Tips for Buying Jewellery
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Published by TOP4 Team
Purchasing jewellery can be frightening. Buying this fragile shiny little gem is scary because of its expensive price. The fear of being deceived by tricky merchant also becomes one of the biggest cause of your concerns. However, with a little preparation, you'll be able to find a real gem for a loved one at a reasonable price.
Avoid prestige name.
Well-known stores spend a lot of time, effort, and money to create a reputation for quality. However, this label isn't really worth for you. According to a gemology expert, for instance, just adding “Tiffany” to a silver bracelet can mean paying 80 percent more. If that rankles you, check out some styles at Tiffany’s, then try other stores for a better price, which are more likely to offer holiday discounts. Another option is to look up for some local jewellers. Just make sure they're dependable.
There's nothing wrong with silver.
People always think to go for gold and not for silver, but the latter is what’s hot these days. One of the main factors is that gold prices are running so high. Look for products marked pristine silver, which is 92.5 percent silver. “Nickel silver” or “German silver” has no real silver at all. If it's got to be a gold, consider a lower carat quality: 24k is pure gold, but there's also 18k (75%), 14k (58%) and 10k (42%). 18k is often considered the best balance of colour and price. Whatever you'll buy, ensure it's clearly tagged with the carat weight and look for a tiny tag that reveals the manufacturer. Never purchase gold chains at a swap meet, out of the trunk of a car or anywhere other than a reputable jeweller.
Another classic and a somewhat affordable option are pearls. These come in three kinds: natural, cultured and imitation. Forget the natural – the kind of bare-chested divers are harvesting one at a time. They barely exist at all anymore, and even if you can find them, they won't be worth the steep cost. Imitations are obviously the cheapest option, yet since that’s basically costume jewellery, what you want is cultured. The larger the pearl, the costlier it will be. Find a lustre – a shiny surface that appears to have depth. Avoid ones that are dull or cloudy.
The best way to purchase pearls is by starting with a trustworthy jeweller, so you won't be ripped off with fakes. Then ask if you can look at the most expensive strand they have: put in on the black jeweller’s cloth. Now lay out a few affordable strands and select the one that most closely resembles the one you can't afford. Extra warning: if you're buying with your partner, don't employ this technique. Otherwise, you'll be buying the most expensive strand.
Don't forget gems.
Precious stones never go out of style, but make sure you'll get the right one. Like pearls, there are three categories: natural (dug out the ground), synthetic (made in a laboratory), and imitation (made in China). Nearly all gems, including the natural ones, are enhanced with laboratory techniques, like radiation and diffusion, and there's nothing wrong with that. Obviously, synthetics are much more affordable because of their availability. Never misunderstand the synthetics as the fake: these are gems but are just grown in the laboratory, unlike imitations that are only coloured bits of plastic. If you're not sure what kind of gems you'll get, you can shop for the recipient’s birthstone. If it's a particular colour you're interested in, you don’t need to get one of these precious stones: emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. Although these are sturdier than semi-precious stones, they're also costlier. Try these alternatives: red spinel, amethyst, lapis lazuli, and peridot.
Shop with someone you trust.
If you don’t know what you're doing, the best thing you can do is to seek the assistance of two other people. First and foremost, a trustworthy jeweller. You can find him/her the same way you’d pick any professional, from a doctor to plumber: by asking similar questions, talking to several people, then choosing the one you feel is right.
The second person you can likely bring along is a friend of the person you're buying for, who won't ruin the surprise but may probably have some idea of what to buy. He/she might also know details you've forgotten or never knew, including favourite colours and ring size. Whatever you end up buying, make sure to get any guarantees in writing and any certificates, if applicable, that describe the complete description of the jewellery you're buying. Look for the best return policy in case the gift doesn't go over well. Always remember: if a deal sounds good to be true, it probably is.