Shopping for jewellery is thrilling and also a risky business. We are going to tell you our top 5 tips to keep in mind when your out shopping for your jewellery in a real-life-not-online setting.
1.Be aware of the hard sell
Markets are places where you will definitely encounter a pushy sales person or two. From sellers offering a friendly hello and reassuring that if you need a hand they are there, all the way to some sellers pulling you in as you try to walk past. In my experience, the best selling experiences are had when a fellow dealer isn't trying too hard to grab my attention or force me to their stand. If a seller is approaching you and being overly pushy when it comes to browsing for your jewellery, it might be a great time to say thank you and move on.
2. Reproduction items
For an experienced dealer, reproductions are usually fairly obvious; The rings appear pristine, we may have encountered a like-for-like style previously, and sometimes its even just about the vibes. There is nothing wrong with reproductions, and they are a great way to own stunning pieces of jewellery based off of an original very rare design. The issue arises when the seller is not disclosing that these pieces are reproductions, it can be due to an intent to fool or down to in-experience. Some pieces can look so like the real thing its hard to distinguish, a good rule of thumb is that if a seller has a cabinet full or pristine antique treasures and the pricing is too good to be true, it usually is. We all know how rare and hard to find these jewels are, and the dealers know it too. Usually a cabinet full or rarities will have the price tag to match, and when it doesn't, you should definitely move on.
3. Poor quality pieces Experience is key here ; Often pieces may look perfect, with no obvious issues or signs of a problem apparent. The problems will arise later down the line. Glued in gemstones, loose rattling stones, irreparable damage to the shank or split settings around gemstones. These are problems that can be tricky to spot, it takes a really keen eye and to know what you are looking for, to notice that there is something up with the piece. This is not to say all damage means that the jewel should be put back, sometimes minor issues are really simple and not too expensive to fix. It can also be the alternative scenario where the cost to repair exceeds the value of the item and that is a really unfortunate position to be in.
4. Materials Market places are always going to be locations where you are faced with somebody telling you a piece is one thing and its going to turn out it is not. What we are looking for when we are inspecting a piece of jewellery are hallmarks, the look and feel of the metal, and also the gemstones. If you have some gemstone knowledge, don't be afraid to ask if you can take a look at the item in natural daylight. Most dealers have another person with them who can watch their stand while they accompany you into brighter lighting, or they can watch you at a side door. In terms of the metal, unless the piece is hallmarked with an actual assay office stamp, and not just stamps for '18ct' or '15ct', you really aren't going to know what you are buying. The colour does not denote the carat unfortunately, and that rich butter yellow pendant that the dealer swears is 18ct, can just as easily be 9ct gold.
5. Over pricing We recently visited an antiques market and its safe to say the pricing varies wildly. Experience is your friend here; We handle hundreds of pieces of jewellery and only a very tiny fraction ever make it home with us to retail on our website. Knowing when to walk away from a piece you want, but you feel is a very inflated price is important. Its easy to get swept up in the excitement, if a piece is really rare then pricing isn't going to matter as much. If you are unsure and need time to think, a great thing to do is let the dealer know you love it but you are going to circle round and have a think. If I am still thinking about a piece after 15 minutes I will go back to purchase, mostly I have forgotten all about it, saved myself a headache, and moved onto something new to look at quite quickly .
................................. In person treasure hunting can be a seriously fun day out, I hope these tips helps you to avoid getting duped and walk away as a savvy, knowledgeable buyer. Is there anything on this list that surprised you? Let us know in the comments below!