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Where to purchase a diamond or gemstone jewelry; Retailer or E-Retailer?

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Celebrating a Special Occasion with Jewelry

Nothing more personal than our response to color.  Color is the new language of passion, and nothing captures it better than distinctively styled jewelry.
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The Jewelry Hut
Engagement and Wedding Rings
The Buying Guide

Engagement Rings and Wedding Rings through the Ages

Deciding where to purchase a diamond or gemstone jewelry; Retailer or E-Retailer?

Finding a reputable jeweler

It would be difficult to give any hard and fast rules on this matter since there are so many exceptions. Size and years in business are not always absolute indicators of reliability.  Some one person jewelry firms are highly respected; others are not. Some well established firms that have been in business for many years have built their trade on the highest standards of integrity and knowledge; others have not.
One point worth stressing is that for the average consumer, price alone will not be a reliable indicator of a jeweler’s integrity or knowledge. Aside from the basic differences in quality that affect price, and which usually will not be readily discernible to the consumer, there are cost differences resulting from differences in jewelry manufacturing processes.  There are many jewelry manufacturers selling mass produced lines of good quality jewelry to jewelers all across the country.  Mass produced jewelry, many of which show beautiful, classic designs (often very similar to those from the most prestigious firms), are usually cheaper than items having a more limited production. Then there are designers who create unique pieces or limited quantities of their designs, which are available in only a few select establishments.  A premium is always charged for handmade or one-of-a-kind pieces, since the initial cost of production is being paid by one individual rather than being shared by many, as in mass produced pieces.
Furthermore, jewelers do not all use the same retail markup.  Markup depends upon operating costs and credits risks, among other things.
The best way to select wisely is by shopping around.  Go to several fine jewelry firms in your geographic area and compare jewelry items and the prices being asked for them to get a sense of what is fair in your market area.  But as you do, remember to ask the right questions to be sure you are comparing gemstones of comparable quality, and pay attention to design and manufacturing details.

Buying jewelry on the internet

E-commerce is the current buzzword, and gem and jewelry online jewelry E-stores are showing up almost daily. you can find unmounted diamonds and gemstones, along with numerous engagement and wedding ring styles.  The internet opens doors to more choices than ever imagined, often at prices that are comparable, or lower, than what is typically found in traditional jewelry stores.
Buying on the internet can be fun, and there are increasing number of reliable E-retailers online which have been in business long enough to have a good track record and reputation for reliability.
But E-commerce is not for everyone, and risk of buying something that is not properly represented is higher; it is essential to buy from a source with an established reputation, and from one you can actually find should it be necessary. Before flying off into cyberspace, take time to consider some of the pros and cons.
For many, the major attraction of shopping online is convenience and the “money back guarantee” with no questions asked. It is fast, easy, and private, enabling you to make decisions without feeling pressured or intimidated by salespeople. For those who live in remote areas far from fine jewelry stores, and for those with too little time to visit numerous jewelry stores in the quest for that “perfect” ring, it provides an opportunity to see what is available and what’s new and exciting.  The internet can enable you to learn more about everything from gemstones to the latest award winning designers. Many online vendors also provide educational sites to help you understand more about what you are buying.
It is easy to see the allure of internet shopping. The first disadvantage is the inability to see and compare the gemstones firsthand and to determine how well made the ring is or how it might compare to alternatives.  It is impossible to accurately judge beauty and desirability from a static photo, and you can’t see and appreciate the unique “personality” of any gemstone from an online image.  On the other hand, many couples are not as passionate about the personality of a particular gemstone. Whether shopping online jewelry store or at a traditional jewelry store, your main concern may simply be that it sparkles and looks like a diamond! In such cases, the benefits of buying online outweigh this negative. As long as the online jewelry store offers a money back guarantee (and it is a reliable online jewelry store with an establish reputation), you can always return it should you be disappointed.  Just be sure to ask about the vendor’s return policy and read the fine print. Find out how quickly merchandise must be returned and whether you will receive a refund; be leery of vendors who will only a credit toward future purchases.

Form of payment may provide protection

There are several payment options that might provide some protection.  Credit cards offer the most consumer protection, usually including the right to seek a credit through the credit card issuer if the product is not delivered. If the seller won’t agree, other options include setting up an escrow arrangement (for which there is a nominal fee) or using a reliable third party for verification, such as a well known gem testing laboratory, before an exchange of products or money.
To sum up, if you are buying an engagement or wedding ring or any jewelry piece; from E-retailer jewelry or individual, the rewards may be great, but not without risk.

To conclude

We hope you are now better informed about engagement and wedding rings or any jewelry item and how to buy them.  Use the information provided here (with these articles), but remember, it takes years of formal training and experience to become a true jewelry, diamond, or gemstone expert.  For important purchases, always verify the facts with a qualified gemologist appraiser.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any additional information or have any questions.

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To Web Masters:

The article above can be used on your web site or newsletter.

When it is published, May I request that you include my name and resource box (the bio., contact and copyright information that follows the article.  I would also appreciate if you could send me an e-mail of notification along with a complimentary copy of publication.

Bijan Aziz is the owner and Web Master for The Jewelry Hut.

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