5 questions to ask before buying your next piece of jewelry

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Jewlery buying tips

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Buyer beware! Sparkling jewelry displays are designed to play to your emotions. Jewelry expert Carol Brodie shares the five questions Savvy Spenders need to ask before making the splurge.  

Is the Jeweler Reputable?

“I want to know where I am,” Brodie says. “Am I in a reputable jewelry store? I want to know when I look at my gemstones, is it synthetic or is it real? Real comes from within the earth, synthetic is grown in a lab.”


Where's the Certificate?

Brodie says when you’re talking about major gemstones - diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires – those have to come with a cert, or the birth certificate for those gemstones. Do not walk out of the store without it, she warns. It’s your proof of what you own.

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Has the Stone Been Treated?

Consumer Reports recently unveiled a report that found a lot of jewelers will do things like laser drillings to enhance the look of jewelry. Brodie has tips to avoiding such gems.

“If you had a trained human eye you could, but everyone else needs to ask the jeweler,” she says. “And the jeweler needs to have full disclosure. If they don’t, I would walk out that door. I’d run! Then they’re going to write it down for you on your warranty…There’s no being tactful when you’re buying because if you walk out of that store and you don’t know what you got, tactful won’t really matter. Ask every single question. Ask if that gemstone is enhanced. Ask if it comes with a certificate. Does it come with a store certificate or does it come with a gemological certificate?”

Where's the Stamp?

A stamp is also key in determining what the metals your jewelry is made of. She says look for platinum stamped “PLAT 950,” Gold stamped from 9K to 24K – but stick within 18K or 14K range – and sterling silver stamped “925.”

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“If this piece is not stamped, I’m leaving the store because if you’re not selling stamped jewelry, I don’t know what you’re selling,” Brodie says.

Next, when it comes to getting a good deal on jewelry, Brodie recommends shopping at pawnshops and estate jewelry shops.

“They need to be reputable,” she warns, however. “And just like when you purchase a car, new off the lot, it’s losing its value the minute you drive it off. You could get the buy of the century and something with a history and a story, memories right in that piece.”

What's the Return Policy?

Finally, never walk out without your return policy in writing. Make sure it covers at least 30 days after the purchase and offers cash back upon the return, says Brodie.

As always, we want to hear from you. What are your absolute best jewelry buying tips? Connect with me twitter@Farnoosh and use the hashtag #FinFit. 

Special thanks to Avianne & Co. for making this video possible.

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