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People started wearing jewelry since ancient times. However, the first jewelry items were quite crude. They were made of stones, shells, feathers and other available materials. Modern jewelry has changed significantly since then. But like 100.000 years ago it still plays a key role: it shows person’s rank, wealth, political views and religious beliefs. Jewelry items not only express owner’s personality but also may have other purposes. For example, they can express affection or be a part of a financial investment. To make your jewelry item not only a decoration but also a good placement of funds and a long-lasting present, pick only quality jewelry. Keep in mind the following steps to make a beneficial purchase faster.
How to Buy Quality Jewelry
Regardless of a jewelry function, it takes time to choose quality jewelry that will fit your needs and be of affordable price. Spend a couple of minutes and prepare your course of actions or use below-mentioned tips.
- Think who the jewelry is for. First, you have to decide: are you going to wear it yourself or is it a present? If it is a gift, ask a person about his/her preferences and pay attention to his/her interests. For example, you want to buy a present to a woman who rarely attends special events or doesn’t attend them at all. There is no point in buying chunky diamond necklaces and you should, probably, decide on an elegant chain. This chain she can wear every day. If you want to buy jewelry for yourself, think what you want from your jewelry item.
Make a list of requirements. Figure out what exactly you would like to buy, before you go to the store.
- Choose specific metal. Think whether you would like a solid, vermeil or plated jewelry. Solid jewelry lasts longer but is quite expensive and needs additional care. Plated jewelry is relatively cheap but deteriorates quickly. Moreover, it can cause allergy because the base metals are steel or brass. Vermeil jewelry is very similar to plated jewelry and uses the same plating process. But it is much better for those, who have allergies because the base metal is sterling silver.
- Pick the color. Think what jewelry color is the best for you. Consider not only the color of the metal but also the color of the stone. Maybe you want something classic like plain gold or silver jewelry. Or you crave for extravagance and would like pink, rose or green gold.
- Think of jewelry proportions. Take into consideration not only your wishes but also your face, body features and clothes you prefer. For example, if you’re going to buy earrings and have a round face, you need to pay closer attention to long, square or rectangular shaped earrings. They will help to elongate your face. Or, for example, you are looking for a necklace and mostly you wear V-neck dresses and jumpers. So, probably, you have to decide on an elegant necklace with a pendant.
- Set the budget. If the price really matters and your purchase isn’t really urgent, think about jewelry sales. January, April and July are the best months to buy jewelry. Most jewelry stores lower their prices dramatically and offer favorable deals. If you decide on plated or vermeil jewelry pieces, buy at the end of the fashion season. Most plated jewelry sales run along with clothing ones.
Do a research. If you not so familiar with jewelry terms, do your homework before purchasing anything. First, you will understand all the markings and you’ll be hard to fool. Secondly, you will be able to ask proper questions, if you would like to consult a jewelry expert. Here are the basic terms that you need to know.
- Hallmark is manufacturer’s marking that shows the purity of a precious metal. Two stamps that you can find on a jewelry piece are the karat weight or purity percentage.
- Karat weight is the basic measurement for gold purity. Jewelers use a 1-24 scale, where 24K represents pure gold.
- Purity percentage is given as a three-digit number. For example,” 585” indicates that it is 55% pure gold. In turn, “585” equals 14K.
- Carat indicates mass measure for diamonds and gems.
- Cut is a quality measurement for precious stones. The top cut rating is Ideal and the lowest is Poor.
- Color and clarity. Diamonds and gemstones are rated on a scale from Z to D. D-is a perfectly clear and colorless item. The diamond, that has a rating J and up is considered to be of high-quality.
- Other Markings. “GF” means “gold filled”, “GP” means “gold plated”. “Pt” or “Plat” means platinum, “SS” means “stainless steel”. Also, if it is a ring you may find a single or a double-digit marking for the ring size.
- Ask an expert. It is a considerable advantage, if you can talk to an independent jeweler. Especially, the one you can trust. If you’re lucky enough to have one, consult an expert before the purchase or take him or her to the store.
- Search review websites and social media sites. Real consumer reviews and posts are a great way to find the best jewelry store. All you need is just to go online and do a little research.
Find the right dealer. Decide what you are looking for the most in a jewelry store: large selection, good return policy, favorable deals and offers, fast order processing, friendly customer service, reliable warranty or knowledgeable jewelers.
- Big jewelry chains. Have a variety of most common jewelry items: wedding rings, engagement rings, chains and earrings. They provide good return policy and warranty. Also can run sales and offer affordable deals. But sales staff can be less knowledgeable than independent jewelers.
- Independent or family jewelry stores. Can have a smaller but more diverse selection of items and styles. Also such jewelry stores can make custom design jewelry and perform services like resizing and repair. The jewelers are more expertise. But you can rarely return or exchange pieces of jewelry.
- Antique shops. There you can find really outstanding and eye-catching articles of jewelry. But be ready that you won’t have an opportunity to return or resize the jewelry item.
How to Check Jewelry Quality
It’s easy to fall for a catchy look of jewelry and buy it on the spot. But golden color doesn’t usually mean that the item is made of pure gold. And actually any certificate can be faked. Not to be scammed use the following tips to find quality jewelry:
- Look for noticeable flaws. Especially in color. Pay closer attention to the parts around the edges.
- Magnet test. Precious metals belong to non-magnetic metals. So if the magnet pulls the jewelry item, it is likely to be fake.
- Ceramic plate test. Take a plate and drag a piece of jewelry across it. If the streak is gold or silver, that your jewelry is real. In case it is black, it isn’t.
- Use nitric acid test kit. This kit includes bottles with nitric acid of different saturation degree. Each bottle has a correspondent karat label. To check precious metal karat you should start with the lowest karat and try until you get a reaction.
- Gold density test. Take a measuring cup and pour there some water. Remember the exact amount of it. Then put a jewelry item into the cup. Note the changes in water level. Calculate the difference between the initial and water level with jewelry in millimeters. Figure out the density using the formula Density = mass/volume displacement. For example, your result is from 12.9-14.6 g/ml. It means that your gold jewelry has 14 Karat weight.
Gem Hunt once said: “Any piece of jewelry tells a story”. Make your story unique and unforgettable that each day will narrate a new interesting chapter.