A good jeweler not only sells quality items, but does quality repair work as well!

Over the years, I have gotten the feeling that, for many people, navigating the jewelry world is a lot like steering a ship through fog. It’s confusing and can slightly creep them out. People don’t know who they can trust, and they worry that the smiling sales person behind the counter is really just a pirate looking for gold. Argh! Well, I can assure you that while some jewelry stores do employee the occasional pirate-like workers, that there are plenty of businesses out there that stick to regular jewelry-loving folk like yours truly. It can be hard to tell who is which, though, so there are some general guidelines you can follow to help demystify the whole process for you.

Finding a jeweler that fits you—your personality and your style—is super important and the first big-picture consideration when finding a jeweler. If you are a cool chick (or dude) lookin’ for some homespun, handmade silver jewelry, then search for an artisan jeweler or maybe a local mom-and-pop store. If you like the fancy stuff (one diamond tennis bracelet and one Rolex, coming up!), then look for a jeweler who specializes in high-quality, higher-end items. Once you know the kind of jeweler you are looking for, then you are ready to find that specific person who will meet your needs, be honest, treat you respectfully, and do the best work for you and your pieces.

The first step to finding a good jeweler in your area is simple: ask around! Ask co-workers or friends what jewelers they have used and what their experiences were like. I would also recommend contacting the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and/or your local town business association, as well as reading reviews and doing research online. The BBB and other business associations are particularly good resources if you are looking to purchase an expensive piece or need a repair done on something of great financial or sentimental value. You can also go to www.jewelers.org and search to find a Jewelers of America (JA) member near you. The JA is an organization that prides itself on professionalism in the jewelry arena, as do its members. Not all JA members are created equal, however. For example, the popular, kiosk chain, Piercing Pagoda, is a JA member…and so is Tiffany’s. Those two jewelers are very different in many

Not sure you are getting the best price? Shop around and do your homework! While brands like Tiffany & CO offer a great product, you will oftentimes pay for the brand name, like you would for any other product.

ways, but both of them have committed to upholding high standards and fair practice.

Now, let’s say you have done the research, made the phone calls to friends, and have found what you hope is your knight-in-shining-jewelry extraordinaire. The jeweler, of course, is still new to you and may not have totally won you over just yet. When dealing with your newfound shiny friend for the first time, you might want to give them a little test run by asking them to perform a very minor repair, such as soldering a silver chain or adding a charm to a charm bracelet. If all goes smoothly and you are happy with your interactions with the jeweler, the service you received, and the quality of the work they performed, then you can have a little more faith in them to handle something more difficult.

This same principle can be applied to weed out the pirates when you are attempting a first time purchase at a jewelry store. If in the future you might be considering a larger purchase—say a new watch or diamond studs—try out a jewelry store by making a small purchase, like a birthday present for your niece, for instance. Even most of the very high-end, super-shiny jewelry stores offer lower-priced items, such as silver and gold charms and chains. It’s perfect for a first interaction and will help you get a sense of how the store operates and treats their clients.

Also, if you are new to the “high-end” jewelry world, don’t feel intimidated when browsing or purchasing something small. A good jeweler knows every customer, no matter the size of the purchase or if they are just looking, is important to their business.

Happy shopping!

Cheers,

Jess the Jeweler