10 Things You Need to Know Before Buying Fine Jewelry

You don’t need to be an expert to know what you like. Armed with a little knowledge, anyone can be successful when buying fine jewelry.

Everyone loves beautiful accessories. Who wouldn’t want a jewelry box full of the real thing? But fine jewelry is more than just pretty. It’s an investment. Whether you’re looking for a birthday gift or one for your 30th anniversary, you want to get it right. The following are ten things you need to know before buying fine jewelry.

1. Know What You Want 

Knowing what you want is especially true for first-time buyers. A gift to commemorate the 10th date will look very different from the classic gifts for wife. Clarifying your expectations before setting out to shop will help you stay on track and prevent frustration and disappointment. There are no rules for what to look for, except to be sure the piece brings you joy. 

2. Set a Budget

Jewelry is something you have a way of hypnotizing prospective buyers into forgetting this critical point. Regardless of what the salesperson tries to sell you on, stick to your budget, so you don’t experience buyer’s remorse. Be up-front with the sales staff about how much you have to spend, so you don’t wind up wasting your time. If what you love happens to be way more than you thought, it is wiser to save up for it rather than going into debt or signing up for a layaway plan. Don’t ruin your credit score over an impulse buy. Smart shoppers establish a firm budget before setting off into the wilds of retail sales.  

3. Shop Around

Knowing what you want and having a firm price range to work with are two concrete first steps in the quest for fine jewelry. It’s also essential to check out multiple retailers to see what’s out there before committing. Some stores offer unique items, while others offer great deals. Online jewelers often have the best prices because of lower overhead costs. Shopping around will give you a feel for both price and style.

4. Do Your Research

The internet has turned the entire world into a potential marketplace, which has both ups and downsides. It’s great because you have more options. But it’s also not-so-great in that there are plenty of shysters out there, and they’re more than willing to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers. Read reviews, investigate the jeweler’s history and check in with the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints about the retailer(s) you’re considering. You can also ask friends and family for recommendations.

5. Work With a Reputable Jeweler

You wouldn’t worry too much about the person selling you items for costume jewelry because you don’t expect it to last. But when you’re looking to make a significant purchase, you want to work with someone you can trust. A trustworthy jeweler will be someone knowledgeable, polite, willing, and able to help you figure out what you want. It’s also a not-unimportant point that they carry a selection of pieces that suit your style. To find an ethical jeweler, ask for references from family and friends, and read reviews.

6. Check Security Settings

The internet has made spending money a breeze. Don’t fall prey to unethical businesses. For online shopping, be sure you’re dealing with a legit enterprise. The web address (URL) should start with “https://” and display a lock icon on the shopping cart or purchase page. If it doesn’t, move on. Also, be sure to check your device’s security software regularly. Use a reputable program and keep your antivirus software up-to-date. 

7. Protect Personal Information

Before giving out any of your details to a website, read the site’s privacy policy. Understand what they are asking for and how it will be using your information. Websites that don’t have a privacy policy could be scammers. Also, unsolicited emails and too-good-to-be-true deals may be just that. Phishing is when an email looks like it comes from a well-known source but opening the message could put you at risk for identity theft or malware. Finally, look out for hidden costs or monthly charges when you make a purchase. In short, think before you click.

9. Read the Fine Print

Savvy shoppers don’t rush into expensive purchases. Before buying anything, read the warranty, guarantee, and refund policies. Things you need to know: what is the return policy if you (or the recipient) change their minds? What if the piece doesn’t fit? What is the jeweler’s policy if a stone comes loose or the item breaks? What exactly does a ‘lifetime warranty’ mean? Ask for all the details, and be sure you understand them before handing over your credit card. 

10. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask.

Maybe you’re not sure what you want; that’s okay. No one expects you to comprehend the complex world of fine jewelry after 15 minutes or even a few hours. If there’s something you don’t understand or want to know more about, don’t be shy; ask. If you’re not sure how to care for the piece, that’s a valid question. If the item doesn’t fit exactly right, ask if resizing included in the price. Certifications, hallmarks, the origin of the gemstones, where the piece was made, all of these are fair questions. So are simpler ones, such as which work suits me best? While a salesperson might be forgiven for wanting to sell you their most expensive option, any serious jeweler will take the time to educate you as a worthwhile customer.

11. Document Your Purchase

As with all big-ticket items, use a credit card to pay and be sure to save and print a copy of the purchase order. Even after you receive the item, keep the receipt in a safe place. You may also request a certificate listing the replacement cost or an appraisal of the gemstones and precious metals in your piece. If the item comes with a gemological certificate, stow that with the receipt. This may come in handy in more ways than one, especially if you ever want to resell the article.

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