James Allen’s Guide to Buying Jewelry The Right Way

Whether you’re shopping for an engagement ring, a gift for a special someone or just looking to treat yourself, finding the right piece of jewelry can be a challenge. Knowing the quality and value of any given piece can be tricky, but with these tips, you can buy the perfect piece of jewelry for the right price.

Don’t Just Look At The Brand Name

While you might want to impress with a piece from somewhere like Harry Winston or Tiffany’s, remember that costs may be inflated. Like with lots of high-end brands, you are paying for the jewelry, as well as the name. The glitzy red carpet appeal of a Harry Winston diamond is tempting, but you can often find a high-quality stone from independent jewelers, online stores or boutiques for a fraction of the cost.

Don’t Be Afraid to Wait for a Sale

If the price is a sticking point for you, don’t think you have to also sacrifice quality. Most jewelers have regular sales, and you can score a high-quality diamond ring at a great price when the jewelry goes on sale. If you’re shopping at an independent jeweler, don’t be afraid to haggle for a better price! You can often get a better deal than what the piece is originally displayed for.

Examine the Quality of the Jewels

If you’re not an expert, it’s hard to know the true quality of the stones in any given piece — especially if you’re eyeballing them. Ask the jeweler about the history of the stones and ask to see certificates of authenticity. Inspect the jewels closely, asking for a loup from the jeweler to find any flaws or fissures. 

If you’re shopping for a diamond, you might even want to ask them to remove the stone from its setting to inspect it further. Sometimes, jewelers will use a setting to hide a stone’s flaws: a crack can be hidden, or the diamond’s true size or color is camouflaged by its surroundings. Do your research on the type of stone and how it should look before pulling out your wallet.

Consider Buying at an Auction

Public auctions are a way to find unique, vintage pieces that you won’t be able to get anywhere else. If you’re looking for a true statement piece, this could be a good option for you. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you will be competing with professionals. Jewelry dealers, retailers, and brands often attend public auctions for the same reason. 

One tip from a top jewelry insider is to attend an auction closer to Christmas — this is when the major players will have already made all their purchases for the year, so you are more likely to score a bargain!

Consider Buying at an Auction

Know What You’re Looking For

This is especially important if you’re buying a gift, or the biggest purchase of all: an engagement ring. It doesn’t matter how expensive or high-quality the piece is if it doesn’t fit the style, personality or desires of the person receiving it!  Perhaps its important that they can wear jewelry at work as appropriate. 

For someone who works with their hands, they will require a stronger ring consisting of durable materials like platinum and diamond, as opposed to softer and more delicate materials like gold and opal. Try to emulate their current style: for example, if the person you’re buying for wears simple, delicate pieces, they might not enjoy a big ring with oversized stones.

Look at Lab-Grown Diamonds

In the past, a lab-grown or synthetic diamond might have been seen as a cheap alternative to the real thing. However, science has come a long way and lab-grown diamonds are growing in popularity and style. Newer, man-made diamonds are grown using the same material as natural diamonds, giving them the characteristics. Many retailers like James Allen or Brilliant Earth give the option to use either natural or lab-grown diamonds, giving you the opportunity to see the difference in appearance and price for the same piece.