Hello again. Still trying my hand in the blogging world, in hopes, this time, it will become somewhat easier and more prolific. We have, over the past year, grown up a little in this industry; moved to a bigger location, joined The Chamber of Commerce and taken on larger accounts but, not without growing pains. We feel blessed to still be up and running and getting through the tough times builds character - at least that's what my Dad always said. So I'm thinking my character must be solid by now!! I've been told this time of year is classified as the dog days of summer in our industry which based on the amount of sales we've had of late I would agree with, hence the foray into blogging again.
In this week's blog I would like to provide insights into buying fine jewelry. The challenge in buying jewelry for the average person is that he or she doesn't really know enough about fine gems or the quality of metal they are buying, which causes a lot of dishonesty in this trade to the consumer. The key is to be an informed buyer. There is oodles of information on the net to help you determine what you want, what you can afford and who is reputable; all are important factors in shopping for jewelry. Just search what you want to know about such as "how to determine diamond quality." I prefer to use google.com as my search engine, it seems to be the most objective and least obscure search engine I've found. The clearer your search question is, the better the answer.
Finances - First and foremost determine the amount of money you can spend. For instance, I've heard outrageous claims that a wedding ring should be the cost of up to 6 months worth of income for the one buying it. I'm sorry, that is such poppycock- the wedding ring should be a symbol of love and unity between two people and financially what they can afford, not what the media tells them they should afford. Why bring undo stress to the union prior to the wedding day?!? There are many fine rings out in the market that won't break the bank. A good source for ideas would be Etsy.com or eBay.com. You can get a wide variety of styles to look at and get a realistic understanding of the value of the items.
Jeweler - That being said I would suggest finding a local jeweler you feel comfortable with and discuss the feasibility of your budget and what it is you actually want. Sometimes a well loved pre-owned piece can become exactly what you want for a lot less then a brand new item, or you can make it your own with a little tweak of design or a new stone for a lot less of money. Finding a jeweler you feel comfortable with can be a challenge but, it is achievable. As I stated, being informed is your best defense against "shysters." Find out what the cost of metal is currently going for at kitco.com. Please note the metal listed is for pure metal, not the standard metal jewelry is mostly made of i.e. the gold is listed at 24 Karat and most jewelry is made of 18K, 14K or 10K which brings the value down to 75%, 58.5% or 41.7% of the listed price comparatively. The next thing you have to take into consideration is stones. If you want stone(s) in the piece how important to you is it that they are mined or lab grown? There is kind of a snobbery in this industry regarding real or man made, most jewelers prefer working with real only because man made can be difficult to work with in some ways but, in no way is less used in the industry. As a jewelers wife and someone who works in this field I can tell you man made stones are just as beautiful if not more so than mined ones and can be a lot more friendly to the budget, if that is a concern. This is why it is important for you to find a jeweler you trust, so you can buy a piece of jewelry you will cherish and know what it is you actually will own. My advise is to bring a friend or family member along on your visit who has an item with a real stone and then maybe one with a stone that is man made. Most jewelers will clean the items before looking at them to get a clearer view of the stones and the craftsmanship of the piece in question. At this point, let the jeweler tell you about them. It will give you some understanding of their honesty and knowledge.
Reputation -The other avenue is research the reviews online of the jeweler you are visiting or talk to trusted friends or family that has experience with the jewelers in your area. The fact is that most jewelry is made up of metal and rocks and it is one of the most emotional items you will spend money on, sometimes a lot of money. Because of that it is important to find a company worthy of your hard earned dollars. Take the time to do the research and be an informed consumer you will be much happier you did. Next week we'll talk about selling unwanted jewelry for the best price, stay tuned....