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Buying jewelry is a big investment. It is a financial commitment and often an emotional decision. So the big question is who should you buy from- Big Box Jewelers vs. a locally Owned Jewelry Store? Here are some guidelines to help you make a decision:

Quality:

Private jewelers buy their metals and gems from reputable designers. They hand select the pieces. They strive to maintain a reputation for outstanding quality and to ensure that your piece will retain its value year after year.

Jewelry store chains often buy in bulk, which means often times the quality, might be lower than that of a hand-selected piece.

Price:

Because private jewelers offer a high level of quality and have limited quantities, their prices can be higher.  However, many private jewelers charge less than the large jewelry stores. Because of this it is good to visit many jewelry stores before deciding where to buy. What is their buying philosophy? Do they deeply discount or offer a fair price out of the gate? Privately owned jewelers have more flexibility with price, as their policies are not mandated by a large corporation.

Prices in the big jewelry store chains are often lower because they buy in bulk. But lower prices can sometimes come with lower quality. Be sure to do as much as you can to ensure you’re getting the best value for the piece you’re buying, especially in something like an engagement ring.

Service and Atmosphere:

Often you can schedule an appointment with a private jeweler so you get their full attention for as long as you need it, with no interruptions from other customers. Private sellers will be meticulous in helping you find that special item. In addition, repairs are generally made right in the store.

Sometimes big retail jewelers have a lot of staff but getting personal attention from knowledgeable employees can sometimes be a challenge. You may have to wait a bit to be served if there are many customers there at the same time.

Style Choices:

For a unique, hand-made item, a private jeweler is your best choice. You’ll own something customized that is made with your vision in mind and belongs to no one else.

Items at the big-name jeweler can be beautiful too, but they are generally mass-produced so the same pieces are sold in every store. Whichever type of jeweler you prefer, it’s important to shop around for the best bargain and to get exactly what you’re looking for. Compare prices and quality at a few stores.

After you buy have the piece appraised. You’ll learn not only what it’s worth but also whether or not you got a deal that’s good enough to make you shop at the same store again. Big name jeweler or private jeweler, it pays to do your homework.