Stunning jewelry is one of the finest gifts you can ever give or receive. However, there will always be fakes and replicas in a world of endless jewelry trends. Fake jewelry has come a long way, looking almost identical to real jewelry but without the quality.
The value of jewelry can vary between each piece. No one wants to find out their expensive new ring doesn’t even have a real diamond. Real gems have unique characteristics that may not always be visible to the naked eye.
So, how do you know if you have quality jewelry? Whether you’re a collector or buying jewelry as a gift, here are thirteen clear signs that you’re making the right call.
1. Carat Weight
Carat weight is the easiest way to identify your diamond’s worth. Many jewelers and appraisers have a digital scale made to measure carat weight. Larger diamonds are often more valuable than smaller ones, so carat weight will help you determine its actual value.
Some retail stores round their carat weights. If you find a diamond listed as one carat, it may actually weigh and therefore be worth less. You shouldn’t have to pay for the price of one carat if your diamond is really .89.
Also, remember that some diamonds look bigger than others while having the same carat weight. Don’t panic – it may simply be the shape of your diamond. For example, a diamond with a cushion cut may seem smaller than an emerald cut.
You may find one-carat diamonds at different prices. This is because diamonds also have different color and clarity qualities.
2. Color Quality
A diamond’s color can significantly affect its final selling value. Perfect diamonds have no color. Slight-colored tints, no matter how little, can reduce a diamond’s value tremendously.
These color distinctions are not always visible to an untrained eye. Cheaper diamonds may have a soft brownish or yellowish tint. However, not all colored diamonds have a lower value.
A rare-colored diamond may cost much more than a crystal-clear diamond. These colors include canary yellow and red, the rarest color variety of a diamond.
If you’re looking at a diamond’s color grade, remember that your surroundings can affect its color appearance. In addition, the metal and setting of the jewelry can also affect a diamond’s perceived color. To better determine your diamond’s color quality, turn it face down on a clean white sheet of paper.
Ensure that the room is well-lit so you can see its color.
3. Cut Quality
Did you know that a cut of a diamond does not refer to its shape? Diamonds are the most favored gemstones because of their brilliance. However, the cut of a diamond could also affect its shine and sparkle.
You know you have quality diamonds when you have three of these optical effects:
- Brightness refers to the reflection of white light in your diamond
- Scintillation, which refers to the dark and light areas of your diamond, and
- Fire, which refers to the colors your diamond displays as light refracts within it
A quality cut diamond looks sharp, with a good contrast of dark and light areas. The best way to assess the cut quality of a diamond is to see it in person. Examine your diamond under natural and indoor lighting.
Don’t be too disappointed if your diamond doesn’t look as brilliant on a cloudy day. Remember, cut quality is about how your diamond interacts with light.
4. Clarity Rating
Clarity is often considered the most crucial factor in determining a diamond’s quality. Clarity refers to the surface quality of a diamond – if it has imperfections like chips or inclusions.
Low-clarity diamonds have a cloudy appearance and may appear less brilliant. These diamonds are also prone to chips, cracks, and shattering. Unfortunately, some low-clarity diamonds may appear flawless to the naked eye.
Some diamonds are also known as “eye-clean diamonds.” If you want a flawless diamond but can’t afford it, you can always choose an eye-clean diamond. These diamonds are as beautiful and only have visible blemishes under 10x magnification.
5. Official Diamond Certification
The easiest way to determine if you have quality jewelry is to check the papers. Official diamond certifications come from the following organizations:
- American Gemological Society
- Diamond High Council
- Gemological Institute of America
- International Confederation of Jewelry, Silverware, Diamonds, Pearls, and Stones, and the
- International Gemological Institute
They also cover other gemstones and can give jewelers the right credentials. So if you’re visiting a new jeweler, it’s best to check if they have the proper certifications before committing your time. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) also offers an online diamond “Report Check.”
6. Vibrancy in Gemstones
We’ve talked about diamonds, but what about gemstones? Gemstones have the same clarity ratings as diamonds, but the color intensity is as crucial. A gem that’s too dark may not sparkle as much and appear more lackluster.
However, that’s also one of the best things about gemstones. Each gemstone is unique and comes from a broad spectrum of colors. Only you can decide which gemstone is right for you.
7. Look for Hallmarks
Hallmarks can help you separate costume jewelry from quality jewelry. If your jewelry looks new but doesn’t have a hallmark, it is most likely costume jewelry. You can find hallmarks on an earring’s backing, a necklace clasp, and inside a bracelet or ring.
Hallmarks indicate an item’s metal content or its designer and country of origin. However, hallmarks don’t last forever and can wear off after many years. If you think you have an authentic antique piece, it’s best to take it to an appraiser.
8. Authentic Branding
Unfortunately, some counterfeit jewelry can have false hallmarks. Buying jewelry without a hallmark can be tricky, so the best thing you can do is find brands you trust. Familiarize yourself with the fonts and layouts they use so you can determine if you have an authentic luxury item.
9. Inspect the Prongs
Fine jewelry has well-crafted and elaborate prongs. However, some high-end costume jewelry may also set their stones in prongs. A great way to separate high-end costume jewelry from fine jewelry is to check if the stones appear glued in place.
Fine jewelry, except for pearls, will set stones in elaborate prongs or bezels. Some costume jewelry may have value if they are vintage. If this is what you’re looking for, ensure the stones are in good condition.
10. No Filler Nickel
Some costume jewelry companies combine their metals with low-quality materials like nickel. These products not only have less value, but they can also harm their wearer. Nickel is the most common filler for jewelry.
Nickel can irritate the skin, and many people have severe allergic reactions. Low-quality jewelry may also have threading, as opposed to a high-quality item with a smooth post. If you feel anything pushing through your skin when you put on jewelry, it’s best to put it down and look elsewhere.
Threading can pierce through your skin. If you insist on wearing that piece of jewelry, it can result in an infection.
11. Mirror Finish
High-quality jewelry will have a mirror-like finish. That sparkly new gemstone should also feel gentle on your skin. Low-quality jewelry can result in adverse skin reactions like inflammation or numbness.
That’s why it’s essential only to wear high-quality jewelry when you get a piercing. Costume jewelry can disrupt your healing process and make it more likely to develop scar tissue.
12. True to Its Age
Quality vintage jewelry can be hard to find, making them more valuable. But, unfortunately, anyone nowadays can replicate vintage jewelry. You also can’t rely on hallmarks on vintage jewelry because there’s a high possibility that they have already faded.
If you’re a collector of vintage jewelry, you can tell if it’s authentic by looking at its design. Jewelry trends have changed over the years, and a vintage piece will often reflect the era it’s from. In the early 1900s, most jewelry had white metals because of the scarcity of gold.
Do your research and compare while shopping.
13. You Have a Good Vendor
Finding a good jeweler can be difficult as you never can tell if they’re putting your interests first. One sign of a good jeweler is that they take the time to know your needs. They may ask you questions so they can better understand what you’re looking for.
A good jeweler has your best interests at heart. They take your budget and preferences into consideration. They may even show you alternatives, depending on your tastes in jewelry.
Return policies and warranties are green flags in a reputable jeweler. If you do find a good jeweler, stick with them.
Get Quality Jewelry Today
Jewelry can have a lot of monetary and emotional value. Whether you’re a collector or looking for a gift, here are 13 unmistakable signs of buying quality jewelry.
Finer Custom Jewelry offers a client-centered experience in creating custom jewelry. We believe your jewelry should be as unique as the emotions you carry with them. Contact us today to discuss your ideas, and we’ll make your vision come alive!