Shopping for jewelry is no longer the simple process it once was. Today you have to watch for stones that are simulated, created or treated. The metals come in so many different terms; it can get confusing to know whether something is “real” or not. The best way to avoid issues is to educate yourself and buy from sources that you trust.
Know the Terminology
When it comes to the metals, it’s still easy to know what you’re getting if you know where to look. Gold, silver and platinum are all marked somewhere on the piece if it’s real and with what grade. Have the seller show you the markings if you can’t find them.
Gemstones are another matter entirely. Natural is considered out of the earth and “real” but you can actually get “real” stones created from the labs as well. The difference between the stones is the amount of time it took to create them. Labs simulate the same conditions as the earth just in a faster process. That being said, lab created stones cost substantially less than natural ones. Simulated equals fake, usually glass made to look like the stone. Be careful because some jewelers will try to pass off the cheap stones for the natural ones and charge the higher price.
You also need to be aware if the stones are treated and how. Some treating is okay and normal but some forms used attempt to make a stone look like another one, thus creating a fake. Some treated stones also need special care to keep the look.
Get Everything in Writing
Always get a copy of the store’s refund and return policies in writing along with the details of the piece of jewelry you’re buying. Make sure the store includes the size, carat weight, type of metal, etc. with your receipt. This gives you a paper trail in the event you find out the jewelry is not what the store claimed.
Ask for a Certified Appraisal
You might not go through this process for a less expensive piece but do not skip it for higher dollar pieces for sure. Ask for a certified appraisal from a trusted source or if the store does not want to supply one, ask to have the piece looked at by a jeweler you trust to ensure the piece is what the seller claims it is. Often if the seller refuses to allow or supply either of these options, you should probably walk away and not buy from the person.
Don’t Fall for Bait and Switch
Unfortunately, “cheap” or “wholesale” jewelers are often passing off low quality stones or metals as higher quality and charging for the top price. You might think you’re getting a good deal because you thought you got a D clarity diamond for a steal, when in fact the store sold you a H. Once again, have pieces check out by independent sources and avoid these than reputable sellers. In addition, if you go to a place where the prices appear to be too low, take warning of the red flag.
Avoid Peak Holidays
Jewelry prices are the highest around Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas. Many stores tout the sales they are offering but these three holidays are the times for the highest prices. If you want to get better pricing avoid buying at these times and buy in the “off-season.”
Morality does come into play when purchasing jewelry because of mining practices around the world and how some jewelry is “acquired.” The name “blood diamonds” came about because of all the blood shed over diamond minds in Africa but this type of practice happens more often than not in many mines around the world. Ask where your gemstones are coming from and the practices used to retrieve them and try to buy from places where practices are better to help enforce human rights. Never buy from the guy on the street corner with his jacket open and take care in pawn shops. Avoid buying stolen pieces is also important for not supporting the black markets.
The best way to protect yourself when buying jewelry is to take your time and do your research. Then you can rest assured that you are getting what you paid for and able to wear or give a beautiful piece of conscious free jewelry.
Article written by Whiteflash Inc. – jewelry store from Houston. Choose and buy diamond online for your wedding ring.