If you are ready to purchase gemstone jewelry, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the shopping choices available. From bricks and mortar stores with glittering showcases to online retailers featuring thousands of items, choosing where to buy can be as difficult as deciding what to buy. In this article, we will explain the most common places where jewelry is sold so you can make the best purchasing decisions based on price, convenience, and what kind of shopping experience you are most likely to enjoy.
Online shopping has its advantages. You can browse literally as many items as you like, all from the comfort of your home or the convenience of your mobile device. Many online jewelers have zoom features in their photography so you can get up close and detailed views of items you may be interested in. Often, multiple angles are visible as well. Online jewelers will often provide a list of specifications that include metal type and karat, total carat weight of gemstones, even country of origin. Other benefits of online shopping include the absence of pushy salespeople and the ability to shop when it is convenient for you, as you are not limited to store hours. The disadvantage to shopping online is that you cannot see or feel the piece of jewelry first hand until you have already purchased it.
Buying From an Independent Jeweler:
Shopping for jewelry from an independent retailer can be a pleasant and educational experience. Knowledgeable store owners or salespeople who are eager for your business will often spend extra energy making you feel welcome. Expect to be treated well, perhaps offered a refreshment, and polite conversation. Building a relationship with an independent jeweler has benefits. They will often remind you of important occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. They may contact you if they receive new inventory that they think you might be interested in. Independent jewelers will often have customer appreciation events that can be quite enjoyable. They may feature trunk shows, where a jewelry designer or representative makes a personal appearance in the store and offers unique items not otherwise available. Often, an independent jeweler will service your jewelry, providing maintenance and repairs if needed. The downside of shopping with an independent jeweler can be limited selection, limited hours, and commission-based salespeople that may be more interested in closing a sale than in your particular taste and budget.
Buying From a Liquidator:
There is a certain triumph that comes from getting a great bargain, and if you are bargain hunting for jewelry, a liquidator might be a good place to start. Often, you will find prices far below what a traditional retailer is able to offer. A jewelry liquidator’s goal is to move product as quickly as possible and deep discounting is not uncommon. If you have done your research, know what you are looking for and what you are willing to pay, finding jewelry at a liquidator is not a bad choice. Liquidators are also a decent place to find estate jewelry, or jewelry that has been previously owned. The downside is that liquidators generally do not accept returns of any kind, as deeply discounted sales are usually final sales.
Buying From a Gem Show:
Purchasing jewelry from a gem show can be a great idea if you have an eye for quality and have some gemstone and jewelry knowledge. Knowledge is an important safeguard against being subjected to overpricing. At a gem or jewelry show, you are a few steps closer to the source, farther away from the “end user” part of the supply chain so it is a good way to get better pricing. By eliminating the “middleman” you also eliminate the middleman’s markup. A gem or jewelry show can feature vendors from all over the country, so you can expect an exciting selection. The downside is that many gem and jewelry shows are not open to the general public: you may need a certificate of authority or a resale license to get in. Additionally, you may not be able to return anything you have purchased.
No matter which shopping experience you choose, one thing that is important in each arena is educating yourself on the type of jewelry you plan to purchase. There is no customer more appreciated than one who is well informed, no matter what the setting may be. Whether you want the laid back experience of online shopping, the personal attention and service an independent jeweler is able to give, or the excitement of shopping at a gem show, there is a unique experience out there just for you. Where do you plan on shopping next?