A Beginner's Guide to Choosing a Jeweler
Buying jewelry isn’t the same as buying a new outfit. We’re willing to bet you buy a new piece of clothing at least every other month, so you’re kind of a pro.
How often do you buy jewelry, though? Probably not nearly as often. (We’re talking more Tiffany & Co.® than Forever 21 here.)
Not only do you go through the process less often, it’s also a bit more complex than choosing the most flattering sweater. There’s cut, color, clarity, carat – enough to make your head spin.
- Do you know that you might need an appraisal?
- Do you know how the shape of stone you choose affects its durability?
- Do you know how to properly care for that jewelry after you bring it home?
If you choose the right jeweler, you don't need to have all the answers. A quality jeweler will know all this and more, and be more than happy to teach you the ropes. Read on for your guide on how to find your jewelry soulmate.
- Ask family and friends for recommendations.
- Use social media: gather insights from your network, info from each jeweler’s page and reviews.
- Check up on your short list on the BBB website.
- Ask if they have a certified gemologist in-house.
- Find out what on-site services they offer.
- Ask if they sell professionally certified diamonds.
- Get a copy of their warranty and returns policies.
- Do a gut check.
Ask for Recommendations
Word-of-mouth is king. In an industry as relationship-driven as jewelry, a recommendation from a trusted friend or family member is gold. (Pun intended.)
Don’t be bashful. Ask your grandma, your neighbor, your coworker and that jewel-encrusted lady you always run into at the coffee shop. The more info, the better!
Seek Out Reviews
Social media FTW. Not only can you blast a request for recommendations out to all your followers, you can do some digging on prospective jewelers’ pages and read through their reviews.
A local jeweler with 10,000 likes on Facebook is as solid an endorsement as your BFF swearing by them.
Check with the BBB Watchdogs
User-submitted reviews are great for getting the customer’s perspective, right from the horse’s mouth. You’ll also want to check the Better Business Bureau, though, to get a more accurate feel.
Look up the ratings of each jeweler on your short list and make sure there haven’t been any crazy claims made against them.
Meet Their Pros
Can I get a GG? That’s jeweler-speak for Graduate Gemologist.
You’ll want a jeweler that has educated, certified specialists on staff to handle not only your questions, but any repairs or custom work you may need. Some credentials to look for: GG, RJ, CG, CSA, or CJAP.
Another good indicator of a quality jeweler is the post-sale services they offer.
Can you return for routine cleanings? Do they perform repairs in house or ship them out? What if you need an updated appraisal?
Great jewelers strive to provide lifelong customer service to their clients.
Show Me the Certs
No one can pull a fast one on you if you ask for validation from an unbiased third party.
Think of it this way – typical purchases have ratings you can use to somewhat gauge their quality. Since diamonds are one-of-a-kind and no one has ever owned the specific one you’re considering, the only third party “review” you can get is a professional diamond certification.
The main players in diamond certification land are American Gem Society, Gemological Institute of America and The European Gemological Laboratory. If your jeweler provides you with a certification from one of these, that’s a good sign.
Check the Fine Print
Ask to see copies of the jeweler’s returns policy and any warranties they offer. You want to make sure they’ll have your back if anything goes wrong.
Any jeweler that doesn’t allow returns or has very strict guidelines is one to avoid.
Go With Your Gut
In the end, choosing a jeweler is a personal decision. This will hopefully be a lifelong relationship, so you want to feel comfortable working with them.
If they hesitate to answer any of your questions or to provide any of the documentation you request, that’s a sign to steer clear.
There are so many great jewelers out there. If you’re visiting one and a red flag pops up, don’t be afraid to cross them off the list. There are many more sparkly fish in the jeweler sea. We promise.