Are you thinking about buying a piece of fine jewellery?
Here is an excerpt from a recent interview that Charlotte Gatward did with Muddy Stilettos on buying jewellery
Fine jewellery can be a big investment, so it’s really important to know what you’re looking for and to ensure that you are getting a good quality piece at the right price. Here’s Charlotte’s advice on what to look for and how to dodge the potential pitfalls when it comes to buying fine jewellery.
Is it important to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for before you go - should customers take pictures/examples with them, or is it best to go with an open mind?
Any pictures or examples of the styles that you like can be helpful for us to help source that perfect piece of jewellery for you. It is also important to have an open mind too – sometimes pictures of items of jewellery that you find on the Internet can be deceiving particularly around price
When choosing a jewellers, what quality or accreditation should you look for before stepping through the doors?
I would always want to ensure that the jeweller is a member of the NAJ – The National Association of Jewellers. I would also check that the team members looking after you have a jewellery industry qualification. All of our team members have at least JET1 (Jewellery Education Training Level 1)
Is it better to go for something classic or unique?
This purely comes down to your own personal taste. Classic styles rarely go out of fashion but there is something special about owning a unique piece of jewellery – particularly if it’s a bespoke made piece that you helped to design yourself.
We’ve heard about the four Cs when choosing diamonds, but what are the measures/scales to look for and what should you receive in terms of certification when you buy?
With coloured gemstones, the vibrancy of colour, where the gemstone came from (e.g a Colombian Emerald is more highly prized than an Indian Emerald), the carat weight as well as the rarity of the piece will all influence the price. Diamonds can be certificated as well as coloured gemstones but you don’t necessarily need a certificate when you purchase a piece of fine jewellery. Most reputable jewellers can tell you the basic information about the gemstone and its carat weight.
I think the most important thing to remember is why you’re buying the piece of jewellery – do you really love it? Does it look beautiful and sparkle? Does the gemstone have a real vibrancy and fire to it? Sometimes we can get too caught up in the specifications and forget to fall in love with a gemstone for its beauty. Jewellery is to be worn and treasured after all!
What are your thoughts on lab-grown diamonds (is the quality as good? Are they better value? Do they hold their value?)
Lab-Grown diamonds have been the subject of much debate in the jewellery industry. They are formed in a laboratory by creating the conditions that form diamonds. As they can now be mass produced, they are cheaper than natural diamonds and so if you are looking for a large diamond but cannot afford the high price tag of a natural diamond then a lab-grown is an option.
The quality of lab-grown diamonds is just as good – you can get lab grown diamonds that have very few inclusions, excellent colour and cut and to the naked eye, its impossible to tell the difference between a lab grown diamond and a natural diamond. Jewellers have to use specialist technology to be able to tell the difference.
We do not yet know whether they will hold their value long term so this is the risk you would take with purchasing one. If you’re looking for a big diamond to wear and enjoy and you are not concerned about the long term value then they are an option.
When it comes to vintage pieces, how can you be sure of the quality and provenance?
An independent registered valuer – registered with the NAJ would be able to give you information about the quality and provenance. Whenever we purchase any second hand / vintage pieces, we always get a valuation from our registered valuer so that we can determine a fair price.
How can you avoid being forced into buying by a pushy salesperson?
A piece of fine jewellery is usually a considered purchase and so its important not to feel pressurised. It is also very personal to the wearer. At Gatwards, we take pride in our approach to spend time with our customers to understand their requirements and help them find something that they will treasure for a lifetime. We wouldn’t have stood the test of time for 263 years if we pushed people to make purchases that they weren’t 100% happy with. We want our customers to be delighted with their purchase and to come back and see us again and we know that they won’t if we pushed them to buy something.