What to Look For When Choosing a Jewelry Store
By Devorah Isenberg , Wednesday, January 04, 2012 7:41 AM
When shopping for a new piece of jewelry, whether you are looking for a diamond necklace for yourself or a diamond engagement ring for a significant other, there are many choices available to you in terms of choosing a jewelry store. You can buy diamond jewelry from a department store, a website, a national chain jewelry store, a designer boutique, or an independent local jewelry shop. But since there are not as many recognizable jewelry brands as there are brand names for items like clothes and shoes, it can be difficult to know if you are getting a quality product and a good price at each of these locations. Here are a few things to look out for when choosing jewelry at a bricks-and-mortar store or when shopping for jewelry online.
- The vibe, or feel, of the store, is very important to your sense that you are choosing the right jewelry store. While a local mom-and-pop jewelry boutique may not have the red-carpet ambiance of Harry Winston Jewels, a reputable jewelry store should have a clean, pleasing appearance and should have its jewelry set out neatly and simply in display cases. Dusty cases, lax security, or the look and feel of a pawnshop are signals that this might not be a reliable jewelry store. The same concept applies when you shop for jewelry online—a site should be neat, well-designed, and visually appealing for you to feel comfortable shopping.
- What is the specialty of your store? Some jewelry brands specialize in high-quality diamond engagement rings, while others focus mostly on offering gemstone-set fine fashion jewelry or even cubic zirconia knockoffs. Even if a jewelry store claims that they have the item you want in stock, you’ll get a better selection and a better deal if you turn to a website or jewelry store that specializes in your desired jewelry item.
- The size of the store or website is an important clue to what kind of prices and service you will be getting. While the smallest boutiques often do not have the same selection and quality as larger stores, they offer customer service, expertise and personal attention that a chain store in your local mall cannot match. When choosing a jewelry store, decide what level of personal attention is right for you.
- While you may be used to looking for clearance sales on everything from furniture to shoes, huge discounts on diamonds are the first signs that the jewelry store in question may not be trustworthy. The fact is that diamonds do not have a very high markup in price between the wholesale distributor and the retail seller, so any jeweler offering a discount of more than 15% may not have been pricing his jewelry fairly in the first place.
- Many jewelry shoppers are beginning to realize the kind of selection and quality that can be found by shopping for jewelry online. When choosing a jewelry e-tailer, ensure that they are reliable by checking online reviews and making sure they are certified by a local business bureau. Of course, never enter your credit card information into a site without 128-bit SSL security.
- Regardless of jewelry brands, the most important signifier of quality when it comes to diamond jewelry is the diamond certificate. There are many diamond appraising labs out there—the most reliable is the specialty AGS and the popular GIA. Never purchase a diamond from a jewelry store that sells uncertified stones.
- Finally, one of the most important ways to choose a jewelry brand is to get a sense of the company from the customer service they offer. When you walk into the store or contact the online company, you should be greeted by customer service representatives who are knowledgeable, friendly and informed about their products. If you feel ignored, pressured, or rushed into your decision, you should suspect the jewelry store’s quality of being less than ideal.
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