10 Signs you can trust your jeweler… And 3 signs you can’t

You’ve been going to your jeweler for years and years. And your mother went before you and her mother before her. You love your jeweler… But can you trust him?

In the world of fine jewellery, it’s hard to know today who’s putting your interests first and who’s just in it for the money. Of course it’s a business like any other, but you want to know that the person you’re dealing with is on the up-and-up and isn’t taking advantage of you.

Here, I share 10 signs you can trust your jeweler … and 3 signs you can’t.

1.       Certification is key.

One sure fire way to know that your jeweler is trustworthy is if they’re recognized by a national body – organizations like the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) will certify specific gemstones, like diamonds, and can credential jewelers, themselves. If your jeweler has been recognized by one of these reputable organizations, or carries stones certified by them, you can rest assured that they’re reputable themselves.

2.       Questions are the answer.

A trustworthy jeweler is one who will not only allow you to ask all the questions you want and will take the time to explain everything to you, but will also ask you questions first. A good jeweler will want to know what you’re looking for, what your tastes are, what budget you have to work with and what the piece is for. This will help guide them in serving you better and meeting your needs – not theirs.

3.       A reputation is worth a thousand words.

Word of mouth can be incredibly helpful in determining if your jeweler is someone you want to keep working with. If all your friends and family go to him and keep coming back, it’s probably a sign that they’re all satisfied. No, they may not be experts either, but if something was fishy, you can bet someone would smell it. If a lot of people know your jeweler and no one has a bad thing to say, that probably says it all.

4.       R-E-S-P-E-C-T means a lot to me.

 When you tell your jeweler your budget, if the answer is “Yes, but…” then I’d pause for a moment. A jeweler that is trustworthy will respect your needs, including your budget. They will not try to upsell you or justify why it’s better to spend more or buy bigger. A truly great jeweler will show you the range of products available within your budget and will work with you to make sure you get a good balance between value and price.

5.       Age before beauty.

The amount of time a jeweler has been in business is a sure sign of trust. If the jeweler has been around for decades – bonus for the same location – then it means that the community around them supports the business and trusts them enough to sustain it. This probably means that you can too.

6.       Going back to school.

Here, I’m not actually talking about the jeweler, though it is good if they keep up with current trends in design and gemology. I’m talking about you, the client. Does the jeweler take the time to educate you on your purchase? For example, does he explain about the four C’s of diamonds? Does he show you the various cuts of different stones? If you like something blue, does he show you all the blue stones possible or does he just focus on the sapphire, which happens to be the most expensive? When making a purchase of this size and value, it’s important that you know at least the basics and a good jeweler will help you learn them.

7.       Clarity is not only for diamonds.

Does your jeweler have a clear and written warranty and return policy? Do you know what will happen if he designs something for you and you don’t like it? Or if a gemstone falls out after you’ve purchased it? The answer to this should be more than “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of you.” A jeweler who has a written policy on returns and warranties can generally be trusted to follow through on them.

8.       They’ll “loupe” you in.

Any good reputable jeweler will have what’s called a loupe, which is like a magnifying glass for inspecting gemstones. If your jeweler has a 10x loupe and lets you check out your potential stones, that’s great for a lot of reasons. First of all, it shows you what you’re getting in terms of quality because you’ll be able to see any imperfections. Second of all, once you’ve purchased your stone, using a loupe can also help avoid any stone switching when repairing your piece. If you already know about specific imperfections in your stone, you can always use the loupe to check that you’re getting back the same stone you gave in. And thirdly, it means that the jeweler is willing and able to show you different stones at different price ranges and what it means to you in terms of their imperfections and quality.

9.       Not just a one-stop-shop

The best jewelers are not jewelry stores. They don’t only sell you pieces of jewelry, but they can also repair, reappoint and re-size… and the really great jewelers can even custom design pieces just for you. You want to make sure that your jeweler can do all these things – that way you’ll know that they will be there for you for the life of your purchase and whatever needs may arise from it.

10.   Trust your instincts.

There is no more important sign that you can trust your jeweler other than your own instinct. We all have internal flags that tell us if something isn’t sitting well and they’re usually bang on. If you are uncomfortable in any way, if something just doesn’t seem right, it’s your gut trying to tell you something. You probably want to listen to it because it will only be there for good reason. So trust your gut if you can trust your jeweler.

And 3 signs you can’t…

1.       Antiques out; new pieces in.

When you bring an heirloom piece from your great-grandmother to your jeweler for cleaning, if they try to convince you to melt it down for the gold or to take out the stones and redesign it for something new, it could be a red flag. Yes, of course those options should always be available, but they should come from you, not the jeweler. The jeweler should respect the history and meaning of pieces that have been in your family for years and should not even suggest altering them from their current form unless the opportunity presents itself by you.

2.       All in good time

When you consider that most fine jewelry ends up being a pretty significant purchase with a hefty price tag, it’s important that the buyer fully understands what they’re looking at. Does your jeweler spend enough time with you? When you go to see him, does he make sure to take you into a quiet space and talk to you, no matter how busy it is there? Does he answer all your questions? Does he show you the full range of what might be available and help guide you to what you’re looking for? Going to see the jeweler should be like going to see a friend and you should feel welcome, rather than like you’re annoying him. If your jeweler dismisses you, it’s a pretty good measurement that he should be dismissed.

3.       The Cheap Trick

A lot of reputable jewelers will recommend trying this little trick to see if your jeweler is trustworthy: Next time you go in, look for something on the lower end of the price scale, like something in the low hundreds. If your jeweler doesn’t give you the time of day or tries to upsell you on a more expensive piece, then it’s clear that he is more interested in his wallet than yours.