With the holiday shopping season approaching, the American Gem Society (AGS) often receives questions from shoppers seeking jewelry buying tips and secrets. We thought we would answer the top five most frequently asked questions to help ease the pressure of this hectic season.
1. "How do I know if I’m getting a good deal?"
Our answer is simple: trust your jeweler. Do your research, read reviews of their store, ask friends and shop with a credentialed jeweler. We take great efforts to vet all of our members, to make sure they continue their gemological education and that they adhere to the AGS standards of business conduct. You can, of course, find an AGS member jeweler on our website at www.americangemsociety.org/find-a-jeweler.
2. "What’s your best advice for buying fine jewelry online?"
Though the prices for jewelry found online are sometimes lower, AGS recommends that consumers see, touch and feel the jewelry they are considering to purchase—especially diamonds. Online purchases can look very different in person than on a screen.
3. "Before I buy gems that have been altered to enhance their appearance, is there anything I need to know?"
Make sure that the piece comes with the proper disclosures and that you understand how to care for the stones. Ask your jeweler if the treatments are permanent. For example, fracture filled diamonds can have their filling damaged by an ultrasonic cleaner or steam cleaning. Some irradiated stones are susceptible to color change with high heats such as that from a jeweler’s torch.
4. "When should I get an appraisal?"
There are different kinds of appraisals for different purposes. The most common reason for an appraisal is to obtain insurance to ensure a replacement of equal quality and value in the event of damage or loss. For this purpose, either an Insurance Replacement Appraisal or Statement of Replacement Cost should be requested.
The Insurance Replacement Appraisal represents the retail replacement cost of a comparable item. The Statement of Replacement Cost is provided by the actual seller of the item of jewelry and will report the actual selling price based on the normal selling price of that item in that particular store. In general, you want to get your appraisal updated every two years, or if you have a significant life change. Of course, the best reason to get an appraisal is if the piece has significant meaning to you.
You can search for a trusted AGS appraiser in your area on our website at www.americangemsociety.org/find-an-appraiser.
5. "Should I ask for a diamond grading report when buying a diamond?"
Yes. Only purchase diamonds that come with diamond grading reports from reputable laboratories that adhere to a strict standard of diamond grading. As with all fine jewelry purchases, it's important to make your diamond purchase with a trusted jeweler.
Here are two videos featuring the CEO of the American Gem Society and AGS Laboratories that will give you more insight on shopping for diamonds:
We do hope our answers to your questions above will give you some peace of mind. Be rest assured, when you shop with a trusted jeweler who is knowledgeable and adheres to the AGS mission of consumer protection, you can shop with confidence! All of us at American Gem Society we wish you all the best this holiday season!