Choosing Your Own Local Jeweler (Do-It-Yourself)

Choosing a jeweler is THE most important decision you will make. If you want to look around for a local jeweler on your own, the questions below will help you identify a good jeweler when you see one.

Buyer Beware ::

Be aware that a store can create any kind of 'reputation' with paid ads. Don't fall for that. Find out what experts, friends, and other customers have to say instead!
How do I do it? In the next lesson, I will explain how *I* test stores, using the full spectrum of insider info I can access, in the lesson about :: how I test local jewelers. Too much to learn? If this sounds like too much to do and learn, go right to the jewelers that passed MY tests.

Questions to Test Local Jewelers

Ask a jeweler these questions to see if the store measures up to the necessary standards. Some of this could also be on their website.

If you get any negative answers, move on, because you can find stores that do it better. If you want to do this yourself, this is the best approach I can suggest, without access to the insider info I use, like trade references, credit ratings, customer interviews.
A jeweler must answer YES to ALL of these questions if you want ::

  • to get what you want
  • to receive what they promise
  • the lowest price
  • quality diamonds
  • excellent service
  • knowledgeable guidance

If not, consider buying your diamond from someone else, even though that retailer may be an excellent, reputable source for other jewelry. Questions For Local Stores :: These questions are all important, but the yellow highlighted ones are crucial…

  1. Do you have loose diamonds?
  2. Will you show me the Rapaport wholesale diamond price list for the diamonds I choose?
  3. Does each diamond come with a grading certificate from one of the respected independent gem labs (GIA, AGS)?
  4. Do you offer a written, 30-day, money back guarantee?
  5. Have you properly handled all outstanding complaints with the Better Business Bureau? (Call the BBB in your area to find out.)
  6. Have you been in business for at least 10 years?
  7. Will you give me the full price if I want to trade the diamond later for a larger size?
  8. Do you specialize in loose diamonds and fine jewelry (rather than birthstones, class rings, crystal, sports watches, etc.)?
  9. Do you have a jeweler in-house to make my ring and set my diamond?
  10. Can you deliver the ring by the date I need, and guarantee delivery?
  11. Do you have a microscope (not just a loupe) so I can easily see the diamond under magnification?
  12. Do you have a set of diamond or CZ master color grading stones to compare the color of the diamond I choose?
  13. Do you have a GIA graduate gemologist in-house to answer all my diamond questions?
  14. Do you have a full-spectrum diamond light for color grading (instead of the regular display lights that artificially enhance color)?
  15. Will you get a diamond in for me, and look at it yourself, to make sure it is eye clean before you send it to me?
  16. Do you include a receipt with a full description of the diamond and ring, and an appraisal with my purchase?
  17. Do you include an attractive ring box or packaging?

Be Careful ::

Without access to credit checks, trade reputation, customer interviews, management interviews, and more, it will be hard to know a jeweler for sure. Of course, that is where I come in. See my Tested Jewelers to find out who passed my investigative testing methods.
Call Around Now make some calls and find a local jeweler who can answer YES to all of these questions. Make an appointment if needed. I would suggest :: If I have a store to recommend (and I do not always have one, because I have not tested all cities in the U.S. yet) — Definitely visit both, and compare your experiences, to see how your choice stacks up against a store I know is good. If you find a good one, let me know who and why, and I can add them to my list of stores to test, next time I am testing for local jewelers in your area. I do need help because there are still thousands of stores to test.

Practice Comparing Local Jewelers

Would you choose Local Store #1, Local Store #2, or neither one and move on?

