By Donna Jolly, RJ
American Gem Society
You know it’s the holiday season when magazines and blogs run a “shopping tips” article. We thought, though, that you should hear advice from the people actually in the field who have learned a thing or two about best-buying practices: the jewelers. Of course, these are not just any retailers. They are American Gem Society credentialed jewelers. Every day, they help their customers find the perfect piece of jewelry, whether it’s finding the right style or fitting the right budget—or both. Here is some solid advice straight from a few jewelers:
Catherine Fitzgibbon, CGA, from Coffin & Trout Fine Jewellers: “Buyer beware when it comes to 80% off sales, just remember 80% off of what? An overinflated retail price that is not realistic?
Also, your buying experience should be fun and enjoyable. Ask a lot of questions and make sure you are comfortable with the answers. The staff should be professional, well-educated with superior product knowledge and be able to provide detailed accurate answers to all of your questions. If the salesperson doesn’t know what they are selling, then how do you know what you are buying?
Lastly, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Go with your gut feeling on this one as it is probably right.”
Jim Summa, CGA, Summa Jewelry: “If a man is shopping for a gift of jewelry for a woman, we recommend to try and pick up on the style of jewelry she wears before you even walk in a jewelry store. Does she like stud earrings or dangle style? Does she wear yellow, white, rose metals or a combination? Has she dropped any hints lately about what she would like to have or has admired on a friend? It helps to narrow down some choices when there are a lot to pick from. Also ask about wish list items that may be on file at the store. Many salespeople keep notes throughout the year when customers stop in for a routine visit.”
John Carter, CGA, Jack Lewis Jewelers: “Don’t be afraid to take a chance and get something for your loved one that you’re not positive he/she will love. Go out on a limb and choose something that YOU think they will love. Probing and asking too many questions can ruin the surprise and the holidays are about the magic of choosing something to express how much that person is appreciated. If you tip them off to what you’re planning it can take away from that moment and how they feel when they see it. Any reputable store should have a generous enough return policy that will allow for a return or exchange after the holidays. I always tell my clients, ‘I’ll take the risk if you do.’ So go out there and get them something that reminds you of them but most importantly, tell them why!”
Louis Smith, CG, Smithworks Fine Jewelry: “Be sure to always buy from a jewelry professional and not a sales clerk. You will gain knowledge and feel confident in your fine jewelry purchases. Also, if something is less expensive, the first question should be why?”
We also asked Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company for their advice—because insuring your valuable is always a great tip, right?
“Whether you are buying jewelry for a loved one or are the lucky recipient this holiday season, consider how you’re going to protect your jewelry for years to come. Having worldwide comprehensive coverage, such as our Perfect Circle Jewelry Insurance gives you freedom to wear and enjoy your new jewelry now and keep it protected for the future.”
Finally, we have one rock solid piece of advice for shopping for jewelry this holiday season. Shop with a knowledgeable, professional, credentialed jeweler. It will boost your buying confidence and make the shopping experience less stressful. You can find an American Gem Society credentialed jeweler here.
Happy shopping, happy holidays and here’s to a sparkling New Year! We’ll see you in 2015!