Articles / Quality Vs. Discount Jewelry Here's What You Need to Know...

"Jewelry is jewelry, right? If I can buy a diamond ring for 50% less at the mall, from TV or online, why should I go to a local jeweler and pay top dollar?"

Does this argument sound familiar? If it does, chances are you know someone who has bought jewelry from one of the above mentioned discount sources. Although it seems like a great bargain at first, we believe the purchaser is bound to be disappointed. Here's why...

Many retailers that sell jewelry at seemingly incredible percentages off have been known to inflate the original price of their merchandise to lure you into thinking you're getting a great bargain. The reality is, you probably ended up paying exactly, or perhaps even less, than what the piece was worth. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. It's also imperative to examine and compare the quality of the merchandise being offered by discount retailers vs. your local jewelry store. We believe the old adage still applies: "You get what you pay for."

Stones in the discount piece may be smaller, of lesser quality, synthetic or treated - all of which could lower the item's value.

Prongs could be thinner or weaker - meaning there's a greater chance the item will break and you could lose your stone.

Check the karat mark on any gold piece; the discounter's item may contain less gold than the comparable piece in the local jewelry store (10k gold has less gold content than 14k and is therefore cheaper).

Check the thickness of the metal - the discounted gold ring, necklace or bracelet may be thinner, or hollow, making it cheaper and more vulnerable to wear and tear.

Consider craftsmanship - turn the piece over and look at the back. Is the finish as good as on the front? That's one of the hallmarks of a quality piece of jewelry.

Original, handmade designs are substantially more valuable than generic, mass produced, machine-made discount jewelry.

Finally, check the clasps on items, such as bracelets and necklaces. Better pieces of jewelry will have sturdier components - and they'll match the overall piece in terms of color, texture and design.

David WeissDavid Weiss

Graduate Gemologist, GIA
Certified Appraiser