If you are considering a jewelry purchase, you need to take the time to look before you leap. Why? Because jewelry is a purchase that most of us don’t make very often, and because it can be very expensive. These tips can help:
1. Set a budget and live by it.
“But…but…this is a wedding ring! I can’t be a cheapskate on something this important.” I didn’t say you had to be cheap, but I do say that you need to establish guidelines. Because going into debt in order to get married is a precedent you don’t want to establish, plan on paying cash. Save up, speak openly with your fiancé about the purchase and shop accordingly.
2. Bypass Mother Nature.
Diamonds, gemstones and pearls made by mother nature are great gifts, but if the real thing doesn’t fit in your budget, check into synthetic diamonds, artificial gemstones or cultured pearls. My daughter recently saved $400 by opting for a sterling silver engagement ring band instead of the white gold one. By the way, I am a very happy and proud father!
3. Consider alternative purchases.
You may be locked in on buying a ring or a bracelet, but other options such as initial necklaces can be very high quality without draining your bank account.
4. Check online.
Start with a reputable distributor and look through their discounted items. From here you’ll find discount codes which you can use to save around 20 percent off the asking price. You can actually use those discount codes on different web sites to see if you can get the same piece of jewelry for even less. Look for coupon codes to get additional savings and, of course, seek free shipping. Also, make sure you get a no questions asked return policy – something a reputable site should have no issue with. Before clicking the “purchase” button, do a Google search of the company to learn if they have a reputation for being less than reputable. Keep printouts of the web pages and any receipts – including email messages – anything that has details about the transaction, including prices, refund information and return policies. If you’re not satisfied, you’ll need all of these to return your purchase. If you save these on your computer – make a backup copy on a disk!
I ended up getting my wife’s engagement ring at Amazon – and when I got an independent appraisal, it ended up being appraised for more than $1000 than we paid for it.
5. Work with a jeweler.
If you are dealing with a jeweler, consider these hints to ensure that you are getting the best quality and price:
- Before visiting your local jeweler, check prices online to find out what range is normal for the piece you’re looking for.
- Ask questions! Your jeweler is your local expert, so don’t be shy about tapping his expertise. If you don’t understand how diamonds are graded or exactly what 14K gold means, keep asking until you can explain it back to an 8th grader.
- Ask your salesperson to write down any information about the jewelry. Any assurances that are not in writing are open to question, so insist on documentation in case a problem later arises.
- Before you buy…ask for the store’s refund and return policy. Get that in writing also.
In short, do your homework. Buying jewelry can be a daunting challenge, buy if you take the time to understand exactly what you are buying and how much that item should cost, you should make a purchase you will feel good about for years to come.
Readers: what additional jewelry buying tips can you offer?