If you've decided to indulge in luxury jewelry, and in-store is the way you wish to shop, it’s important to develop an understanding of jewelry stores. While online shopping can be quick and convenient, most consumers who are in the market for luxury jewelry do tend to prefer shopping in stores. Statistics still show a trend towards in-store purchases when it comes to buying luxury jewelry. But that’s not to say that you should run to your nearest jewelry store and go on a spree. Where you choose to shop is almost as important as the piece or pieces you purchase. There are many things to consider when choosing the right jeweler for you.
Being the major investment and personal statement that it is, buying this type of jewelry can seem a daunting task indeed, but just as we've guided you through all the ups and downs of buying luxury jewelry online, we are pleased to offer our expert advice in shopping for jewelry in stores. Here's a roundup of our very best tips.
1. Find the right shop. With so many stores to choose from, making a decision can be a bit intimidating. But if you know what to look for, it gets easier to narrow it down. Look for a reputable shop with good credentials that offers an inclusive experience. A passionate, knowledgeable staff and strong company values will make for a better, more reliable shopping experience. A shop that has gemologists, historians, writers, and a fine art photographer on hand is a shop that prioritizes customer service and takes great pride in what they do.
Find a store with a team that works together to offer excellent presentation, in-depth knowledge, and attention to detail. It is usually best to skip the new kid on the block and opt for a shop that has been around for quite some time, because older shops have had a chance to develop their mission statement and have earned their reputation. It’s also of the utmost important to enter a jewelry store with a good idea of what you want.
Some shops may specialize in bracelets, others may purvey mainly rings, while others may be the go-to authority on a certain brand, like Cartier or Chanel. Look online and map out some stores near you. Then take a look at their websites to get a general feel for how they operate and the customer experience they offer.
Do you like the look of the store? (Is it clean, well-maintained, and well designed?) Does it give off a friendly, authentic and reliable impression? Do they sell the pieces you are interested in? Are their online reviews favourable? That last one is important because it allows you to tap into the shopping experience from a customer’s vantage point.
Talk to friends who have experience buying luxury jewelry - what are their thoughts on the places you've put on your list? Where do they shop? What jewelry stores do they recommend and why? Gather as much information on potential locations as you can so you have a good solid foundation. Once you've got it narrowed down to a few, visit them all before making a final decision on where to purchase.
2. Don't go alone. Bring an experienced friend with you if at all possible. It'll make you feel more secure in your purchase, and you will have a built-in (and unbiased) second opinion on the jewelry. If you've chosen the right shop, the sales representatives will be honest and helpful, but having someone on hand who knows you and understands jewelry is ideal. If you don't know anyone who has experience in buying luxury jewelry, bring someone whose fashion sense you trust. They can offer input and support, and having someone familiar with by your side will keep you in a grounded headspace. This can go a long way to help you to keep your cool and prevent you from getting swept away by impulse.
3. Be clear on what you're looking for. Wandering into a jewelry story blind will make you much more susceptible to making impulse purchases and getting sucked into the sparkle without knowing what you truly want. With so many metals, stones and styles to choose from, simply walking into a jewelry store without a plan is not a good idea. You don’t want to make an impulsive purchase that you may regret later, so once you have decided which store to shop with, plan your trip.
Spend time evaluating your wardrobe and finding complementary colors, gems and metals. Pay attention to the jewelry images that catch your eye on Instagram and Pinterest. Are you smitten by animal themed jewelry? Then perhaps the Cartier de Panthere collection is for you. Into statement cuffs? Hermes is a great place to start. Looking for a diamond ring? Tiffany is an iconic provider of those. By the way, if you're shopping for a gift, don't rely on guesswork. Take a look at the recipient’s jewelry collection and wardrobe, consider their style and color preferences and check out their Pinterest page if possible. Always know their measurements so that they can wear the gift immediately, eliminating the need for re-sizing. In a nutshell, when you enter a jewelry store with a solid idea of what you want, you're much more likely to walk out with exactly that.
4. Do your homework. Learn the basics of jewelry and jewelry history. Know the 4 c’s (cut, color, clarity and carat), and get an understanding of the difference between natural and lab-generated stones. Learn about the value and characteristics of metals and be informed about the gemstones you like (for example, learn the difference between a heated ruby and an unheated one, or understand why some emeralds are oiled, etc.) Do some digging on the brands that most resonate with you, too. This may seem like a lot of time to invest, but knowledge is power. Being informed when you are speaking to staff at jewelry store dramatically increases your chances of having a great experience and leaving with exactly what you want - no more, and no less. This shows that you mean business and are serious about your purchase, as you should be! Luxury jewelry should be treated as the important purchase it is.
5. Ask questions. Don't be afraid to get inquisitive. Luxury jewelry is a rather sizeable investment that requires careful thought, and, you have the right to know every little detail about the piece or pieces you wish to purchase. So write down any questions that come to mind and ask every single one of them.
A good jeweler will be happy to answer all questions, address any concerns and speak frankly to potential customers. Even if you've done the homework we talked about in the previous step, that doesn't mean you know everything there is to know on the topic - that’s the job of the store. All jewelry sellers should be absolute experts, and should be willing and able to enlighten you. If they are vague or unfriendly with respect to answering your questions, it's probably time to look elsewhere.
6. Take some time before you buy. Focus on really getting to know the shops that most interest you, as we briefly touched upon in step one. Take a look at your favorite pieces, try them on, look in the shop mirrors, and talk to the employees. Then take a step back and head home to ponder. It may feel at the time as though you “just know” what shop you're going to go with, or that you've fully got your mind made up on your purchase selections, but you'd be surprised how the mind can sometimes change when given a bit of time.
We're not saying you will change your mind, of course. It's entirely possible that you do in fact know exactly which store you're going to make a beeline for, and that the pieces you want now will be the same pieces you want in a few days time. But just in case, give yourself some time to think it over. Then, armed with this and all the preceding steps, you'll be perfectly primed to purchase your new luxury jewelry without a single regret.