What does it mean to shop smart? Of course, it's not uncommon to associate price with quality. Sometimes, a higher price tag means better quality. Longevity. I think we've all been there. I've bought my share of tops and bottoms for a bargain, thinking I've scored huge in the long run, only to find out they shrink in the wash and the material wears away fast in the dryer.
Now, after having gained some not-so-shabby shopping experience, I don't just grab the most expensive version of an item unawares, I look at what each is made of, read the reviews (the ones with photos are so helpful), try to envision how many ensembles I can create with it from my already existent wardrobe, and then also ask myself if I absolutely love it because just liking it might result in some buyers' remorse. This, to me, is just one example of how to effectively weigh the difference between price v. overall value.
Let's apply that to shopping for jewelry.
Quality of the Goods
A great question to ask yourself before buying: Is it a forever piece? How durable is it? Will it stand the test of time? Is it solid gold or simply coated in it? Look at comparison charts or educational videos to personally measure for yourself how well the pieces competing for your attention stack up next to each other (whether it be center stone, metal choice, or design elements, etc). Again, reading comments and testimonials from previous clients of the business will definitely help you foresee how satisfied you'll be long-term with the quality of the goods.
Quality of the Service
Is the business you are purchasing from reliable? Will they be there to assist you throughout the entire process if need be (you'll definitely need to know this one if you're looking into customizing your own piece)? What about policies to make sure you're protected? Warranty? Return/Exchange? Especially if you're an online shopper, you have to think about the possibility of not liking what you receive.
Also, if anything should happen to the piece you're planning on keeping as a forever piece, (such as life. life happens.) make sure there's a way you can get it resized, cleaned, or maybe the stone needs to be reset - most reputable companies that stand behind their product will have this all under the umbrella of a warranty in order to help you maintain its structural integrity.
Quality of the People
Get to know the business by getting to know the people behind it. Are they responsive? Is there a live chat or phone service? Do they work via email? Oftentimes, when working with online businesses, you may not even find a number to call and even when you do, who you're talking to may be outsourced and do not know the product well enough.
How is their presence on social media? When a company earns a strong fan following even after they're purchased from, it goes to show how much work they put in to providing the best of the best.
To close, remember to do your research! Make sure you think long-term, no matter if an item costs $1K, $2K, $10K, or even $20K. Weigh those pros and cons - it'll aid you in determining the overall value for the price you're going to pay. Much more useful than just basing your purchase off of price alone.
Cheers! Happy shopping! Oh, and here's GIA Grad + Founder and Front Man of F&B Michael, in a quick vid, sharing the same wisdom about weighing overall price v. value when buying jewelry from his own shopping experience know-how.
Photo 1 & 3 | De Joy Photography
Photo 2 | Jessica Purgason Photography