Tag Archives: buying tips

Selecting the Right Gemstone

Whether you’re a newcomer to the gem world looking to add color to your wardrobe, or a veteran gemstone wearer fine-tuning your look, finding the right gemstone jewelry is a key way to express your own personal style. But this doesn’t have to be a grueling decision. Here are some practical tips for selecting gemstone jewelry that works best for you.

Developing Your Own Style
First of all, any gemstone jewelry you select must be comfortable. For instance, make sure necklaces hang at the “right” length for you and lay well around your neck. Experts offer similar advice for earrings: with dangling styles, make sure they hang at a comfortable length, fit well against the ear and don’t tip forward. Likewise, bracelets and rings should fit comfortably and shouldn’t slide off with a simple shake of your arm or hand.

Next, the jewelry must be appropriate for your personality and lifestyle. A glitzy necklace that would dazzle for a night out on the town probably wouldn’t work for someone with a more casual outlook. Intent is important. Are you looking for a fashion accessory to match certain outfits, a particular season/event or a specific function, such as jewelry for work? Or are you looking for a piece you will wear everyday? Obviously, things like fashion, price, versatility, durability and other factors will play differing roles in your buying decision, based on your intent.

As for which color best suits you, one way to determine this is to take stock of what’s already in your closet. What clothing styles, colors, materials, lengths, etc. are most prevalent? This will give you important clues about the specific gemstone jewelry that will work best for you. In addition, look at your makeup, scarves, hair accessories, and current jewelry for more cues about the jewelry colors and styles most appropriate for you.

Finally, consider your physical features: body type, face shape, finger/hand length and width, hair/eye color, complexion and other characteristics. These factors also will play a key role in determining which gemstone jewelry will look best on you.

Seeking Quality
Once you’ve got the style down, you want to be assured of the quality of any piece you’re interested in buying. Keep in mind that quality determines the value of a stone. Like diamonds, gemstones are judged by the “Four Cs” of color, clarity, cut and carat weight, with color the most important consideration, by far. The better the color, the higher the price. Better clarity and better cut also cost more – and generally, the larger the stone, the more it will cost per carat. Even to an untrained eye, many of these kinds of differences can be seen when similar stones are examined side-by-side.

Other factors that may influence the price of a gemstone include whether it is readily available on the market or subject to supply limitations; whether it’s a “hot” color or stone right now, or for various reasons may be unpopular; whether it’s a single stone or part of a matched set, particularly in special shapes or cuts; and sometimes, its origin (for every stone, there is a particular location known for producing the finest quality variety of that stone – and often, you’ll pay more for a stone from that prized region because of its reputation).

But quality extends beyond simply examining the stone. You need to pay special attention to the setting, as well. Make sure the metal holds the stone firmly and squarely in place. Check prongs to make sure they are tight and sturdy. Look at the finish – is the metal well-polished with no pockmarks or other imperfections? Also, turn the piece around and examine the back – a well-made piece of jewelry will have a good finish on both front and back. If the piece is gold, check for a karatage stamp, as well as a company trademark stamp. This means the company is standing behind the product and assuring you the karatage is as stated. As for bracelets or necklaces, check the clasps, as well. A quality piece of gemstone jewelry will have sturdy, quality clasps.

The Jewelry Insider

January 22, 2009

Jewelry.com posted a great article written by a frustrated fella who vents about his fears when buying jewelry. Sounds like he knows a thing or two as well. Enjoy guys…and get those Valentine’s Day plans in gear!

A Guy Tells it Like it is

What really strikes fear into men’s hearts is trying to buy a gift for a spouse or a girlfriend. What does she like? What does she need? What’s her size? Will this gift really knock her out?

Left to our own devices, we men too often come home with “safe” gifts – flowers, chocolates, fashion, items for the house – that require little or no knowledge of what she really desires.

#1: Not asking for help
It’s no secret that we hate asking for directions. Most men would rather drive around in circles for hours rather than stop and ask someone how to get somewhere. It’s hard to tell if this is some biological imperative imprinted into our genes, or a behavioral thing impressed upon us almost from the time of birth. Maybe a combination of both. But the fact remains that, if you’re a guy, you’re supposed to be in charge: a leader, a navigator, an expert at map reading, with an innate sense of direction. Woe to the traitor that breaks this code.

Well let’s face it… This “predisposition” can be very dangerous when trying to buy a jewelry gift for a girlfriend, daughter or wife. It is necessary to seek help in these cases. The first thing you need to do is help yourself by doing some research… Pay attention to the jewelry she wears now. Pay attention to the clothes she wears most often, and make sure you pick jewelry that matches and complements them. Finally, go snooping in her jewelry box, and look at what’s in there that she has but doesn’t wear. Look for items that are missing a piece – does she have a ring and necklace in a particular gemstone, but no earrings to match?

#2: Not educating yourself
Buying a gift for a loved one can be a daunting experience. And buying jewelry as a gift is even scary at times. Jewelry is probably the most intimidating gift a man could purchase. Many of us don’t know the first thing about the “4Cs,” much less all the different stones and types of metal available. And we definitely cringe at the thought of facing a salesperson without being prepared.

