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Jewelry Buyer's Guide & Advice

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Interesting Facts on Jewelry

woman wearing costume jewelry

“I adore wearing gems, but not because they are mine. You can’t possess radiance, you can only admire it.” – Elizabeth Taylor

Jewelry accentuates natural beauty. It draws attention to and highlights key body parts, or to top off their outfits. It is an accessory to brighten up a little black dress, a plain white t-shirt, and makes you feel beautiful and stylish.

Whether you wear jewelry for religious reasons, as a symbol of your marital status, or for good luck and protection, it is a powerful statement of self-expression; it’s display is significant.

Jewelry Shopping Advice

pearl necklace

You’ll find jewelry to fit every style, from vintage to designer, to tribal and artisan, to semi- and precious stones and metals. When shopping for a new addition to your jewelry box or as a gift keep mind the following tips:

Use and Function:

  • What occasion am I purchasing this for?
  • Will I wear this more than once?
  • Can I wear this for work and for social activities?
  • Can I wear this when I work out?
  • How often do I want to wear this?

Color:

  • Is this my favorite color?
  • Is this the right color birthstone?
  • Does this color symbolize anything important?
  • Is it too colorful? Too dull?

Personal Style or outfit:

  • Does this piece compliment the outfit or make the outfit?
  • Does it match my everyday style? Does it enhance it?
  • Is it traditional and classic or more outgoing and fresh?
  • Do you feel comfortable wearing it?
  • Does it make you feel good?

Cost:

  • Is it within your budget?
  • Will this be an investment or a future heirloom?
  • Is it made from quality materials?

Types of Jewelry

There are many types of jewelry: for men, for women, for babies, for weddings, for anniversaries, for everyday fashion, and for special occasions -- made specifically to adorn and highlight specific features of your face, body, or outfit.

Rings

Earrings

Necklaces

Cufflinks and Cuffs

Tie Clips

Body

Bracelets

Choker

Anklets

Pendants and Charms

Watches

Pins and Brooches

Costume Jewelry & Fashion Jewelry

silver and gold watch on display

Costume and fashion jewelry are terms used interchangeably to refer to cheaper jewelry that mimics the look of fine jewelry, but costs less. That’s because costume jewelry is made with less expensive materials with plated metals and glass or fake gems.  Your local department stores, discount stores and outlets are great places to find affordable fashion jewelry and costume jewelry.

Personalized Jewelry

You can make a gift of jewelry even more meaningful with personalized details such as a name, initials, monograms, birthstones, engraved verses, dates, or other special wording.

Tip: A great gift of personalized jewelry for any mom is a ring or pendant with the birthstones of her children.

Birthstone Guide

January

Garnet

February

Amethyst

March

Aquamarine, bloodstone

April

Diamond

May

Emerald

June

Pearl

July

Ruby

August

Peridot, sardonyx

September

Sapphire

October

Opal, tourmaline

November

Topaz

December

Turquoise, zircon

Gold Jewelry

Gold jewelry is a great investment because its value may increase, it doesn’t tarnish over time like other metals, and it doesn’t stain skin because it does not react with elements that cause tarnish. Gold jewelry is also an extremely classy gift. From fine chains to larger pieces…white gold to rose gold, you’re bound to impress most any taste with this precious metal.

Colors of Gold: Platinum, Rose, White, Yellow, Multi-Tone

Tip: The ‘k’ stands for karat, which is the unit of measure for gold purity levels. The higher the karat number, the purer the gold.  For example, 24k is pure gold.

Silver Jewelry

Silver is prized as a precious metal for its malleable quality and mirror-like reflectivity—perfect for making jewelry.  The level of gleam, however, depends on how it is alloyed and polished.  Its gleam can range from mirror-like to frosty or brushed. A pure silver piece of jewelry isn’t the best idea due to its softness.  Get acquainted with the major types of silver grades below and you’ll learn why sterling silver is the most popular choice when it comes to buying quality silver jewelry.

The best thing about silver is its low cost despite being a precious metal.  Silver jewelry is a great option for those shopping for cheap jewelry. Plus, silver is a great complement to the deep tones of semi-precious gems such as amber, turquoise, and garnets. Silver doesn’t corrode or rust, nor does it stain the skin, but it does tarnish.  You can keep your silver brilliant with some ordinary silver polish from your local discount store.

Types of silver: pure, fine, britannia, and sterling

Common Jewelry Materials

gemstones

diamonds

pearls

precious metals

non precious stones

rhinestones

colored glass

plated metals

plastic beads

nickel

pewter

aluminum

(5)

Buying Precious Stones

You should always pay attention to the four C’s: clarity, cut, carat, and color.

  • Cut: The cut of a stone determines its brilliance. The better the cut, the more sparkle.
  • Color: Little to no color on diamonds means the stone is higher quality. Look for as little color as possible. However, deeper rubies and sapphires are more valuable. 
  • Carat: the more carats or weight, the more expensive.
  • Clarity: Stones with few or no imperfections have the highest clarity. The clarity scale ranges from Fl (highest) to SI2 (lowest). (6)

Shopping for Wedding Rings & Engagement Rings

When it comes to buying wedding rings, engagement rings, bridal sets, promise rings, or ring enhancers, you need to have a plan. Here are a few keys to help you get started:

Have a budget

Research your significant other’s taste

Consider your significant other’s job and preferences for wearing jewelry (do they work with their hands constantly?)

Do/Don’t assume diamonds are the only option

Don’t think you have to spend three months’ wages

engagement ring

Fun fact: People wear wedding rings and engagement rings on the “ring finger” because in olden days it was believed that there was a vein connecting the ring finger to the heart.

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Keep Your Jewelry Polished

Jewelry, especially precious materials, should be housed in the right jewelry box.  A great jewelry box has many compartments of varying sizes and includes soft materials such as felt or velvet, many which can find be found at your local department stores and discount stores.

You can keep your jewelry looking great and tarnish-free with regular cleaning.  You can prevent cheap jewelry from tarnishing and staining with just some simple items from your local grocery store. Non-precious metals and mixed metals tarnish over time by reacting with oxygen. By keeping your jewelry in small, resealable plastic bags, you can cut down on the tarnish. When tarnish eventually sneaks up on your pieces, just make a simple paste of baking soda and water and scrub your piece gently with it using a toothbrush. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Voila! No more tarnish.

Tip: Prevent green skin from the metal plating on cheap jewelry by painting some clear nail polish on the inner side. It will also prevent tarnishing of the jewelry itself.

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