Buying jewelry should be enjoyed, not endured. But the task can be daunting. The plethora of data—and determining its validity– adds stress to the mix.
I am writing this blog post to help you narrow the process down to two simple factors: Trust and Fairness.
When buying a mounting or a piece of jewelry with no gems involved, the decision is quite easy…do you Love It. Although that same principle can be applied to purchasing a gem, the fear of being sold something that is not worth its proclaimed value plays a huge factor. That’s where the Trust and Fairness part kick in.
Most people who sell jewelry claim to have the best thing for you. They will tell you it will satisfy all of your needs. In many cases, you may get lucky and it was perfect, but all too often that is simply not the case. You were sold, and shame on them.
Avoiding this approach and finding a legitimate advocate—a reputable jeweler– is the toughest part of the process. You are spending your hard earned money. When choosing a jeweler, you need to trust your gut. If that is not sufficient, get referrals. Once you feel comfortable dealing with an individual, ask the tough question: Why should I buy my jewelry from you? If the response has the words price, deal or discount in it…then the salesperson will probably just be price shopping for you and not looking for value. This person therefore would not be an advocate, but just a salesperson and you might think about finding another option. Be careful not to misinterpret low cost, for value. However, if the person seems genuinely interested in your needs, desires and concerns then maybe you are in the right place. But how do you really know? What if this person is just a great salesperson and has been trained to ‘act’ interested? How do I remove the doubt of being ‘sold’?
I suggest at some point, you initiate a conversation about a different subject other than jewelry. Talk about a subject you are familiar with and see if your BS meter goes off. If a person is going to try to BS you in one area, chances are they will do it even more in the area you lack expertise…jewelry. For me that is a red flag and it might be time to move on.
Conversely, if you felt like the discussion was honest and authentic…maybe you found your advocate and can begin building a hardier relationship. If this is the case, honesty should now trump all doubt and fears. You can be much more comfortable moving forward with your purchase, or at least a more serious and personal jewelry discussion.
Next is the easy and most pleasurable part. Finding the right item and discussing openly your financial comfort zone will send this journey down the right path. All salespeople know there is no such thing as a budget or bottom line, so my suggestion is to deal only in the top end of your comfort zone. Telling someone you are looking in the three to five thousand dollar range is the wrong approach. When buying gems from an honest advocate, the more you spend, the superior the item. Saying something like, “I am comfortable spending five thousand dollars but would go to six thousand dollars if you really felt it would knock my socks off,” is the best and most honest statement. That being said, if your advocate now shows you items starting at six thousand and up…shame on them for taking advantage of your honesty by trying to push the number even higher. Please judge for yourself if you think this ploy is happening or if they were just trying to show off something extra special that you might not have had a chance to see. If you feel that you can still trust your advocate, fairness will now play a factor. If this person is an expert in jewelry, you have a very good chance of securing just what you need at a very fair value. Please remember one key factor: If this person is truly on your side and you are using their knowledge, their sources and their eyes to help you…PLEASE ALLOW THEM TO MAKE A FAIR PROFIT!!!
If you now try to hammer the salesperson over the price, you are placing the salesperson in a very uncomfortable position. They want to satisfy you, but at the same time make a living. For example, if you have been working with someone for several hours, days or even weeks and are deciding about purchasing a diamond ring for let’s say five thousand dollars, there is for sure several hundred dollars of profit in the deal. If you like the item and trust the person, do not ask them if they can do better on the price. They will most likely give it to you just to ‘save the sale’, but I do not feel it is the right thing to do. Just as I do not feel they should mark-up an item excessively, just to hit your high end number. If you suspect this type of game playing…run!
Just imagine you boss or partner saying to you that you did a really good job this week, but would you mind taking just a little cut in pay, just to sweeten your employment outlook and to make them happy. That’s just wrong…really wrong.
The last part to recognize is the fairness quotient. How do you know the price is fair? Must I simply have blind faith?
The answer is a bit complicated. When you are first dealing with a salesperson, having your guard up is not such a bad idea. Then again, being too challenging might make the salesperson feel like you are questioning his or her integrity. If the salesperson is competent, he or she has done the homework and found you just what you wanted at a fair price. If you need to shop a bit to feel more secure before you purchase, do so. You never want to complete a purchase with regrets, only later to return or exchange it because you were uncomfortable with its value.
While the internet is an easy resource for pricing products, jewelry is a tough one in this arena…especially diamonds and colored gems. No two diamonds are alike, so comparison shopping can only get you in the ballpark. It should never be used as a concrete bargaining chip. In the end, if you feel that your diamond choice was within the parameters of the other sources you checked out, then your advocate did you right. If you ever have concerns or questions about the price, ask! If you feel that the person has gone into salesman mode by discrediting your comparison, then again it might be time to bolt. However, your salesperson should give you all the information to properly evaluate the differences (some might be quite technical) so that the two of you can conclude which path to take.
Once you feel comfortable with your decision and have developed a trusting relationship with your advocate, this type of comparison shopping will no longer feel necessary. As a matter of fact, you will feel so secure in your relationship, that buying elsewhere will feel awkward and maybe even a bit scary. At this point you will have become a coveted and trusted referral. Enjoy the journey!