October 04, 2017 5 min read
One of the most common Google searches when it comes to find a local jewelry store is “jewelry stores near me.” Which makes sense. But just finding a jeweler that’s close to you is the lowest possible standard when looking for a jeweler.
There are other good questions that are worth asking. For example, not all jewelry stores are the same. What are the different kinds of jewelry stores and which one is right for you? What other kinds of services are important to you after your purchase?
We’ll cover all of those questions and more in this article.
Let’s dive in!
Something that’s not always obvious is that all jewelry stores are not the same. There are pros and cons to different types of jewelry stores. We covered that more deeply in this article, but here’s a quick recap.
Big Box Store Jewelry Departments: Did you know that stores like Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and Costco sell huge quantities of jewelry every year? The advantages of these jewelry departments are that they offer low prices and you typically don’t have to engage with a sales person in any substantial way.
The cons to these departments are that they typically carry low quality items. Not to say these items are “bad.” But by professional jewelry grading quality standards, the items fall on the lower quality end of the scale. You’ll see a lot of 10 karat gold, cubic zirconia or white topaz in place of diamond, and low quality diamonds.
The staff that works in these departments often aren’t well trained in areas like gemology.
Chain Retail Stores: The next important kind of jewelry store is the retail chain store (like Kay, Zales, and Jared). These stores have the comfort of nationally recognized brand name. You’ll find them in convenient locations like shopping malls in busy parts of town.
As a general rule you’ll find jewelry that’s of a higher quality than jewelry found in big box retail jewelry departments. Many of the sales people have at least a basic level of knowledge around jewelry and gemology.
These stores typically carry their own in-house collections and have their version of a “branded diamond.” The “Leo Diamond” at Kay Jewelers, for example.
Like big box jewelry stores, you’ll often see that the quality of their diamonds is on the lower end of the quality grading scale. Many of these stores’ jewelry is manufactured with “promotional quality” diamonds, which means the quality is typically in the “I” range, or has many inclusions visible to the naked eye.
High End Brand Stores: These are stores like Tiffany & Co. or Cartier. Their jewelry typically has a bigger focus on the artistic design behind a piece, uses higher quality metals and gemstones, and comes with a price tag that reflects the prestige of the brand name.
In many cases, you’re not just paying for the jewelry itself, but you’re also paying for the reputation of the brand name and the “bragging rights” of the jewelry being from an internationally known jewelry store.
Local Independent Jewelers: Local jewelers tend to be independent professionals with many years of experience in the industry. In comparison with the sales people you’ll encounter in big-box, chain, and even high-end brand stores, independent jewelers are often trained experts in fields of gemology, jewelry design, and goldsmithing.
They often offer many services in-house instead of shipping jewelry off for repair or modification. And in many cases, most of the jewelry sold in their stores is hand-selected with an expert eye rather than shipped in bulk from a corporate office.
You will often receive a higher level of personal service and receive higher quality of jewelry from a good local jeweler.
The down side to being a smaller retailer is the lack of large volume buying power that big-box and chain stores possess. In some situations, you may pay more to receive the higher level of quality and service.
Which jewelry store you should choose really comes down to the nature of the purchase, and your own personal value system when it comes to what you want the purchase to mean.
If you’re someone who values shopping local, skip the big-box and chain stores and jump straight to comparing local jewelers (more on this below).
If you’re someone who doesn’t care about price and must have the prestigious brand name, consider planning a romantic afternoon with your partner going to lunch then shopping at Tiffany or Cartier.
If you’re someone who’s not concerned with quality, and just wants a good style for a low price, then big-box and chain stores might be more your speed.
Look at the pros and cons of each type of jewelry store, then begin comparing stores within that category of stores.
When comparing jewelry stores online, one of the best indicators is online reviews like those on Google and Facebook.
If you’re looking at local independent jewelers, for example, start by seeing who the top 3-5 stores might be. Next, look at both their star rating and the number of reviews they have. A store that has a 4 star rating but has 200 reviews might be more reliable than a store that has a 5 star rating and 3 reviews. Is 3 reviews really enough to get an accurate picture of how that store serves its customers?
And finally, read some of the reviews to find out why people like that store and see if it aligns with what you’re looking for in a jewelry store. If you’re looking for high quality, good customer service, and fair prices, make sure you’re picking a store that’s famous for delivering those things.
Something that many shoppers don’t consider when making a purchase is the maintenance and care that goes with owning jewelry after the purchase is made.
For example, will the jewelry store you choose size the ring in-house? Or will they ship it off to a corporate service center, which can often take weeks?
If you’re buying higher quality jewelry, will the retailer help you with the necessary documentation to insure your jewelry?
Do they offer any kind of in-house cleaning and basic maintenance support that will keep your jewelry looking clean and beautiful?
These are all things to consider before choosing a jewelry store.
Buying, owning, and gifting beautiful jewelry is one of life’s great joys. But it might not feel that way if you’re stretching and stressing to pay for your engagement ring or that special birthday present.
Make sure the jewelry store you choose offers payment options that work for you. Many jewelry stores today offer options like layaway or zero percent interest financing, like we do here at Garcia & Co. Jewelers in Farmington.
Make sure each part of the jewelry buying experience works for you, including how you pay for it.
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