, but try to resist the temptation. Let your jeweler know up front what your budget is, that way there are no surprises when it comes time to finalize your purchase. Be sure to factor in other costs like having your jewelry resized and insured. These tend to be extra expenses that shoppers forget to plan for.
Protect Your Valuables
Fine jewelry is as valuable as it is beautiful, and therefore should be properly protected. Depending on the cost of your fine jewels, you may want to research jewelry insurance that protects your valuables against things like accidental theft or damage. If you’re a bit accident prone, or are likely to misplace your belongings, jewelry insurance is an excellent option for you. Plans can be extremely affordable, depending on the number of items you have to insure. If you have a large collection, you might consider storing it in a locked safe. Not only will this protect your valuables in the event of theft, but it can also help keep your insurance rates low, as insurers will offer discounts for items that are securely stored.
Ask Your Jeweler
When shopping for fine jewelry, there’s no such thing as asking too many questions. After all, it’s a very big purchase that in some cases, may be final. Keep in mind that your jeweler is there to help you and walk you through every step of the process. If you feel any doubt or uncertainty, don’t be afraid to speak up. And if you don’t feel comfortable, under no circumstances should you feel pressured to go through with a sale.
When it comes time to shop for fine jewelry, confidence is key. If you seem like you know your stuff, you’re less likely to be taken advantage of by salespeople who prey on inexperienced shoppers. But, just like anything, jewelry shopping gets easier with time. And if you follow the insider tips in this article, you’ll feel like an expert in no time at all!