|A popular gift during the holidays is always jewelry. Whether you’re going for a special diamond ring and popping the big question or you simply want to purchase a nice bracelet or watch for your significant other, jewelry stores do a good business during the holiday season. Indeed, engagement ring purchases see a significant uptick in December, with around 15% of couples choosing that month to get engaged. If you’re shopping for fine jewelry, especially diamonds, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. You should look for jewelry that’s GIA certified (that is, certified by the Gemological Institute of America). A good jewelry store will take the extra steps to make sure that their jewelry is GIA certified. We’ll cover other need-to-know items below, so you can make the best purchase possible.
Why Fine Jewelry?
Jewelry can really make the difference in an outfit. Costume jewelry will often suffice the majority of the time, but sometimes you want something a little extra special. Fine jewelry can also either be a great, everyday wear — a simple gold necklace or pair of diamond studs, for example — or be broken out for special occasions — if you have a beautiful statement gemstone necklace or a fine bracelet that’s a family heirloom.
A piece of fine jewelry can be a “forever” piece and a signature piece that lasts you for years and years. And in some cases, it might also hold sentimental value, if it’s an heirloom piece or something your significant other bought for you. And fine jewelry adds a bit of class and polish to anyone wearing it — quality is often easy to tell, even from a distance.
What Should I Know When Shopping for Fine Jewelry?
If you’re just starting out your collection, go for more timeless, elegant pieces like necklaces, bracelets, or earrings. Solid gold or silver, pearls, and diamonds tend to be favorites in these categories. Gold, silver, and platinum will have markers, noting what grade it is — make the sure the karat, metal content, or sterling silver notation is clearly marked on the piece.
For diamonds, you should know the quality is based on cut, color, carat, and clarity, often known as the “4 C’s.” Don’t be afraid to comparison shop and quiz the salesperson a little on grading guarantees, diamond treatments, and appraisals. You want to make a well-informed purchase, after all.
If buying gemstones, you should always get everything in writing, including a sales receipt or appraisal listing, or a certificate of replacement cost.
Do check out the jewelers you’re visiting too. What are their reputations like? The Internet can be a gold mine for this kind of information, so be sure to do your research — not just on the jewelry, but the store selling it as well.
As mentioned above, jewelry that’s GIA certified is always good to look for; just make sure you leave with a copy of the certification in hand.
How Does One Maintain Fine Jewelry?
Unfortunately, fine jewelry is not a “set it and forget it” kind of thing. Upon purchasing, you should always ask your jeweler what’s involved the care and cleaning for the piece before you leave the store. Other than that, it’s also suggested that your jeweler check out your fine jewelry at least once a year for repair and upkeep purchases.
In general, you should be wary about exposing them to too much light or heat for long periods of time; it can affect the coloring of many gemstones and pearls. Keep them away from chemicals as well and make sure you have the right kind of storage. If you’re cleaning them yourself, always make sure to use a soft, lint-free cloth to avoid scratching or marring the gems. Any pearls that are worn with regularity should be restrung at least once a year.
Investing in fine jewelry and treasuring the pieces you do own can give you a little extra boost of self-confidence. Wear your fine jewelry — be it a necklace or a bracelet— with pride. With proper care, they will indeed be “forever” pieces!