Local Store #1

  1. Carries loose diamonds in all sizes
  2. Shows Rap sheet and explains it is difficult and inaccurate
  3. Offers GIA or AGS certificates with diamonds, EGL with the rest
  4. Offers 30 day, money-back, written guarantee
  5. 3 complaints with BBB, but all settled
  6. Been in the diamond business for 20 years, same location
  7. Will exchange diamond for full price for twice the value
  8. Diamond and colored stone specialist. Also sells watches.
  9. Jeweler next door does most work same day Custom settings usually done in one week
  10. Guarantees delivery of your elaborate custom design in two weeks
  11. Shows you diamonds under a microscope Teaches you how to identify your diamond with a loupe
  12. Shows you CZ color grading stones
  13. Salesperson brings management (a GG) to answer questions
  14. Shows you different colors under a special UV lamp box
  15. Orders 2 diamonds for you to see, requests a deposit
  16. Gives complete description, appraisal, and certificate with purchase
  17. Gives elaborate wrapped ring box and safely wrapped packaging

Local Store #2

  1. Carries loose diamonds, most are mounted in rings
  2. Tells you Rapaport is copyrighted and he cannot show you.
  3. Offers EGL certs and says GIA is the same.
  4. Offers 15 day money-back guarantee
  5. Not a member of BBB.
  6. Gives full value in exchange for a new stone that is double the price.
  7. Specializes in diamonds only.
  8. Has been in the diamond business for 10 years, under different names and locations.
  9. Has a jeweler on staff. Custom work is sent out.
  10. Turnaround time is two weeks for any ring.
  11. Has a microscope behind the counter for office use.
  12. They show you pictures of diamond colors, and do not have a set of color grading CZs
  13. A Graduate Gemologist comes in to grade diamonds once a week
  14. They do not do color grading, and rely on certificates instead
  15. One of their diamonds in stock is close to what you want
  16. You will receive a receipt and appraisal with every purchase. You will receive the certificate after three weeks.
  17. You will receive a beautiful ring box with your purchase.

Scroll down when you are ready to see the answer….

Which One Did You Choose?

 

Hope you chose… Store #1 ! Here’s why …

Store #1 had many good points, a couple of minor issues, and no red flags.

  1. Carries loose diamonds in all sizes
  2. Shows Rap sheet and explains it is not accurate and difficult
  3. Offers GIA or AGS certificates with diamonds, EGL with the rest
  4. Offers 30 day, money-back, written guarantee
  5. 3 complaints with BBB, but all settled
  6. Will exchange diamond for full price for twice the value
  7. Diamond and colored stone specialist. Also sells watches.
  8. Been in the diamond business for 20 years, same location
  9. Jeweler next door does most work same day Custom settings usually done in one week
  10. Guarantees delivery of your elaborate custom design in two weeks, with your approval of drawings and progress reports
  11. Shows you diamonds under a microscope Teaches you how to identify your diamond with a loupe
  12. Shows you CZ color grading stones
  13. Salesperson brings management (a GG) to answer questions
  14. Shows you different colors under a special UV lamp box
  15. Orders 2 diamonds for you to see, requests a deposit
  16. Gives complete description, appraisal, and certificate with purchase
  17. Gives elaborate wrapped ring box and safely wrapped packaging

Store #2 had a few good points, a couple of minor issues, and many red flags.

  1. Carries loose diamonds, most are mounted in rings
  2. Tells you that Rap is copyrighted and he cannot show you.
  3. Offers EGL certs and says GIA is the same but slower and costs him more.
  4. Offers 15 day money-back guarantee
  5. Not a member of BBB.
  6. Gives full value in exchange for a new stone that is double the price.
  7. Specializes in diamonds only.
  8. Has been in the diamond business for 10 years, under different names and locations.
  9. Has a jeweler on staff. Custom work is sent out.
  10. Turnaround time is two weeks for any ring.
  11. Has a microscope behind the counter for staff use.
  12. They show you pictures of diamond colors, and do not have a set of color grading CZs
  13. A Graduate Gemologist comes in to grade diamonds once a week
  14. They do not do color grading, and rely on certificates instead
  15. One of their diamonds in stock is close to what you want
  16. You will receive a receipt and appraisal with every purchase. You will receive the certificate after three weeks.
  17. You will receive a beautiful ring box with your purchase.

 

Next: How I Test Local Jewlers