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Insights to Buying Jewelry

buying jewelryWhen investing in jewelry whether gold, silver, gems or diamonds, it is helpful to have some direction and knowledge. This guide provides you with insights to buying jewelry so you know what to expect when walking into any retailer or dealer.

It is essential to do your research and know where your pieces are coming from, whether they meet industry standards and have the proper certifications if applicable.

Appraisals

When buying jewelry, it is helpful to have a valued and respected appraisal. This should be done by a certified gemologist who is part of the American Gem Society. Alternatively there are many independent insurance organizations that can provide you with an accurate appraisal. Companies such as Jewelers Mutual Insurance appraise and insure your investment to protect your jewelry from theft, loss or damage.

Retailers

There are so many retailers and jewelers who have experience in the industry. Finding one that meets certain standards of ethics, integrity and reputation is paramount when buying jewelry. A good retailer should be able to provide you with the following:

• Certification from an accredited gemological laboratory such as GIA, IGI, and EGL
• Guarantee that suppliers are certified and participate in the Kimberly Process which is a global initiative insuring conflict diamonds are not filtered into the industry.
• 10x magnification Loupe to view gems and diamonds
• Identification Number associated with certification
• Money back guarantee no less than 30 days
• A solid reputation within the industry
• A satisfactory standing with the BBB (Better Business Bureau)

Natural Gemstones

gold chainsThese gemstones are mined worldwide and come naturally from the earth. They are not created in laboratories but can be enhanced in a lab setting.

Laboratory Gemstones

These are not as rare or valued as natural gemstones since they are synthetic in nature and created in a laboratory. These gemstones have the same chemical, physical and optical properties as natural gemstones however. They can be recognized by a professional gemologist with testing procedures.

Enhanced or Treated

Gemstones which are enhanced or treated are methods wherein the gems have been improved. These treatments usually enhance clarity or appearance as well as durability. Many are treated in some way as natural stones can be cloudy, have imperfections or discolorations which are not appealing to most buyers. Treated stones should always be disclosed by the seller as some enhancements affect the value and the care needed.

Value

The process of valuing a gem such as a diamond is extensive. An appraiser or gemologist will take a look at four major components. These are the weight or carat, the clarity, the cut of the stone and the color. Each area receives a rating and factors including the imperfections, inclusions and marks of diamonds all play a role in determining value.

Imitations

Many gemstones are created as imitations and can have the same appearance as that of a real stone. They are made to look like natural gemstones in appearance only and do not comprise the same chemical make up as the real thing. Imitations include cubic zirconium, tinted glass and other materials made to resemble a natural stone once treated. Any laboratory created imitation should be clearly labeled or identified as such so the buyer is aware of its true nature and value.

Having a few insights to buying jewelry is important before making any serious investments. It is helpful to do some research into the history of the piece, the setting, the materials used as well as the cut, carat, clarity and color composition of your gemstone. Once you have this knowledge you can have an educated conversation with a jewelry expert and not be scammed or duped into purchasing something not worth its value.