Determining your metal. Most metals are mixed with others to increase durability. Take gold for example. If you are buying something that is 24 karat gold, that means it is 100% gold. However, gold is an extremely soft metal and is often mixed with other metals to make it more durable. The mixing of metals can also make the item of jewelry more affordable. Precious metals like platinum can be very expensive and mixing it with another metal can bring the cost down without influencing the quality of the piece. Make sure to ask the jeweler if the metal has been mixed with anything. This is especially important if you have allergies to any specific types of metal.
Looking at precious stones can be a challenge. Whether you’re buying a necklace, ring, or earrings precious stones are often incorporated into these pieces. Gemstones, pearls, and diamonds often undergo different treatments to give them different qualities. Ask your jeweler about what treatments that particular stone has received and how it’s going to affect it in the long run.
Check into the return policy of the jeweler before you buy. Trust your instinct, if the jeweler seems shady; don’t be afraid to back away. The last thing you need is to purchase an inferior quality jewelry piece and not be able to return it.
Be aware of your audience when you purchase a piece of jewelry. For example, if you’ve been dating someone for a long time but aren’t ready to make the plunge into some kind of long term commitment you should probably stay away from any kind of ring. Rings, in particular, are loaded with symbolisms that tell someone that you’re in it for the long haul.
Finally, if you’re sure you want to buy jewelry for yourself or someone else but you’re feeling nervous, take someone with you. It never hurts to have a second opinion and an extra pair of eyes out there to look out for you.