As of this writing (January 29th, 2016), it’s nearly Valentine’s Day. Many individuals (mostly male) will journey into countless retail stores, smelling of . . . desperation. Oh, but to find the “perfect” gift. The same client who thinks nothing of spending $5000+ with a consultant around the Holidays will struggle to find a mere $50 to grudgingly spend in February. Granted, I don’t mean to belittle $50-it’s just not a lot for any purchase comparatively speaking. Lesson 1: Be realistic. Often times, a couple may venture into a store and ask to see a 2 carat diamond for $1000. While a thousand dollars is still a lot of money, it doesn’t begin to buy a two carat diamond currently, unless the stone is stolen, of exceptionally poor quality and/or one has a time machine that will go back to 1925. (Ten thousand dollars is a fortune, until one starts to look at Ferraris. Then the amount won’t pay for a single wheel.) Better to spend the $50 on flowers; your money goes much further in this case. No, I don’t receive monetary kickbacks from Florists and, no, I’m not saying to avoid everything else [read jewelry]. Just be sure to “get your money’s worth” when buying a gift before you badger a retail consultant all around his or her store trying to fit something in your budget.
Lesson 2: Professional shoppers can save money. Often, clients will say after an appraisal that “I wish I had you (the appraiser) to take with me when I’m shopping. I’d save a lot of money.” That’s often true. While taking along a personal shopper with you to the Caribbean may become expensive (even though Ilove free vacations), it can save you money and avoid a dent in your wallet. Independent appraisers usually have no special store that they “must” buy from. This can insure that you the purchaser can find and take advantage of the very best “deal” around. Without fear. I’m not advocating skipping the buying process from store personnel; many give wonderful service. (Those that try to benefit themselves at the customer’s expense will only last a short while before they’re avoided by clients and superiors.) Nor am I saying that many on-line services aren’t good; they can be. However, there are many misleading “certification” services available and even the leader (my Alma Mater, the GIA) can judge five different diamonds to be the same grade-and they can literally have five completely different appearances.
The result is that even if one can find years of research about jewelry on the internet, it can ultimately be worth paying an extra 15 – 25% in order to find the perfect piece.