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25 Things Your Jeweler Won’t Tell You

Find out the secrets to getting the most out of your fine jewelry purchases.

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Those jewels might be fake


Think you got a great deal on that beautiful ruby? It may not be real. A number of jewelers nationwide have been caught selling "composite rubies," which are as much as 40 to 50 percent glass, for the price of the real thing.

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There's a way to check the craftsmanship


A sure sign of bad craftsmanship: rough edges on the back of the piece. If it’s not finished underneath, they’ve probably cut corners somewhere else. Quit making this mistake you make with your jewelry in the TSA line.

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Don't limit your options


If your favorite color is blue, I’m going to try to sell you the most expensive stone in that color, probably a sapphire. But many other stones — including spinel, tanzanite, and tourmaline — also come in blue. You just have to know to ask.

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Accreditation is important


Seek out jewelers who are credentialed by the American Gem Society, which holds them to a high standard of knowledge and a code of ethics.

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It's OK to take your wedding band off


When you tell me, “I never take it off,” I can’t help but think, That’s disgusting. To leave it on when you clean the house, lotion up your hands … yuck. You should take it off. Learn why we wear wedding rings on the fourth finger.

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Clarity isn't everything


If you’re buying a diamond on a budget, don’t get stuck on the clarity grade. You can come down several clarity grades and in most cases will see absolutely no difference with the naked eye, especially once it’s set in a piece of jewelry.

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Be skeptical


If your jeweler tells you that none of his emeralds are treated in any way, he’s probably either ill informed or dishonest. Almost all emeralds today are treated. Find out why some jewelry turns your skin green.

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Keep it clean


Please don’t lick or spit on your finger to get your ring off, and then hand it to me.

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Don't dish out for a specialty cleaner


Clean your gems in warm water with a mild liquid detergent and a toothbrush. For some extra shine on your diamonds (as long as they’re not fracture filled), spray a little Windex on them, then wipe it off. That’s actually what a lot of jewelers use, even the ones who sell expensive cleaner.

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Skip the extended warranty


Extended warranties from jewelry stores typically aren’t worth the money. If you have a rider on your homeowners insurance for your ring and it’s lost, damaged, or stolen, or if a stone falls out, your policy will usually cover it. Keep your expensive jewelry safe by learning the first hiding spots burglars always check for valuables.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest