So you want to buy jewelry. Whether you’re buying for yourself or a loved one, buying jewelry isn’t as straightforward as many people think it is. But it does make for an excellent shopping experience. You can buy one on a whim, or spend hours doing research. And the right bracelet or earrings can make a birthday or wedding anniversary more special.
Some of us struggle with showing affection through words and actions and prefer to let the gift do the speaking. You can say so many things through jewelry: “Happy anniversary,” “I miss you,” or “I love you.” And the choices are dizzying, from necklaces and rings to cuff links and brooches. You can even visit online stores for specialized lab-grown diamonds.
1. Stay away from well-known brands
Some of the biggest brands in jewelry charge an arm and a leg, but people still keep on buying from them. They spend lots of time and resources cultivating a reputation for quality, but is it worth it? Is their jewelry better, or is it just marketing? Well, it’s a mix of both.
Yes, prestige brands employ some of the most talented jewelers in the business, and many of the pieces they create are one-of-a-kind. But if you only want a simple silver bracelet or gold ring, you might want to check out smaller brands or local jewelers instead. You can get a piece of jewelry of the same quality for much less if you know where to look.
2. Go for silver
Silver is becoming more popular due to its timeless and modern look. But you need to make sure you’re getting the real thing. Only consider pieces that are branded sterling silver, which is made of 92.5 percent silver. If it’s marked German silver or new silver, then it’s not real silver. It’s just copper alloy with nickel or zinc added to the mix.
If you want a gold piece, then you need to know how the karat system works. 24k is 99.9 percent gold, and the gold percentage decreases as you go down the chain. 18k is 75 percent, while 14k is 58 percent. If you want to strike a balance between price and quality, go for 18k gold.
3. Shop smart
Unless you know what you’re doing, you might want to ask for help from other people. For starters, enlist the assistance of an independent jeweler. Most jewelry stores have an in-house jeweler, but you can’t exactly trust them to give you an honest appraisal. Finding a jeweler isn’t that much different from finding a plumber or gardener.
Once you’re ready to buy jewelry, don’t go in alone. The best thing you can do is to bring along a friend. They can help you with the jewelry selection, and you’re less likely to succumb to sales pressure.
These pointers will help you buy high-quality jewelry that won’t break the bank. Whatever you end up choosing, make sure that the pieces come with a certificate and document with a detailed description of the object. If the independent appraisal doesn’t match the description the store gave you, you should return the piece immediately.