Buying jewellery either as a gift for a loved one or as a special treat for yourself, or engagement rings, can be very enjoyable but unless you know how to source it at an affordable price, it can be an expensive business.
Do Your Research
When purchasing jewellery that has one or more diamonds, such as engagement rings, be prepared to ask the jeweller about the four Cs (or if shopping online, look out for reference to these in the product description):
- Cut: we all love diamonds that sparkle but if they are cut badly then some of that sparkle will be lost. Modern technology means that diamond-cutting is a more precise art than previously and it also dictates the shape of the diamond (round, oval, emerald, pear, heart etc).
- Colour: the most valuable diamonds are white (although they appear to be colourless) and are graded on a scale from D to Z. Diamonds that are anywhere in-between display a hint of colour.
- Clarity: what you can’t see with the naked eye may not bother you but diamonds have internal characteristics that may resemble feathers when inspected with a jeweller’s loupe. These aren’t faults and can be considered to make each diamond unique. Ask the jeweller how the stone is graded: Sl1 and above is fine.
- Carat: the weight and size of a diamond is measured in carats, with a typical engagement ring scoring between half a carat and one carat.
Buy Jewellery Online
The growth of internet shopping is revolutionising the way we purchase both everyday items and luxury gifts. But when it comes to buying jewellery online, it is important to ensure that the goods you purchase are authentic, high quality and good value. There are endless websites advertising jewellery so make sure you purchase from a reputable business who guarantee a money-back refund policy (UK law states that consumers have seven days to return unwanted items from the day that it arrives – and yes, this does include earrings). Think carefully about whether you are prepared to purchase from a private seller on an internet auction site as the safeguards may not be quite as watertight should things go wrong.
When shopping for jewellery online you can expect to be given a full description of the item, including details of hallmarks, carats and so on. If you wish to purchase a diamond online then ask for a ‘cert stone’ (one that has been assessed to meet certain industry standards).
If in doubt, take the item when it arrives to a trustworthy jeweller and ask for an opinion; if you are unhappy with your purchase you are still within your rights to return it as long as the seven days cooling-off period hasn’t elapsed.
New v. Second Hand Jewellery
If you’re looking to balance cost and quality then purchasing second hand jewellery could well be the solution, saving you up to one third of the retail price for a comparable item brand new. With a professional clean and repairs made to scratches or indentations, the jewellery can be given a fresh, new appearance and often second hand jewellery will be manufactured to a higher standard that contemporary ones. Before purchasing you should find out as much as possible about the background to the item: for example, how old it is, whether it is described as ‘antique’ or ‘vintage’, its value and the materials from which it is made. An expert opinion from an experienced jeweller is probably the best source of information so make sure that the seller is reputable, qualified and trustworthy.
In short, buying an engagement ring or that special item of jewellery at an affordable price doesn’t mean bypassing taste or quality. You can save on the cost by researching products carefully and shopping around, either online or in person.
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://www.istockphoto.com/
Ross Davies works for DeBretts Online Jewellery the experts in second hand jewllery at affordable prices.