Jewellery is a gorgeous thing to have. Well-crafted combinations of precious metals and gems adorn outfits and make the wearer feel glamorous and confident. Buying jewellery can be bewildering and beguiling, but it is easy to make mistakes and find yourself ripped off. Following these tips will help you make informed decisions and get jewellery you deserve.
Ensure the metals are what they say they are
Gold is beautiful, but it’s easily faked. Look for hallmarks to authenticate the claims the jeweller makes. A lot of jewellery is mass produced, and inferior alloys are passed off as superior precious metals. On silver items, look for the numbers 800 or 925 as a sign of quality, and 585 or 750 on gold. Watch out for hallmarks which don’t seem deeply stamped into the piece or are blurred or hard to make out in any way – these are likely to be low-grade alloys being passed off as quality.
Find out about diamonds
Diamonds are graded on the 4 Cs – carat, colour, clarity, and cut. The carat is the stone’s weight. Its colour is given by the inclusions naturally found in it. Clarity indicates its capacity to refract light. The cut is how an expert diamond worker has fashioned the stone to bring out its best qualities. Knowing something of these in advance will help you talk to jewellers when choosing stones. Watch out for diamonds with inclusions near their surface, and be suspicious of diamonds with no inclusions at all (all natural diamonds have inclusions, they are the stone’s fingerprint).
Ensure the stones are ethically sourced
Some diamonds are of dubious provenance and conflict and human rights abuse haunt them. Reputable jewellers offering the highest quality custom-made jewellery will only carry diamonds with certification to guarantee they are ethically mined and supplied.
See and handle the jewellery yourself
Watch out for rolled gold or gold plate. Jewellery made of these materials is mass produced and won’t last and can be dangerous. Ask to see the actual pieces you mean to buy, not just samples. Take jewellery of your own which you are content with along to compare with items offered to you. Beware of some yellow gold pieces which are disappointingly dull, or suspiciously shiny. Be very suspicious of gold and silver which seems lighter in weight than you would expect.
Be cautious buying jewellery as an investment
Some luxury goods appreciate in value. However, this is not always the case with jewellery as its investment value lies mainly in its materials and not the quality of its craftsmanship. You’ll be more content simply buying your jewellery for you and the pleasure it brings you.
Be prepared to talk to the experts who select and fashion the stones
Reputable jewellers have highly skilled diamond-cutters and buyers who are happy to talk to the public. They will understand your concerns and appreciate your questions. If you are dealing with less reputable merchants, they will just be looking for a quick sale. Trust the jewellers who are happy to spend time with you as you ponder your purchases. Ask questions about after sales service. White gold is coated with rhodium, and this needs to be replaced at times. Reputable dealers will advise you of this. Intricate settings of stones will loosen with wear. Again, trusted experts will let you know how often to have them inspected and maintained.