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Before You Buy Jewelry and Gemstones: What You Need to Know

Sep 11, 2008
Asking the critical questions is crucial to getting the right jewelry at the right price. If you're comparison shopping for gemstones or jewelry, there are a few key questions you should ask of every jeweler and about every piece before you buy. In this article, we cover them all.

Remember, a reputable jeweler should be able to answer all these questions and include their responses on your item's bill of sale. Always have all gems' statistics verified by an independent retailer.

For someone to pose as a phoney jeweler, it is not that difficult to con the unsuspecting into purchasing fake jewelry that looks real to the naked eye at high - but discounted - prices. So requesting that your jeweler respond to key questions should help to build your confidence that you are working with a reputable individual.

Keep reading to learn what to ask before you buy your next piece of jewelry:

1. Is this a natural stone or a synthetic stone?

Bear in mind that synthetic stones can legally be described as "genuine," so don't get confused. Natural stones are mined naturally and develop with little human intervention. Synthetic stones are typically grown or "enhanced" with chemicals.

2. Is the color all natural?

Some gemstones can be enhanced with dyes, heat treatments, radiation, oils or colored waxes. Before you buy, ask if the color has been enhanced. Be sure to protect yourself against buying dyed pieces that won't retain their colorful brilliance over a long period.

3. What is this stone exactly, and what does the name mean?

Always be sure you understand the name of a particular stone. For example, "Rio Topaz" is a gemstone, but it's not topaz. Ask specifically what a stone's name means and whether it is natural, genuine or synthetic.

4. Is the clarity acceptable? Do the inclusions devalue the stone or affect its durability?

Because too many inclusions or flaws can actually negatively impact the durability of your stone, it's important to ask your jeweler to be up front about the effect a particular diamond or stone's inclusions will have on your purchase.

Ask him or her to write this answer out on paper and bring it with you to your independent appraisal.

5. Do you like the color? Is it too dark or light?

Color is often a personal preference, but asking your jeweler's opinion can give you an indication of how a particular stone's color can affect its value.

Use some common sense in your own assessment of the stone. If it's unattractive to you, there's a good chance that many others would view it similarly, and thus its true market value may not be as high as it is being sold for.

6. Will the color stay permanently?

Similarly to the second question above, because some color enhancement methods are temporary, it's important to ask if a stone's color will fade over time. Even with natural stones like amethyst and kunzite, fading is possible. If the color does indeed fade over the years, your own enjoyment of the gem will likely fade as well.

7. Does this stone need a special, protective setting?

Some less durable stones, like emerald or opal, require a protective setting designed to keep the stone safe in case it's banged or hit. These types of stones ought not be set up in a vulnerable or unprotected casing. Such protective settings will obviously add to your overall cost, but would be well worth the investment if the gem were to be damaged.
About the Author
For information on exquisite jewelry ideas to enhance your natural beauty, please visit www.jewelryadvance.com, a popular site providing great insights concerning personal adornment, such as John Hardy jewelry , cultured pearl necklaces , discount diamond earrings and many more.
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