If you have never been ripped off when buying stuff online, you’ve got to count yourself lucky because from where we are standing, pretty much anyone who buys stuff online, specifically jewelry, has been ripped off at least once in their lives.
But since no one would willingly give away their hard-earned money, it’s important to take precautions to make sure that the jewelry you buy is some of the best jewelry on the market.
In this article, we look at some of the things you need to do to avoid getting ripped off when buying jewelry online.
How to NOT get ripped off buying jewelry
The first thing you need to do when shopping online for jewelry and for you to avoid getting ripped off is first to know how to buy the best jewelry. Here are some of the things you need to do to avoid getting laid it off.
1.Set a budget and create a plan
The first thing you need to do when shopping for jewelry online and for you to avoid getting ripped off is to come up with a budget and to determine the exact amount of money you’d like to spend on the jewelry. Having a budget is important because it protects you from spending more than what you have.
You also need to decide first-hand what you would like to buy. Having the exact jewelry kind of jewelry that you need to buy in mind is essential as it ensures that you have more control over the jewelry you are buying. Whether you are shopping for the jewelry online or in-store, having the specific details of what you’d like to buy would be a great way for you to save money and to avoid getting ripped.
The most effective strategy for you to avoid getting ripped off is to research. You need to know what you are looking for. You need to avoid buying jewelry on impulse because that is where you often end up buying expensive and overpriced jewelry.
To ensure that your research bears conclusive results, it is important to know and ask the right kind of questions. If you are buying diamond jewelry, for example, you will need to make sure that you know which questions to ask for you to choose the right diamond rings or necklaces.
- How to choose the right diamond ring/ jewelry
If you don’t want to get ripped when buying diamond jewelry, there is a lot that you need to keep in mind, and the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to making diamond jewelry is the 4Cs. These are crucial factors that determine the quality of the diamonds. The 4Cs are carats, clarity, cut, and color.
Cut – the cut of the diamond is the most important factor when it comes to diamonds. To determine the specifics of the diamond’s cut, you need to ensure that the diamond’s cut is certified by the GIA. The GIA’s certification gives you the details of the cut’s grading, and the certified cut stones can be very good or excellent. Note that the best-cut diamonds have a sparkle and a fire to it.
Color – diamonds are graded on a scale from D-Z, with D being the rarest and the most expensive diamonds and Z being lower-quality diamonds that are mostly the result of mixed colors, meaning that they are more affordable and not the best possible investment. The K to L graded diamonds are among the best diamond options, and they would be a good investment option for you.
Carat – The carat refers to the total diamond’s weight, and the diamond’s weight in carats will determine the cost of the diamonds. The price of diamonds goes up when the carats go up.
Clarity – don’t buy diamond jewelry without checking the clarity. Note that the clarity of the diamond refers to the total number of tiny black and white specs in the diamond. These specs are flaws, and the most important thing to keep in mind is that the best grade diamonds are flawless. The level of clarity of the diamond is denoted by FL for flawless. This is followed by IF, VVS1/VVS2, VS1/VS2, SI1/SI2, as well as I1. Often, the IF stones are more expensive than the SI1 stones, even when they look identical to each other, and you can only tell the difference between the two when you look at the diamonds under a powerful magnifier. Note that the clarity grade of diamonds has nothing to do with the diamond’s sparkle.
The second-most important thing you need to keep in mind when buying diamonds and for you to avoid getting ripped off is to buy a certified diamond ring.
The reason why that certification is important is that even with knowledge of the 4Cs, knowing the difference between VS1 and SI2 might not be enough because some jewelers become crafty and laser-drill the diamonds, removing the existing flaws.
Laser drilling will make an SI2 look like a VS1, but you don’t want to struggle with that, hence the need for the certification, which shows that the diamond is an actual VS1 or SI2.
4.Get the diamonds certified by the certified appraisers.
One of the reasons why most people get ripped off is that they take their diamonds to independent appraisers rather than the certified appraisers. To be on the safe side, find a certified appraiser online or offline by your local jeweler. Getting the diamond appraised offers a second line of protection, and you shouldn’t trust your first appraiser. You will know that you weren’t ripped off if the second appraiser agrees with you.
The other thing you need to do to avoid getting ripped off is to check out the past customers’ reviews. Experiences shared by past customers will ensure that you only buy from the jewelers that offer the best products.
The other important questions you need to ask when looking for diamond jewelry include?
Whether the diamonds have been treated in any particular way, for example, have the diamonds been laser drilled or fracture-filled? And if they have been treated, is the diamond’s treatment permanent or temporary?
- Choosing the right gemstones
Some of the important questions you need to ask when looking for the right gemstones include:
- Whether the gemstones are lab-created, natural, or imitations?
If the gemstones have been treated, and how they’ve been treated, and whether the treatment is permanent, and if the treatment would affect the value of the gemstone or not.
You also need to take into consideration the country of origin of the gemstones you buy, and if the gemstones require special care or not.
These questions are important because what you need to know is that all the colored gemstones are treated, and there simply is no naturally-colored gemstone in the jewelry store and if the jeweler insists that it’s natural, ask for the GIA’s stamp of authenticity. Asking such questions is important because most of the time and the stones are injected with colored silicone or glass, and others are irradiated.
- Choosing pearl jewelry
Determine whether the pearls are cultured or natural, whether the pearls requite special care or not, and if the pearls were dyed or treated permanently, and how the treatment of the pearls affects the value of the pearls.
- How to avoid getting duped when buying jewelry made of precious stones
Besides knowing about the specifics of the precious metals used for the jewelry, you also need to make sure that the metals used are safe and authentic. You can tell that the metal is authentic by looking at the precious metals’ compliance and authenticity stamp.
The karatage of the jewelry must be identified to you by the jeweler. Note that if the jewelry is stamped with numbers showing you the quality of the metals that make up the jewelry, you will also need to look out for the jewelry trademark sign/ stamp of quality. Note that the trademark is the symbol placed next to the logo or the initials for the metal. Platinum, for example, is marked 950 when it contains 95% platinum. 85% platinum will be marked 850Pt, while 95% platinum is 950Pt. Sterling silver is 925 Sterling silver for 92.5% silver.
5.Other important considerations you need to keep in mind include these:
- Never trust a set stone, especially because most of the small stones under ½ carats are suspect. Make sure that these stones are well inspected under the magnifying glass, and then have it appraised carefully. Keep in mind that the most expensive pieces will always call for additional attention, the flaws in the stones could be hidden under the prongs, and the bezel-set stones are easily misrepresented in terms of their proportions, weight, and the color. Make sure that the jeweler pulls the stone from the setting, and if they don’t, then you can assume the best. Don’t trust a jeweler if they refuse to remove the stone from the setting as part of the appraisal process.
- If you are buying gold or platinum jewelry, only opt for the 18k pieces because these aren’t easily faked.
- Don’t buy jewelry on your first trip to the jewelry store, and feel free to quote even lower prices the next time you walk into the store. Don’t forget to always bargain.
- Keep in mind that no jewelry piece is an investment, not really.
- Don’t look at a diamond under sunlight, and don’t trust your jeweler if they check the diamond under the sun.
- While the GIA and the AGS certifications are what you should be looking for, you need to remember that these certificates can be faked. To be safe, make sure the jewelry comes with AGS papers, in addition to the GIA certificates.
Also, ask for the make and the proportions of the diamonds.
To avoid getting ripped off when buying jewelry, it would be a good idea to go through the tips above.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.