Buying jewellery is not the same as buying clothes or accessories. Because you may have been purchasing clothes and accessories almost every few months, you’re probably a pro at it. But how often do you buy jewellery? Not only have you been through the process of buying jewellery less often but it is also more complex than picking out some tops and bottoms to form an outfit. You have to consider stone cut, color, clarity, size, karat of metal – plenty to make your head spin.

Chamathka Jewellers has come up with an expert guide to help purchase the right kind of fine jewellery for you or your loved ones.

 

Know your metals

Gold

When dealing with gold jewellery, one should know that Karats (KT) is the measurement of purity of gold. While 24KT is the purest form, it is too soft for jewellery making. Hence most jewellers use 22KT - 91.6% gold and other metals such as zinc, copper and silver are added to make the jewellery stronger. In the case of white gold, palladium is the alloy used for the remaining percentage of metal while rose gold requires an increased concentration of copper. Jewellers usually engrave a marking on the ornament as to which form of gold has been used in the making (22KT, 18KT, 14KT, etc).

 

Silver

Fine silver – the purest form (99.9%) is extremely soft, flexible and links easily with minimal tarnishing.

Britannia Silver – is 95.8% pure and is mixed with 4.2% copper and is used mostly for decorative Britannia silver coins.

Sterling Silver (92.5%) – is the most popular type used for jewellery purposes and is alloyed with 7.5% copper for additional strength and durability.

Your choice of silver should depend on what your intention of use is. Most people prefer sterling silver as a good, general purpose, precious metal. Sterling silver is also low maintenance and very strong. When comparing a 24KT gold ring and one of sterling silver, the price difference will be vast, but the beauty and durability will certainly favor silver.

Sometimes the love for all things gold can be overshadowed by exclusive silver jewellery. Gold tends to overpower the beauty of certain gemstones and can make it hard to define stone cuts. Silver jewellery is a stronger contrast to stones such as ruby, topaz, marcasite, pearls, amber, and many others.

Price fluctuations in the silver market are more volatile than gold. This is because the price of silver is determined by its perceived role as an industrial metal and as a store of value. The industrial supply/demand equation for the metal strongly influences its price – and this fluctuates with new innovations such as silver being used in the photography industry, in electrical appliances, in battery production, and so on.

 

Platinum

Platinum is also traded round the clock like gold and silver but the price of platinum jewellery tends to be slightly higher than gold in a stable market because it is rarer – less of platinum is excavated from the ground annually.

 

Know your stones

Gemstones come in many varieties – natural, lab-created or imitation. Natural gemstones are mined in different locations across the world. Precious gemstones like rubies and emeralds may be enhanced with heat treatment to produce a better color and clarity. While some of these treatments are permanent, others may not be. Hence it is very important to inquire about the quality of natural gemstones. Colored gemstones are generally graded based on color, clarity and sparkle. Precious white stones could fall under the diamond category. Buying diamonds with GIA or IGI certificates are best for purchasing. Cubic zirconia is a good alternative when diamonds are not in your budget. Understanding the quality of the gemstone in question helps make better purchasing decisions. Always make sure you ask for a certificate for the stone quality with whatever purchase you make.

If you want to gift a friend, an item that has the person’s birthstone is a good idea. Ruby, sapphire, and emerald are steeply priced options. But semi-precious stones are a worthy economical alternative and are known for their uncommon and unique presence.

  • Moonstone
  • Amber
  • Peridot
  • Garnet
  • Opal
  • Amethyst

 

These are just a few that are sure to impress your loved ones. If buying jewellery for yourself and you cannot choose one stone, a good idea is to make a set that comprises of a few multi-colored stones which can complement with a range of different outfits.

 

Study your pearls

Pearl jewellery is an iconic complement to all styles and beauty.

Pearls have a different grading and pricing system as compared to other precious and semi-precious stones. When you buy pearls, you must know that there are three grades of these. Natural pearls are the rarest and hardest to find. Natural cultured pearls are farmed and cultivated, and can be found anywhere. Imitation pearls are plastic and resemble nothing of the real grade. Notice the quality of a pearl by its luster, sheen, and smoothness of surface. As opposed to transparent bodies, the more expensive pearls must shine like glass with a faint opalescence.

 

Know Your Style

Classic

If your wardrobe, or the person you are buying jewellery for has a wardrobe consisting of a majority of polo shirts, sweaters, blazers, and button-downs, pearl necklaces, ear rings, rings, and bracelets are definitely the most classic jewellery item you can buy.

 

Athletic

If you are an athletic, jewellery may not really be your style at all. But the athleisure look can be enhanced with simple studded silver jewellery. Your casual look can be maintained with sterling silver rings, casual bangles, or sleek bar earrings. When choosing your jewellery, keep it simple while making sure it looks spontaneous!

 

Bohemian/Artsy

If you fall in this category, there is surely a lot of jewellery that you can look out for. Unique handmade jewellery would be your ideal style so keep an eye out for hand-hammered, hand-engraved ornaments with unique gemstones and designs that are one in a million!

