We all want to get our hands on the perfect jewelry. But with so many options available, shopping for jewelry becomes challenging (especially if you don’t know what to look for).
In this guide, we’ll explore some tips for buying jewelry, including what to look for when buying jewelry and how to shop for jewelry that fits your style and budget. Keep reading to become a pro jewelry shopper.
How to shop for jewelry for yourself
Here are ten essential points to consider when shopping for jewelry.
Know your personal style
We all have our personal style. When buying jewelry for yourself, you want to define your style and pick something that suits you. For example, if you prefer simple, minimalist jewelry for everyday wear, look out for lightweight, small, and durable pieces.
If you’re a regular at outings where you have to look sophisticated, you’d want to shop more for designer pieces or pearls made for special occasions. Buying jewelry that fits your style is important so you don’t end up with something you won’t wear.
Have a set budget
Another tip for buying jewelry is to set a budget before shopping. Determine how much money you’ll spend on jewelry, so you don’t overspend or buy something you can’t afford.
If you need help deciding how much to set aside, check the prices of jewelry pieces that fit your style in renowned jewelry stores. You can browse large online marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy to check prices. Once you have a reasonable price range, it becomes easier to shop for jewelry since you’ll be focused on items within your budget.
Define your reason for buying jewelry
To narrow down your buying options, determine why you’re buying jewelry. Are you buying a piece to wear every day? Or is it for a special occasion like your wedding or anniversary? Knowing why you’re shopping for jewelry will help you know where to look when you enter your favorite jewelry store.
It also helps you determine your budget. If you’re buying for a special occasion, you’ll be willing to spend more than you would for everyday wear.
Know your jewelry basics
Never enter a jewelry store utterly clueless about what you want — chances are high that you’ll leave with a piece you regret buying. Define what you want. Now, it’s not just enough to say, “I know I’ll buy a diamond ring.” You should also know about diamond rings (at least a little bit).
Learn about basics like the cut, color, carat, and clarity (four C’s) of a diamond, how to check a diamond using a loupe, and how to clean a diamond. The goal is not to show off that knowledge when speaking to the seller( in fact, it’s best to act like you don’t know much). The goal is to be able to spot weird signs and reduce the chances of buying a fake piece.
Look out for hallmarks
Hallmarks are small stamps or inscriptions on jewelry that give information on the piece’s metal content, purity, and sometimes the maker. For example, if a piece of jewelry is hallmarked “14K,” it contains about 58% of gold and other metals.
So if you’re looking for a 14K gold piece and a jeweler tries to sell you a 10K gold piece (which contains less gold), the hallmark can help you detect it. Hallmarks are tiny, so you’ll need a loupe to check them. Ask your jeweler for a loupe to examine the hallmark on a piece before making a purchase.
Comb through the details
Take your time to read through the product description, especially if you’re shopping online. Compare the jewelry descriptions to the pictures and videos you see. Also, confirm the seller’s position on returns and refunds to avoid issues later.
Most online stores have a 30 to 90-day return policy (terms and conditions may apply). Be sure you can return a product if it comes faulty or in the wrong size. If you’re shopping physically, check the piece for cracks and chips. Also, confirm if you can return a product if it gets damaged after a few days of purchase.
Watch out for persuasive sellers
Some jewelers are good at convincing people, especially naive shoppers, to buy their products. Your duty as a savvy jewelry shopper is to buy what you want, not just what they have. Here are a few signs that a jeweler is trying to coax you to buy a piece:
- They try to upsell you even after you’ve clearly stated your budget.
- They show you only a few pieces and keep talking about them, even if you prefer something else. A trustable jeweler will offer you a wide range of options.
- They’re hesitant to give you a loupe to check a gemstone.
Get your jewelry appraised
This tip is essential if you’re buying an expensive piece. Let the jeweler know you’ll take the piece to an independent expert for an appraisal. Don’t make it sound like a threat; just mention it in passing. It makes the jeweler more careful about what they sell, especially if you mention a renowned expert.
After you purchase the jewelry, take it to the expert for appraisal. If the piece is confirmed to be original, you can trust that seller and buy from them next time. And if it’s the other way around, you save yourself from buying a fake piece the next time.
Check for certificates
One of the greatest fears of new (and every) jewelry shopper is buying fake jewelry, especially if you’re shopping for diamonds or other precious stones like ruby or topaz. Thankfully, professional bodies like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and the American Gem Society (AGS) issue certificates to confirm the genuineness of a jewelry piece.
💡 Take Note: When buying precious gems, ask for the certificate. But here’s an important warning: jewelry certificates can be fake. What your jeweler is showing you may be a photocopy, not the actual certificate for the gem you’re buying.
So what’s the way out? Carefully examine your gemstone (weight, dimensions, imperfections) and compare the specifications to what’s on the certificate. If they match, you’re good to go. If the stone is different from what’s on the certificate, you just saved yourself from buying a fake gem.
Shop at the right places
A majorly confusing part of buying jewelry is deciding where to shop. The truth is, you have many options. You can visit a jeweler in your locale to get unique, custom-made pieces. Local jewelers usually have good customer service. Pawn shops typically have a wide range of jewelry, but you’ll need good bargaining skills to buy at a fair price.
If you want a branded piece, buy from one of the best jewelry brands. The most convenient option is to shop for jewelry online. With online shopping, you can buy jewelry from your home and even get access to coupons or deals that’ll reduce your cost.
6 tips for buying jewelry for someone else
It’s easy to define your style, purpose, and budget when you’re buying jewelry for yourself. But when it’s for a loved one, things can get iffy. Here are six pro tips to help you purchase jewelry for someone else:
- Find out their style by observing the jewelry pieces they wear often.
- Be sure about their size before choosing a ring or bracelet. If you’re unsure, buy a piece that works for different sizes, like a necklace or pair of earrings.
- Buy hypoallergenic jewelry; you don’t want to give your loved one a jewelry piece that will irritate their skin.
- Personalize the jewelry by buying their birthstone or a piece with their initials.
- Shop from a certified store and check the hallmarks of the piece to ensure it’s genuine and of good quality.
- Learn about the jewelry you want to buy before going to a store, just as when purchasing for yourself.
Jewelry shopping is much easier when you have the right tips. With our expert tips, you now know how to shop for jewelry, and you’re ready to purchase the best. Remember to buy within your budget and check for certificates from professional bodies when buying expensive pieces. And if you’re buying for someone else, our six tips above will help you shop smart.
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