More Things Your Jeweler Won’t Tell You

Jewelers reveal the secrets of their trade.

By Michelle Crouch

1. Want your ring to look better than rings that are far more valuable? There’s a simple formula: Keep it clean. A clean imperfect diamond is much more attractive than a dirty flawless one.

2. People tend to think that stores that do a lot of volume can give you the best price, but the reality is that the markups at national chains are often a lot higher than the markups at independent jewelry stores. Always check and compare.

3. If you’re paying big bucks for a diamond, always get a certification report from a major lab such as the GIA or AGS.

4. To cope in this economy, a lot of jewelers have transformed themselves into buyers of scrap gold because it’s a way to make quick money. But many have let their merchandise selection slip as a result.

5. Sure, there may be some jewelers who don’t tell their customers the diamond they’re buying is fracture filled. But there are also a lot of husbands and boyfriends out there who don’t tell their loved one that the diamond they’re getting is fracture filled. The woman brings it to me to clean or alter it, all the filling comes out—and I’m the one left in the lurch.

6. If you’re buying something expensive, ask your jeweler to put the details of your piece in writing on the sales receipt. Then take it to a gemologist appraiser who holds a respected credential (MGA, CGA, or CMA). Never deal with a jeweler who doesn’t have a generous return policy.

7. If I tell you your diamond has been “clarity enhanced,” it basically means it had fractures that we filled with glass.

8. Don’t buy a piece of jewelry, then return it with the smell of perfume all over it and say, “My wife didn’t like it.” At least clean it first.

9. If you have a ring that was passed on, but it’s not to your taste, bring it in and have me take the stones out, rearrange it, put it in a new setting. Don’t let it just sit in your jewelry box.

10. Before you complain about your birthstone, find out whether it comes in other colors. Most do. November’s topaz, for example, can be blue, yellow, green, purple, or pink.

11. Just because a stone is a genuine diamond, ruby, sapphire, or emerald doesn’t mean it’s valuable. I can show you some that aren’t worth 50 cents a carat because they’re cloudy or dull, but I can still sell them to you for a big profit.

12. The biggest trend in jewelry right now? Sterling silver jewelry mixed with gold accents. Because gold and platinum prices are so high, we’re selling a lot more silver. Get a polishing cloth to keep it from tarnishing.

Sources: John Henne, president of Henne Jewelers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Clayton Bromberg, president and CEO of Underwood Jewelers in Jacksonville, Florida; Antoinette Matlins, author of Jewelry & Gems: The Buying Guide; and gemologist Renée Newman, author of Gem & Jewelry Pocket Guide.

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  • Your Comments

    • sapphire sterling silver ring

      I couldn’t agree more. well, everything in here might not tell exactly what they mean but they do have a sort of truth in them You should be the one who knows exactly what is real and what he needs.

    • Stever321

      One of the prettiest and hardest rings ever done in my opinion was a gents bezel set geniune Emerald….4 carat Emerald cut…with the family Crest carved deep in detail into the Emerald. The gents mount was Plat. with tapered baguettes drop on the shoulders.
      You are so right Jackie…talk about staying focus and careing :)
      This was 35 years ago…owner of the ring is a Ky Derby horse owner.
      I share this with you knowing you would appreicate the hard, lucky and thought effort everyone
      teamed up to make happen.
      Can’t imagine what that would cost today?
      thought I would share a 3 month transaction.

    • Stever321

      Your article is very fair for the nation wide Mom and Pop Jewelry Store.
      I would add the following info why the customer Should deal with a indepenant Jeweler.
      A local jeweler will give the correct advised on how to take care of their jewelry.
      How to speak the language to the Insurance Co. for Lost or Damage of jewelry.

      Personality, droping the clarity grade one or two grades is a opinion of that Jeweler.
      Its true that Bigger is Better on the engagement ring. Clarity is a good way to get the
      larger Diamond for a set budget. As long as the experience jeweler is saleing a good cut
      and colour…In fareness that’s my opinion.

      I think most Mom and Pop Jewelers generally go overboard to make sure the customer is
      100% satisfied. They do want the Christmas, Anniver, Birthday and the over all jewelry
      repair business.

      • jackie kendall

        I own a Mom and Pop jewelry store and I am able to get any grade, carat, cut, clarity you can want. Its not that we go overboard, its that we care, something that other people in the industry seems to forget about a focus on the profit margins. We forseen the downturn of the economy and have tried to prepare for it the best we can. People are still going to get married, still buy birthday gifts, give jewelry. We have always bought Gold and Silver, T.V. has upped its hype. It is a service I am able to help in. I dont fix cars, I dont paint houses and I dont teach school….I am your neighborhood Master Jeweler.

        • Themiterbox

          Well put. Years ago when I sold jewelery I would tell my clients that there are five occasions per year that they may need my services: Birthday, Anniversary, Mothers Day, Valentines Day, and Christmas. I then told them that I do not expect to see them for each one of those, but should jewelery fit thier needs for an occasion I would want them to know they could visit with me and I would be able to accomodate thier special event. Trust is so much easier to maintain in a local environment and Mom and Pop stores do that better than anyone else.