(CBS11) – It’s often said money can’t buy love, but that won’t stop Americans from spending an estimated $19 billion this year on Valentine’s Day and much of that holiday spending will go towards jewelry.
However, many find jewelry shopping to be daunting and overwhelming, which is why retail experts say before you buy you need to know some basics.
Here’s our Top 5 tips for jewelry-buying.
1. Know if the gemstones have been injected with glass
Almost all colored stones are enhanced. Heat treatments are common and expert say it doesn’t affect the stone’s value.
What you want to avoid are stones that have been injected with colored glass or silicon. So how can you tell? A good start is make sure the store will allow you to return the stone after having it appraised by an independent expert. Most reputable jewelry stores will have no issues with such a request.
2. Use a magnet to test gold and silver’s authenticity
An easy way to determine if what you are buying is real gold or silver is put it to the magnet test. There’s no such thing as magnetic gold or silver.
Plus, when buying gold, know your terminology. 24-karat gold is pure gold (100%), 18K is 75% gold, 14K is 58% gold, and 10K is 42% gold.
As for silver, “925” or “sterling silver” is real silver, while the terms “nickel silver” and “German silver” are named for their silvery appearance but do not contain real silver. “Nickel silver” is usually made up of copper alloy with nickel and zinc.
3. Don’t view diamonds with a black background
When viewing a diamond, never use a black background. Professional diamond buyers say black changes the eye’s perception of its color. Instead ask to view a diamond under magnification.
4. Call your insurance agent
Most homeowner policies place a limit on jewelry. A common maximum pay-out is around $2,500 for all of your jewelry. So when buying expensive jewelry, you may want to consider extra coverage. You can expect to pay around 85 cents per $100 of coverage.
It doesn’t matter if you’re shopping at a department store or high-end jewelry, always ask for the best price then offer less. If you’re willing to invest time, you’re more likely to get a better deal. You’ll be surprised how many will negotiate on the price.
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