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The second rule in buying jewelry sounds simple. It is to expect to pay for what you get, and to get what you pay for.
Simple as that sounds, unfortunately, buying jewelry is not simple. Knowing what to look for in jewelry can and may help protect one from being cheated, but the primary protection is not to listen to the larceny in your soul. Human nature may be such that everyone wants something for nothing, especially expensive “something.” Yet, getting fine jewelry, such as karat gold and diamonds of top clarity, color, cut, and size, for next to nothing is impossible. Nobody “gives away” such valuable items, or any other valuable item, out of the goodness of his heart or because you have an appealing face.
To go back to cars and furs. No one interested in buying such a car could mistake a Cadillac for a Rolls-Royce. Anyone interested in furs can learn about them, but all that glitters is not gold, or platinum or silver. All that is diamond-bright is not a diamond. And all that is ruby-red is not a ruby. What the jewelry may actually be is the most difficult knowledge to get or learn of all luxury purchases, in that what we see is not always what it seems to be.
The only way to be absolutely sure of what you buy is to buy it from a reliable and reputable jeweler who stands behind what he sells. That way, if the jewelry turns out to be different from what it was sold as, the jeweler will refund your money or replace the jewelry for the sake of his reputation.
There may be times when you do not know a reliable jeweler, when you may be tempted to buy because of jewelry you see in a store, window, or online store, or when you want to buy jewelry away from home. In those instances, and there are probably others, you want to know what to look for and what to ask. Those considerations hold for both precious metals and gems.
In United States and other countries, laws require the quality standard to be marked or stamped on precious metal. Do not take everyone’s word that a jewelry is “solid gold,” “pure gold,” or “genuine gold,” or that is sterling silver or any other kind of silver. What one need to see and see for yourself is the quality standard marking, even if you need a jeweler’s loupe or magnifying glass to do so.
Standards of what can be called gold vary tremendously around the world, and that is another reason for insisting on seeing the quality marking. The U. S. minimum is 10 Karat, with lesser quantities considered to contain too little gold to retain the characteristics of real gold.
In short, just calling an item “gold” tells nothing. The metal should be marked as follows:
22 Karat or 0.916
18 Karat or 0.750
14 Karat or 0.585
10 Karat or 0.417
Silver jewelry standards are universal in comparison to gold. Sterling is marked “sterling” or 0.925. Other marking may also be found, such as 0.800, which is used for some jewelry in some countries. This jewelry may not be sterling, but it still can be beautiful, as long as you know what you are getting.
Hallmark may be used as well. In the United States, a hallmark is the stamp or mark of the manufacturer of the jewelry. On general, however, marks and symbols are signs of quality. Most countries that use them have stiff penalties for their misuse.
One should look at the jewelry just as carefully for other tests of quality. First, rub the jewelry hard with your thumb. The base metal will show through jewelry that is thinly electroplated. At the same time, check for any rough edges. Most better gold jewelry is cast with lost wax method, which leaves no casting marks. Less expensive jewelry may be more cheaply cast or stamped, leaving the marks of the mold or stamping that have to be filed off afterwards. Anytime there are rough edges or bumps, double check the quality of markings. Fine precious metals are too expensive to be used in any except the most finely made jewelry. If you like the jewelry anyway and the price is so inexpensive (anther indication that it may not be a precious metal) that you feel you can afford to take a chance, go ahead. Otherwise, back off and do not buy that jewelry item.
The article above can be used on your web site or newsletter. When it is published, may I request that you include my name and resource box (the bio, contact and copyright information) that follows the article. I would also appreciate if you could send me an email of notification along with a complimentary copy of the publication.
Copyright 2005 Bijan Aziz.
Bijan Aziz is the owner and Web Master for The Jewelry Hut http://www.thejewelryhut.com – the best source for fine Diamond, Gemstone, and Pearl Jewelry on the web. Customer Satisfaction is of paramount important to The Jewelry Hut. Buy with confidence at The Jewelry Hut.