A piece of jewelry made with precious metals and gemstones is an instant heirloom that, if well taken care of, can be passed down through generations. Shopping for fine jewelry can be daunting if you are not armed with knowledge. Following are some tips to become a savvy shopper:

Know where to shop:

It is vitally important to shop at a well-established professional jeweler.

  • Ask a friend for a recommendation just as you would for a doctor, or check with the Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau.
  • Look for a jeweler who is affiliated with a professional trade association, such as Jewelers of America (JA), that requires high ethical standards of its members and provides them with ongoing education.

Shopping Online:

As with brick and mortar stores, it is important to know where to shop.

  • First, only shop on sites you know to be secure.
  • Always use a credit card rather than a debit card. This way, if anything does go wrong, no money has actually left your account, and you will have recourse.
  • Look for a liberal return policy with a full refund.
  • Be sure to note the window of time in which the jewelry may be returned.
  • Ask for the original packaging and an itemized receipt.
  • When buying diamonds or colored gemstones, ask for a grading report from an independent gemological laboratory.
  • When buying watches online, be aware that some manufacturers’ warranties won’t be considered valid if the watch was not purchased at an authorized dealer.

Don't be dazzled by discounts!

Be cautious if a venue is routinely offering unbelievable discounts of 50% or more.

  • If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Savvy shoppers may find that the “drastic discount” price is actually the normal retail price elsewhere.