Getting What You Pay for with Gemstone Jewelry

Avoid Getting Ripped Off

For most jewelry purchasers, your decision comes down to taste and what you can afford. Whether you are a fan of a particular kind of stone, or you are hoping to become an expert in valuing jewelry, you can use the tips below to best protect yourself from getting ripped off:

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* Regardless of the reason you are making your jewelry purchase, research the reputation of the person you are dealing with. The more casual the transaction, the more likely it is that you will not be getting what you think you are paying for. Legitimate retailers who want to establish a good reputation so that they can stay in business remain a gemstone-jewelry buyer's best friend. 

    * Documentation is king. If you are want to create a legitimate trail of ownership, documentation at every step of the process remains the best way to protect your purchase and the legitimacy of your sale. Whether you are buying or selling gemstone jewelry for investment or you are simply purchasing jewelry for personal use, documenting your purchase will help you to establish the authenticity of the piece and the gemstone, determine a value of the jewelry for insurance purposes, and legitimize your transaction so that you can use governmental agencies to assist you if you feel you've been cheated. 

      * The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has guidelines for jewelry sales which allow you to make complaints or file claims about sales where you did not get what you thought you paid for. Purchasing jewelry is a consumer transaction, and there are legal obligations that sellers have in terms of describing jewelry for sale. 

        * Use the FTC website as a resource for tips about jewelry buying and selling. The laws apply to all items and cover anyone offering jewelry for sale. The website includes extensive lists of words that must be used in a legitimate way in the buying and selling of jewelry, such as "flawless" or "genuine" or "natural." These guidelines will help you understand what you want your documentation to say about the piece of gemstone jewelry you purchase.

          * If you are buying jewelry, the seller should have a retail or reseller permit from his or her state. Governments are concerned with collecting taxes. If you are buying jewelry from someone who sells jewelry as a business or part of a business - which is advisable, to avoid being ripped off - that person should have a license or permit that covers jewelry sales and resale. A receipt that indicates this business status, describes your purchase, and indicates that sales tax was paid will help you if you need to complain about the quality of the jewelry you purchased.

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            * A certificate from a certified gemologist is the best way to establish the authenticity of your gemstones. You can ask a retailer whether they can provide you with such a certificate, or you can obtain the certificate after you purchase the jewelry. 

              * Because tracing the point at which a piece of jewelry becomes fraudulent in terms of a particular gemstone is very difficult, you can never be certain that you are getting what you pay for. From certificate forgers to people who substitute stones in jewelry, there are a lot of places in the process that unethical people can ruin the value of a piece. 

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                * Another tool for purchasers of gemstones is to purchase jewelry created by jewelry designers. Designers protect their reputations. They often put out alerts regarding false jewelry sold under their names, because a large supply of fake designer jewelry will, of course, reduce the value of the real thing.

                  Approach purchasing gemstone jewelry as you would any consumer transaction. Consider using the above tips before you make your gemstone purchase in order to avoid being ripped off.