With so many jewellery stores around, it can be hard to know where to shop. Here are some tips to make sure you get the best product, for the best price.
1. Unique Design
Most chain stores sell designs that appeal to a mass audience and look very similar. In fact, if you look closely you’ll notice their designs haven’t changed much over the years. Jewellery is meant to reflect your unique personality and style, so why would you want to look like everyone else? Buying directly from a jewellery designer means you’ll have a custom made piece that’s created just for you. Everything from the ring size and gemstone to the precious metal and engraving is considered before the ring is cast, which means a better quality piece that is unlike anything else on the market.
2. Precious Metals
Precious metals are rare metals that do not rust or corrode, which means they last for many, many years. Only eight metals are officially deemed precious: silver, gold, and the six metals of the platinum family (platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium and osmium). The hallmark of a precious metal is the stamp showing the karat (or purity), metal type (such as Pt for white gold) and designer’s signature. Unfortunately, these can easily be faked. There are tricks you can use to determine the authenticity of precious metals, like weighing them or holding them up to a magnet. But the best way to avoid being duped is to talk to the designer, who can explain the manufacturing process and provide you with proof of the metal’s origins and quality.
3. Quality Gemstones
Whether you’re buying a piece of jewellery for yourself or someone else, it’s important to make sure you’re buying the best quality gemstone for your budget. Natural gemstones are imperfect, so jewellers often alter their state to make them look their best. For example, some gemstones are clarity enhanced, which means the fractures have been filled with glass or silicone. Others have been colour enhanced, or feature settings that hide imperfections. These practices are accepted in the industry, but you can avoid paying more than they’re worth by finding a jewellery designer who sources quality gemstones without applying a large markup. With qualifications and a solid background in gemmology, they are qualified to identify the authenticity and quality of each gemstone they buy, giving you peace of mind.
4. Value for Money
Many people assume that chain stores offer a better price because they order in volume, but in fact markups are often much higher in these companies than in smaller, independent stores. Chain stores also mass produce jewellery, often taking shortcuts like hollowing out precious metals to save money. This means the gemstones are more likely to fall out and the metal is more likely to bend or crack. Engraving and resizing places more pressure on an already weak piece of jewellery, resulting in a low-quality product. In contrast, buying custom made jewellery directly from the designer guarantees value for money, because each piece is made individually with quality materials.
5. Jewellery Expertise
Most salespeople in chain stores have very little knowledge of the jewellery industry and no qualifications in gemmology or jewellery manufacturing. Their salary is often based on commission, which means they’re more likely to guide you towards a sale based on what they want to sell, rather than what you want to buy. An experienced jewellery designer with a background in gemmology will create a piece that can be customised to your needs, such as personalised engraving, without compromising the quality of the jewellery. This expertise means you’ll be spending your hard-earned dollars on a high-quality product that will last a lifetime.