So, before hitting the store to come home completely discouraged, do your homework in our “Education” section. Learn as much as you can about jewelry – metals, precious, semi-precious or lab-created gems, pearls, prices, retailers in your area, etc. Information on jewelry will make walking into a store a comfortable experience. And the results will be rewarding; your purchases will be intelligent and very personal. It will be easy to dazzle a loved one with your knowledge, which will again show how much thought you put into this.

#3: Not pre-shopping
It’s a known fact that men hate to shop. Take us to a car dealership, the local Sharper Image store or Best Buy, and chances are we’ll cruise along like kids in a candy store. But watch a guy in a supermarket wandering up and down the aisles looking for olives, or some hapless, dazed soul trying to find his way around a mall or department store. You get the idea! The problem is that there is no substitute for pre-shopping.

Once you’ve figured out what “she” would like, done your homework and learned all you ever wanted to know about jewelry; it is necessary to see what’s out there and who has the best selection for your needs. One big reason we built Jewelry.com is so you can browse through a wide assortment from many reputable retailers at your leisure, in the comfort of your own home (in your bathrobe, unshaven if you like!). Since you will have done your homework before pre-shopping, you’ll realize that it’s much easier when you know white gold from platinum and tanzanite from garnets!

#4: Not choosing the right retailer
Regardless of where dad bought mom’s engagement ring, a larger jeweler is often the best bet. They buy in volume, and so get better pricing. They have multiple locations, so even if you move, change jobs, etc., it’s no problem. They have a solid, clear return/refund policy. They have a complete quality control policy. Finally, they are established companies that are going to be there to serve you for the long haul..

#5: Not buying jewelry because it’s “too expensive”
Jewelry is the gift a man can never go wrong with. After all, it’s beautiful, valuable, romantic, lasting, versatile (the same piece can be appropriate for many different outfits and occasions), and the ultimate symbol of love.

One of the biggest mistakes is to think that you need to be Rockefeller to buy fine jewelry. Actually there is a wide variety of fine jewelry for $100-$200. That’s not to say you shouldn’t spend more for that “special something.” It’s just that as an educated consumer, you can decide what to get. You’ll know the different karatages of gold can have as much of an impact on price as the carat weight of a gemstone. You’ll know there are beautiful and very popular semi-precious stones that will please just as much as precious stones, and cost a lot less.

Flowers Aren’t Forever… If you follow these simple rules, your gift-giving experience will be greatly rewarding. It is a pleasure to see a loved one’s face light up when receiving that little box. It’s even better to see her face light up again 10 years from now when she remembers the trouble you went to (sure, let her believe it was a hassle…) to get that special something. After all, great things come in small packages.

The Jewelry Insider

October 13, 2008

Diamond engagement rings are quite possibly the most important jewelry purchase a guy will make in his lifetime (let’s hope it’s only once in his lifetime!). Hey, if Howard Stern can do it, so can they. But it’s true most men don’t know the first thing about buying jewelry – let alone THE jewel.

Ladies, here are some tried and true tips you can sneak under his nose to help nudge him in the right direction. And for the guys out there, this one is for you!

  • Know the Four Cs – Cut, clarity, carat and color are the main factors that determine the quality of a diamond and thus, its price. It’s critical to educate yourself in each of these areas before you start shopping.
  • Do your homework – shop around, look at stores’ Web sites, ask trusted friends and relatives where they buy their jewelry, do jewelry research on the Web. In other words, arm yourself with as much information as possible before you’re ready to make the purchase.
  • Know her style – pay attention when she admires someone else’s engagement ring or a ring in an advertisement; ask her friends and family what she likes. Look in her jewelry box; notice the style of jewelry she already wears. Also note the kind of metal she prefers (yellow gold, white gold, platinum). Go shopping with her at the mall and browse by a few jewelry stores; you’ll get to see first-hand what really catches her eye.
  • Find her ring size – Just imagine – you pop the question, she happily accepts, she starts to put the ring on – and it doesn’t fit. What a letdown. You want that magic moment to be perfect. So either get a ring from her jewelry box and bring it with you, or make an impression of her ring in soap or clay, or trace the inside of her ring on a piece of paper, or even put her ring on your own finger as far as it will go and mark that spot with a pen. A jeweler can get an accurate measurement through any of these strategies. And of course, you can always ask one of her best friends or relatives for her ring size – just be sure you choose someone who can keep a secret.
  • Have a budget in mind, but be flexible – Diamonds are available in a range of prices, so you’re certain to find one that suits your taste and budget. Once you understand the Four Cs, you’ll be able to find a stone that represents the best value, based on the combination of color, cut, clarity and carat weight you desire. But don’t automatically pass up the “perfect” ring just because it’s more than you planned to spend. Remember that this is an investment that will last a lifetime – and it won’t depreciate in value. As for how much you should actually spend, consider the commonly accepted guideline of two month’s salary. However, this is only a directional tool to help you establish a budget.