Jewelry is always fun to buy, whether for yourself or others. With everything from fashion accessory bargain-priced pieces to items sold in stores where you need an appointment even to view them on offer there is always something gorgeous out there to buy.
However, when you are jewelry shopping at the high-end of the market and investing a large amount of money the decisions you make are definitely weightier, compared to say picking up a $5 bargain in a mall outlet.
That's why we have put together this useful guide to buying high-end jewelry. The tips, advice, and information are aimed at helping those new to this adventure feel confident about their choices, spot anything which could be a concern, and walk away with authentic jewelry which will be treasured for many years to come.
The easy to remember rules about buying gemstone jewelry are to consider the 'five C's'; cut, color, clarity, carat, and certification. Here we use the diamond as an example, but the same principles apply to all precious and semi-precious stones. Do remember though to compare them for things like clarity within their own group, otherwise you will not get a fair result.
The cut is not about the shape of your diamond (e.g., pear or round) but a term which measures the reflections from it. This characteristic is the first of the C's and probably the most important, but what are you looking for? Esentially, you want a diamond to have such a brightness it seems to come directly from its center – something which can only be achieved by a highly skilled cutter.
People tend to assume diamonds have no color, but in fact, they nearly always do have some level of a brown or yellow tinge. Of course, this varies widely between them and has a significant impact on their value, with grade D being the highest (very little or no noticeble color), to grade Z which has (proportionately) a lot of color.
The fewer marks of any kind a diamond has, whether on the surface or the inside, the more it costs. Diamonds are given a grade ranging from FL (perfect, no flaws) to the lowest grade of I, (included). It's worth noting that only the worst of the 'I' range will have visible flaws, so you don't need to buy an FL item to get a great piece of diamond jewelry, be aware of why prices vary between pieces.
The carat describes the weight of a diamond. It's a strange system, as unlike say a pound of butter costing twice that of a half pound, in diamond terms a full carat diamond can easily cost more than double what a half carat diamond is sold for. Again, bear this in mind when comparing prices.
Look for certification from one of the five labs in the world approved to inspect and define the qualities of a diamond. These are identified by initials – EGL, HRD, IGI, and the two perhaps most respected labs – AGS and GIA. [This applies to diamonds specifically.]
This task can be incredibly difficult for the untrained eye, but the original version is definitely shinier than a fake. Amethysts are very hard as are rubies, so a real one cannot be scratched – and a genuine seller shouldn't mind if you ask to try doing that.
The higher the karats, the more actual gold is in the piece of jewelry, but although 24k is pure gold this is not strong enough to take much wear, so go for 18k (75% gold) if you possibly can. It looks great and can be worn with confidence.
It is another good choice for high-end pieces of jewelry, but to be sure of its quality check for a particular mark indicating it is fine or of quality, and clearly showing the amount of precious metal it contains. It pays to know (or learn) something about the different metals and diamond characteristics before you even start shopping for high end jewelery, to avoid costly mistakes or falling for scam offers.
Do your research. Look around online and compare prices, and then if you choose to buy in person go to a few stores and do the same. This gives you a good idea of what the average price of an item is, and possibly some scope to ask for a discount.
It's okay to buy high-end jewelry online so long as you only ever look at reputable selling sites, and avoid at all costs anything that seems too good to be true – you know it always is exactly that! Do plenty of research to make sure you are on a genuine site, and read reviews from others who have something to say about a store. For a great selection of silicon rings, have a look at Jewelry Jealousy's favorite silicone rings.
Choose a jeweller who either specializes in or has plenty of experience of the kind of high-end jewelry you plan to buy.
Whether you are looking for a bracelet, necklace, cufflinks or earrings do think about how you plan to use it. If you want a special item that can be worn a lot don't stint on the quality of metal or diamond. Quirky pieces of jewelry are fine if they reflect your style, but high fashion fads can date very quickly, so classic looks are probably wiser investments.
If you are shopping for high-end jewelry for the first time, it's natural to feel a little nervous. After all, you are making an investment involving style and taste as well as money. Still, if you take some time to make choices you are comfortable with you will soon be an expert at choosing amazing pieces of jewelry – so the results will definitely be worth it.
You can also officially report scammers or any other questionable jewelry sellers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
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