How to Buy Gold Jewelry

Talk about intimidating! Negotiating with jewelers has to be the most difficult negotiation for the casual shopper. Typically we don't know a whole lot about stones, settings and value. What we do know is that size does not matter when it comes to stones; quality does!

The other challenge is that jewelers simply exude confidence, knowledge and a type of sophistication. They dress the part, act the part and are surrounded by all this....gold! In the final analysis, they are actually just salespeople.

Here are four simple tips on how to negotiate for gold jewelry that will help you buy the right piece for a fair price:

Before talking price determine what you want to get.

iStock_000001705396-sm.jpg1. Get to know Jewelry. Do online research to get an idea of the options available to you. Go to a number of jewelry stores to expand your awareness of what might fit your needs. Ask questions. Learn the difference between the grades of stones and content of gold. Know what 12 karat and 18 karat really means. Find out the different colors of gold and how the colors are created. In short, learn all you can before trying to actually buy something as expensive and important as a piece of jewelry.

2. Separate your wants and needs. We all would like the biggest and the best whether it is a car, a diamond ring or anything else. But what we want and what we need are likely very different. When shopping for a special piece of jewelry it is easy to be distracted by our wants unless you establish a narrow focus on what you really need. Then the challenge is to make sure you get the best quality for the price you can afford rather than be traded up to something pretty on the outside but have lesser quality and, therefore, be of lesser lasting value.

3. Specify what you want and start the negotiation. Once you have established the basic composition, setting, stone design, characteristics and budget you are ready to start shopping in earnest. Go to several stores and tell each salesperson specifically what you are looking for. If they insist on showing you other items take them off your list. You, as the buyer, are not limited to what one store has in inventory. There are lots of jewelry stores. You can also seek on comparable items on line that meet the specifications.

When you see what you want, make a list of the attributes of the particular piece or pieces and the price. Get this in writing from the jeweler. You have the most leverage when the seller knows you are informed and have choices. They then only have the ability to make their item competitive price-wise. Go back to each jeweler until you are satisfied that you have the price down to a realistic range.

Finally you should select the jewelry store or vendor offering the best all-around value for a piece that meets your needs.

4. Verify before you buy. Having agreed on the price you will want to confirm all the attributes you used in your selection. Review the certification on any stone you have selected. Certifications should be provided by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the International Gemological Institute (IGI). Check the stone under magnification for flaws such as cracks or pitting. Examine the setting and prongs. If the jeweler takes the stone away to be set into the ring, cleaned or any other purpose, recheck the stone when it is returned to make sure it has not been swapped out. You want to make sure you are actually getting what you paid for. This double checking is a good practice to do whenever you lose control of a precious stone.

Now you can feel good that you have made a good purchase of a piece of jewelry that meets your unique needs and budget. The fun part comes next when you give it to that someone special or wear it for the first time. Enjoy!