 

Rocker/Edgy

Is your wardrobe full of black? Go for rustic diamonds or oxidized sterling silver jewellery to suit your style. You could add some warmth to your look with autumn-colored diamonds, or make it a bold look with cuff bracelets.

 

Vintage/Feminine/Romantic

Women who are more of the feminist or romanticists prefer fancy and pink. Those should go for face-framing dangling earrings, long silver necklaces with pink sapphires or gleaming moonstones. Rose gold and silver jewellery looks soft and lovely on every skin type.

 

Minimalist

Want to keep looking simple and sweet? Accentuate your outfit with small and dainty pieces such as studded pendants, earrings, and thin bands. You could expand with a stack of thin bands or a layer or thin silver necklaces. Delicate jewellery does not make stacking overwhelming – so it can be fun to experiment with different colors and metals.

 

Trendy

Trends always change, but jewellery that makes a statement will never go out of style. Chunky rings with an unusual gemstone, a dramatic cuff bracelet, or a tassel necklace with a long gemstone will really do the job of turning heads!

 

Gifting by occasion

Jewellery can stand the test of time and bring great delight to the wearer – making it the perfect gift for a special occasion. All types of jewellery can be perfect for any occasion, but some jewellery varieties are popular for certain occasions.

 

Anniversaries

The popular choice for wedding anniversaries is a diamond band – the number of diamonds on the band being the number of years spent together. Be sure to know the right ring sizing of your better half in this case. While pendants and earrings are also preferred as anniversary gifts, halo styles are very much popular because of its significance and wow factor.

 

Birthdays

Pendants, earrings and rings are popular for birthday jewellery gifting. More often than not, people choose their favorite gemstone, making it ideal for special or daily wear.

 

Valentine's Day

Red colored gemstones such as ruby and garnet are traditional Valentine’s Day gifts. Infinity pendants, love knots, and journey pendants are also gifting of sentimental value that are ideal for this occasion.

 

Mother's Day

A beautiful piece of jewellery is the key to any mother’s heart. Key pendants, solitaire pendants and cluster pendants are something she will truly treasure. Customized silver jewellery such as loop pendants with the name of each child attached to a chain is also a popular option.

 

Graduation

Graduating from college or school is a massive step towards walking into the ‘real world’. A classic addition to his/her jewellery wardrobe is perfect. Something that can be worn to work – stud earrings and solitaire pendants for her, silver tie pin or a studded gents ring for him can be striking and memorable.

 

Find the Right Jeweller

  1. Ask for recommendations: Jewellery is very much of a relationship-driven industry, which means word-of-mouth is the best way to get recommendations from a trusted friend or family member.
  2. Find reviews: Use social media to request your followers to input their reviews. You can also do your own digging by looking through profiles of prospective jewellers, seeing how many likes and followers they have, and seeing what kind of customer reviews are posted there.
  3. Better Business Bureau (BBB): In addition to customer reviews, check on the jeweller’s BBB to get a more accurate perception.
  4. Meet their professionals: when discussing what to purchase from your preferences, you can ask the salesperson serving you if you can speak with a GG – Graduate Gemologist, or any other expert from behind the scenes. Certified specialists can handle your questions regarding stones, metal, carats, and regarding any customization or repair work needed.
  5. Consider after sales services: Will the jewellery store do routine cleanings if you approach them? Do they offer free lifelong updated appraisals?
  6. Ask for certificates: This is the best way to make sure the jeweller is not cheating on you.
  7. Check the fine print for return policies and warranties. Jewellers with strict guidelines are best avoided.
  8. Be comfortable: Choosing a jeweller is a personal decision. Once you’ve done all the research, go with your gut and select one who you will be comfortable working with.

 

Compare Prices

When comparing prices, a customer should keep four things in mind:

  1. Purity of the metal
  2. Understand the exchange policy offered
  3. Know the warranty of the product
  4. Ensure a transparent break-up of the bill.

If you are concerned about being tricked while buying gold or silver jewellery, here are a few things you should know:

 

Studded jewellery

When selecting from a range of studded jewellery, the value of the item has to be calculated based on the entire weight of the piece of jewellery minus the weight of diamonds and/or any other gemstones used. The cost of these stones should then be added separately.

 

Pricing of the metal

Gold and silver are priced based on the percentage of precious metal used and the type of metal mixed with the precious metal. Because silver and gold are highly exchanged commodities, the prices vary every day, depending on supply, demand, and other factors. The difference in the buying and selling rate is the main factor that contributes towards the varying prices in jewellery.

 

Making charges

Depending on what type of jewellery you are buying, the making charges will differ. Every ornament requires different styles of cutting and finishing, fine detailing, and can be machine-made or man-made (the latter costing more). Making charges are determined either as a percentage of the precious metal value or as a flat charge per gram value of gold/silver.

 

Get a second opinion

Buying something as precious and valuable as jewellery is always best done with a companion. Taste is always subjective so even though you may find a piece to be attractive, another may not see it the same way and may advice on a better option. So, it is a good idea to tag someone along when buying jewellery – someone who you know will give you an honest opinion.