5 Tips for Optimizing Your Jewelry Purchase

by Joe Plemon on May 25, 2011

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?

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Tim @ Faith and Finance May 25, 2011 at 8:17 am

Good tips Joe! I could have used them when I was looking for my wife’s ring 4 years ago. I had no idea how to buy jewelry (still don’t…) but this article is really helpful.

Just don’t let my wife know that I read it 🙂 She may want me to try out some of your suggestions!

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nella May 25, 2011 at 3:21 pm

working with a jeweler.is the best idea and not always as expensive as other opions… you may also do it exactly as she wants it!
i may suggest to by a classic ring that wont be out of mode soon… we are positive thinkers so we must plan to wear it 2o years from now~

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joeplemon May 25, 2011 at 3:49 pm

@Tim,
Your secret is safe with me, but as long as the wife agrees to point 1, I think you are fine.

@nella,
I have no experience myself of buying jewelry online (but then I NEVER buy jewelry), but I know others who are quite comfortable doing so. I like your optimistic perspective…plan for the marriage to last a long time. I have now been married 40 years and my simple wedding band is still the only jewelry I wear.

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June Young May 26, 2011 at 12:01 am

I like working with a jeweler. It give you freedom with design, price and purpose. You have to monitor and research though but it’s cheaper than branded gems. I recently lost my jewelry and it sucks. Women do love their gems. It’s a luxury and a good investment too!

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Haley May 26, 2011 at 2:48 am

Great tips.Thanks for your sharing.I don’t understand much about jewelry although I’m a woman.It’s ashamed to admit that

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dido May 26, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Set a budget and live by it…… as a woman i allow my self to say that if a men wants to be in budget he must go and buy the ring alone… 🙂 but then the risk is that it is not the womans taste

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joeplemon May 26, 2011 at 3:34 pm

@June,
Thanks for the input from someone who knows more first hand about buying jewelry than I do. 🙂

@Haley,
Confession is good for the soul, but I don’t think you have anything to be ashamed of. I might be wary of a woman who fixates on jewelry. Fortunately, my wife doesn’t.

@dido,
So…it is OK with you for a guy to buy you jewelry with money he doesn’t have? That, in my opinion, is not smart or romantic. But then I am a guy. 🙂

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dido May 28, 2011 at 12:09 am

joeplemon my dear! please read my comment again thats not what i meant …

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Mayor of Humbleville May 28, 2011 at 12:20 am

Great advice Joe,
You make a great point about skipping the pricey genuine gems for the lab-created look-a-likes. To be perfectly honest, if it looks the same and costs 1/10 the price, why would you even bother spending the extra money just to say it’s real. Oh, wanted to give you a heads up, you were made an official Humbleville Neighbor! We thought our citizens would appreciate your variety of topics and financial advice!
Humbly Yours,
The Mayor

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joeplemon May 28, 2011 at 7:52 am

@dido,
My bad. I inferred from “if a men wants to be in budget he must go and buy the ring alone” that you would not be involved in the process if he was going to stick to a budget. Evidently, that was not what you meant, but I am still not sure exactly what you did mean. Help me out please.

@Mayor,
After reading your comment on buying the man made gems, I checked your blog to see if you are a man like me who doesn’t really understand jewelry in the first place. I was pleased to discover you are a female!

I like the looks of your site and, of course, am familiar with your hubby’s Wealth Artisan site. Keep up the good work!

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braintory May 30, 2011 at 5:13 am

Great post.Thank for sharing detail tips on jewelry

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