||Before You Buy Jewelry
Choosing a Reputable Jeweler
- The first preliminary steps when you buy jewelry are to choose a jeweler by getting recommendations from friends, checking the stores credentials and finding out if they're affiliated with any trade organizations. Is there a credentialed jeweler in the store? Some jewelry salespeople may be very knowledgeable and helpful, but someone in the store [preferable the owner or manager] should have gemological credentials.
- What impression do you get from the buy jewelry store? Does the place seem professional, are your questions answered in a clear, detailed, understandable, proficient manner or are you given vague, euphemistic responses? Do you feel rushed into a jewelry purchase or are you given good, patient service and full disclosure on all the topics you bring up? If you are only given gems with qualifiers in their names or your questions aren't being answered leave the jewelry store and don't come back.
- Can the salespeople tell you about the stones background and the properties intrinsic to that specific gem-type, and not only give you the dry measurements and weight that you just as easily learn by reading the tag? Can they tell you about the quality of the cut and make, as well? Explanations of cutting techniques should never be reduced to class classifications such as ‘fine' or ‘good'. The salesperson should be able to tell you how the pavilion is proportional to the crown and the measurements of the table surface in relation to the girdle's diameter. If they cannot, can they compare between a stone you buy for a lot of money of the same cut and the one you're examining, so that you can see the subtle differences in perfect proportioning?
- If you've not brought a loupe with you, the store should supply you with one for your examination of the stones. Stores that claim not to have a loupe on the premises or won't lend the use of one for a few minutes should be immediately suspect. Don't even think about buying there-simply leave.
- Is there a diverse array of merchandise to buy?- If you're looking for a certain type of gem, does the store hold a large selection of various colors, clarity gradings and quality gradings; are you shown a selection from which you can make comparisons? If there are only ‘bargain-prices' or a very small selection of each gem-type, perhaps you should keep looking and only come back if you have made certain that this store is indeed reputable and legitimate.
- Do they sell only mounted gems?- because gems are impossible to grade after being mounted and in expensive gems it is well worth the trouble to demand that the stone be set free from its mountings, re-appraised and then remounted.
- Are any special services provided? Are the stones cleaned rudimentarily before examination, cleaned professionally before purchase? Do they also make custom-made jewelry? Do they repair or replace stones that break or chip not as a result of regular wear and tear?
- Do they sell stones with credentialed documentation from a distinguished gemological testing lab? Can you get the telephone number and address of the lab to talk to them before purchase and verify that there is such a lab and that it's well-known by many people? And if they don't sell stones that are already documented by a lab, do they write all the information on the bill of sale? - If there is no documentation, is there a store policy that forbids it being sent to be tested? If so-leave. Anyone purchasing a gem should walk out of the store with both a gem-tested certificate and the bill of sale, or with the bill of sale singed by the store and the stores manager and fully documenting every piece of pertinent information for verification needs in the future.
- What are the stores guarantees on its merchandise? If indeed the gem is later tested and found to be less than genuine, or of a different quality grade, what is the stores policy for these occasions? Read carefully the terms and conditions of the purchase policy, ask specific questions about warranties and liability and the limits placed on the liability clause by the store. If anything makes you uncomfortable, or if there is no guarantee, go on to the next store.
- Does the store have a return-policy? - Can you return the gem after an agreed period of time if you've had a change of heart? Do you get a full refund, a partial refund or store credit? You can find Cashback on UK Jewellery Shops for example. Does this information appear on the bill of sale? - If you're buying an expensive piece of jewelry in the country, this probably wont cause much of a problem, but buying jewelry abroad should be handled slightly differently. When abroad, pay with your credit card and not with a bank debit card. This will make it easier for you to get your money back in case something turns out to be wrong with the piece, when you return home.