7 Ways to Save Money on Jewelry

April 19, 2013

Gold ornaments and dollarsThere’s something about having a little bling that can make anyone feel a little bit better. While I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, I do like to have a few items (in addition to my wedding band) that I enjoy – and that I can wear for special occasions.

Buying jewelry, though, can be expensive. If you want to save money on jewelry, here are some cost-saving techniques:

1. Avoid the chain stores.

That jewelry store in the mall? The galleria on the corner? It’s going to have a huge markup. I know someone in the jewelry business; he tells me the markup on jewelry in the chain stores can be as much as 700% or 800%.

Consider a smaller, independent jeweler. For years, my parents drove an hour to the small shop owned by one of their old friends. The quality of the jewelry was higher, and the prices lower, than what was seen in the chain stores. Shop around and compare prices.

2. Look online.

It’s possible to find high quality jewelry on the Internet at discount prices. Without salespeople, premises, and other overhead costs, online jewelers can offer lower prices. And, of course, if the seller isn’t adding a huge markup, that helps too.

You do need to be careful when buying online, though. Deal only with reputable sellers with generous return policies.

3. Get the gem properly certified.

Make sure that the jewelry you buy is properly certified by the American Gem Society or the Gemological Institute of America, especially if you are paying a lot. Take it to an independent appraiser with the right qualifications.

Whenever you buy, ask to have the specs of the gemstone and the metal in writing. Then, take it somewhere to be verified. That way, you know that you got what you paid for.

4. Buy in silver.

With gold prices near $1,500 an ounce, many jewelry-buyers are seeking silver. I’ve always preferred silver, so this isn’t an issue for me, but those who like gold might find it necessary to “settle” for silver if they want to save. If you must have a little of that yellow color, you can buy silver jewelry with gold accents to keep down the price. When you buy silver, though, you need to know how to care for it so that it doesn’t tarnish.

5. Consider alternatives to diamonds.

I’m not a huge fan of diamonds. They’re expensive, and a little boring. My favorite gemstones are emeralds and sapphires. I also like pearls. However, these can get a little pricey, too. But they often cost less than diamonds. If you don’t have to buy diamonds, you can save on jewelry by purchasing pieces set with other stones.

6. Buy used jewelry.

You don’t need to buy something new. In fact, you can get great deals at pawn shops, and by using the Classifieds. Online auctions and estate sales can also be good places to buy used jewelry. You do need to be careful, though, since you might not be sure that you are getting something genuine in a private sale. When possible, ask for certifications, and ask if it’s possible to hold the funds in escrow or make other arrangements while you have the jewelry properly certified.

7. Remember that bigger isn’t always better.

If you want to get the best bang for your jewelry buck, especially if you are buying diamonds, remember that there’s more to a truly valuable gemstone than size. Clarity, color, and cut also matter. Sometimes, bigger gems have more flaws. You might be paying more because some jewelers get you to focus on the size, and pay for something big. However, a large stone with many flaws might not, in actuality, be more valuable than a smaller stone with fewer flaws. But if you don’t know that, you might end up paying more because you’re dazzled by the size.

What are your best tips for saving money when buying jewelry? Leave a comment!


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Miranda writes about personal finance almost every day. An experienced freelance writer, she's covered your money online and in print from every angle and is always looking for new ones.

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2 Responses to 7 Ways to Save Money on Jewelry

  • David

    Miranda, I am actually looking to buy my gf something very nice for her birthday. I am definitely going to take you up on this advice. Thank you for sharing!

  • Russell Matthews

    Yes, do be careful buying Jewelry online. This is one of the very few items we actually encourage people to purchase in store. Still, you can search for online discounts on your phone and ask the store if they price match!