It isn’t that easy to buy jewelry. And this is true especially for those who are fashion forward but may not be as well versed in the grading of metals and gemstones. And yet we all know that the right necklaces, earrings, rings, pendants, and charms can make or break your outfit. How do you make sure your wallet thanks you for your accessories decisions?
Here are a few ways to pick jewelry that works with your own personal brand…and a couple of ways to pick high-end gems without getting scammed.
Pay no mind to brand…to an extent
Most of us would want to buy jewelry from the most sought-after brands. After all; the most sought after brands are dependable and reliable, selling only the finest of quality, right? Wrong. Often buying name brand simply isn’t worth the money. If you can’t find a reason why craftsmanship, selection, or quality would be better with a name brand over a non-name brand, there’s no sense in overpaying. Check out alternatives online as opposed to name-brand brick-and-mortar retailers.
In the market for Swarovski crystals? Yes, they’re probably a lot higher quality than a no-name lookalike. Charms for a bracelet, on the other hand? Go with what you like – the brand isn’t going to make much of a difference.
The fact is that traditional luxury brands don’t often discount the pieces of jewelry they are selling. Rolex, for example, sets a fixed price for their products, and retailers are not allowed to mark them down no matter how much you beg and plead. And while a knockoff is no replacement for a Rolex, you can easily save yourself some money on more generic items if you’re willing to go off-brand.
Silver is timeless.
Most of us love gold and will take it any way we can get it – white, yellow, rose, 14K, 18K, and more. But don’t overlook silver. Gold has a tendency to overpower certain (more subtle) gemstones. However, silver offers a stronger contrast to topaz, pearls, ruby, marcasite, amber and more.
Also, sterling silver is lower in maintenance yet very strong. Try to compare two identical rings: one sterling silver and the other one 24k gold. There is an obvious difference in price, yet the beauty might favor the former.
Know your gemstones.
If you plan to buy jewelry as a gift for someone then it would be wise to know their birthstone. Amethyst, garnet, opal, amber, moonstones, peridot and more make beautiful (and often times cost-effective) gifts. Synthetic gemstones are also great alternatives.
Go with a classic.
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but pearls are tried and true. They can give you more options to choose from, and you can dress them up or down in many ways (see some examples here). Pearls are especially a solid pick for someone on a tight budget because not all pearls are created equal. In other words, you can spend $5000 or $500 on a pearl necklace…it all depends on the grading and type of pearls.
Note that trying to find “natural” pearls, as in those found in the wild, is a fruitless endeavor; they are the rarest and the often most counterfeited pearls. They are hard to find, particularly in the luster and size we often see in jewelry. But don’t go judging cultured pearls just yet – the fact is the vast majority of pearls worn in the world are grown on oyster farms. There’s nothing less “natural” about them; humans have just intervened to streamline the process.
Look at its sheen, luster and the smoothness of the surface. Cheaper options won’t have that nice shine, luster or smoothness. They also will be a bit more transparent. Quality pearls will shine like glass.
Don’t hesitate to ask a jeweler.
Asking a jeweler could definitely help you buy the perfect jewelry that you want. If you don’t have a local, friendly neighborhood jeweler you know and trust, go online and find a gemologist or speak to someone at the GIA. They can help grade stones and are far more efficient at it than you probably will be.