The Difference Between Box Stores & Online Retailers
All jewelry isn’t made equal—but how can you tell?
It seems like you can buy jewelry everywhere these days. More jewelry businesses are popping up on Instagram, Pinterest and on TV. When it comes to discerning quality and cost, how do you really know what you’re getting?
Most people think big box jewelry stores have less expensive prices (which they don’t) and jewelry departments to have knowledge of the craft. The truth is it’s can be difficult to discern quality, and know if what you’re getting was built to last.
When it comes to repairs, often jewelry departments in larger stores will send repairs out to shops like ours, to do custom work. This middle-man drives the cost up—and still, you don’t know the level of quality you’re getting.
Here are some things to consider and questions to ask yourself when you don’t know what to buy where.
Is It Wearable? A lot of jewelry is pretty sitting in a showcase, but wearability is low. Consider what you do for a living. Do you use your hands a lot in your day-to-day? Often these items will look nice in a case, but weren’t created to last 20 years.
Are They Being Real With You? AKA will they say no? No major retailer wants a sales person to say no to anything. That’s not how we roll. If we can’t have confidence you’re going to be able to wear this for many years, we’re not going to do it. Ask yourself: Is your jeweler being up-front and honest with you? Will they tell you their opinion—even if it’s not going to make them more money—in order to serve you better?
Whose On Staff? Most jewelry stores and sellers you see on TV don’t have Master Goldsmiths on staff. If they do, most of the time all they do is size rings and fit diamonds. They don’t fabricate or do custom work. Everything they do is out of the case. Pay attention to the person you’re talking to, ask questions, gauge how you feel and if you sense the person you’re speaking with is knowledgeable and working in your best interest, vs. telling you what you want to make a sale or being shady.
Jewelry plays a different role in everyone’s life. Think about how you want to be wearing the piece—every day, or only for special occasions? How active will you be in your day-to-day while wearing it? Buying jewelry from many of these out-of-case places means you may be spending more later on for repairs. It may be worth your investment to save and buy something from a jeweler you know you can trust.