It is almost time again for Valentines’ day.
Custom has it that during this romantic season, people send cards, flowers, chocolates and other special gifts to their loved ones. However, finding that perfect gift can potentially be a stressful and time consuming process.
If you are planning to buy jewellery, here are some tips to help you pick that perfect piece:
Know the tastes of your loved one
Does your partner like traditional gems and designs or is he/she inclined to novel, eccentric or unconventional styles?
Look at what your partner wears and what's in their jewellery box. If your special someone often chooses simple designs, avoid buying bold or vibrant pieces. If your partner is an active individual, don't buy jewellery with high settings, as the stones can fall off easily when they are accidentally hit against a hard surface. This is also true when buying a watch, as dainty or fragile pieces will not be able to withstand long-wearing or active use.
Do your research and learn the lingo
Check out some online guides and sites to help understand terms like diamond clarity and cut, grading of gemstones, difference between precious and semi-precious stones. Also check for reputable jewellery stores to ensure that your pieces are from reliable sources. If you are lucky, you might encounter an ongoing sale to better manage or even increase your budget. Note that you may find the best pieces for your budget, but don’t be dazzled by discounts.
Take precautions against fraud
Choose a jeweller who has both formal gemological education and/or jewellery manufacturing training in addition to practical experience.
Look for the maker’s mark on the piece of jewellery. A maker’s mark is a stamp of authenticity – proof that a particular manufacturer made it. It’s like a painting being signed by the artist.
Be careful of jewellery stores that always offer discounts of more than 50 percent. Buyers may find the discount price is actually the average retail price elsewhere. Only buy from a trusted retailer. Ask your friends and relatives for recommendations.
When buying jewellery with a diamond, you should insist that your purchase comes with a Gemological Institute of America (GIA) certificate. The GIA certification is an independent and reliable grading report which documents the specific characteristics of all diamonds.
Check on the source of the diamond
Diamonds are valuable minerals. As such, a problem that often arises from this would be the smuggling or misreporting of the origin of diamonds. Many nations are plagued with the movement of illegal substances and the smuggling of valuable commerce and trading of diamonds falls under this category as well.
Another issue would be illegal mining of diamonds. Illegal mining results in illegal sales of diamonds that are sold for lesser price and reduce profits of some major jewellery companies.
Consider buying a synthetic diamond
If you want something sparkly but want to avoid gems from dubious sources, an alternative option is to buy synthetic or man-made diamonds. These diamonds are about 20 percent to 40 percent less expensive. They are produced in a laboratory, and are chemically the same as mined diamonds, as opposed to simulated diamonds, which are usually cubic zirconia or moissanite
Examine the gems
Check that the gems in the piece of jewellery are secured tightly to the mounting. Otherwise, your gems could be at danger of falling out. Also, do remember to check for any damaged stones prior to purchase. You can do these by using the jeweller’s loupe (jeweller’s magnifying glass) in order for you to be able to look closely for chips and abraded facets.
Enquire and understand the return policy or warranty
Make sure you take with you a warranty card. Many jewellery stores also offer complimentary cleaning and checking for loose or damaged gems services, pre and post-sales. Consider it as an annual health check-up for your precious jewellery.
Above all, prior to making that big and significant purchase, you might want to do some research and determine your budget. This will be useful in shortlisting the options. Also, do take advantage of any post-holiday sales or limited-time Valentine's Day deals. Shop early to ensure that you’ve got all the grounds covered to find that perfect gift.
'Tips on Buying Jewellery' is written by Regina Baxter, Regional Fine Arts Specialist & Business Development Underwriter, Personal Risk Services.
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