5 Sneaky Jeweler Tricks of the Trade

A little education can go a long way to protecting yourself from an unscrupulous jeweler when you’re looking to buy bling for the holidays. Here’s what you need to know.

The lights and tinsel may not be the only things glittering around your Christmas tree.

Jewelry is a gift-giving favorite, and nearly one-quarter of shoppers plan to give a little bling this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation.

If you’re planning to buy your loved ones jewelry, some simple knowledge will help you keep more gold in your pocket, and not in the pocket of some unscrupulous jeweler. Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson describes some jeweler tricks of the trade in the video below. Check it out, then read on for more tips.

Find reputable jewelers

A good starting point is asking friends and family for jewelry store recommendations. Look for membership in the American Gem Society. Also, check them out with the Better Business Bureau and search for online complaints.

5 in-store tips

We’ll get into more detail about what to look for when you’re buying a diamond, another gemstone or gold. But here are some jeweler tricks of the trade to be aware of when you walk in the store:

  • Inflated discounts. If the clerk is saying the ring has been discounted by 50 percent or more, be wary. The profit margin in jewelry is not high enough to make a discount like that probable. Also be on guard for a high appraisal and a low selling price.
  • Hidden flaws. The setting of a ring can be used to hide flaws in a diamond or other gemstone. When you’re buying a diamond, you’ll want to examine it with a jeweler’s loupe. Ask the jeweler to show you how to use it properly.
  • Tricky lighting. Make sure you examine the diamond or other gem in different types of lighting, including natural lighting. The store’s lighting might make cloudiness or other imperfections difficult to see.
  • Enhancements. Has the stone been treated to remove or hide imperfections? You’ll want to ask. Consumer Reports says:

Sapphires and rubies are often subjected to high heat to improve their transparency and color. And there are a number of techniques to improve the clarity of diamonds, including laser drilling, which can vaporize tiny carbon specks. The holes are so small they’re very difficult to see. But if you look at the side of the stone in very bright light it might show some thin “threads.” Sometimes a chemical is used to fill small cracks in a diamond to make it appear more brilliant.

  • Pressure sales tactics. Beware of jewelers who pressure you to make a purchase. Instead, take the time to compare jewelry at several stores.

Now, let’s look at what you’ll need to know after you’ve decided what type of jewelry you’ll be purchasing and before you head to the store. You’ve got to study up to be sure you’re getting a quality product at a fair price. Both the American Gem Society and the Jewelry Information Center, which is run by the Jewelers of America, have extensive guides to buying diamonds, gold and other high-end jewelry.


Don’t rely on the salesperson behind the counter to tell you how beautiful a stone is. You need to know how to recognize quality yourself. See “A Man’s Guide to Buying Diamonds in 5 Simple Steps.” But, briefly, here are some tips:

More Money Talks News


  • Ron Sakulin

    A suggestion. Don’t buy diamonds. Diamond production is operated by a monopoly, DeBeers, who also dictates the prices. Buy an artificial stone which, if they are well made, even jewelers can’t tell the difference. Many real diamond owners keep their “treasures” locked up and wear fakes anyway. Who will know the difference? Same for expensive watches. I have a sister-in-law who asked me if my watch was a Rolex like her husband wears. I was not impressed. Hell no. I wear an inexpensive watch, under $10, that looks good and tells the same time as a Rolex. Even she couldn’t tell the difference.

    • Gars

      I especially like the marketing technique of a Keep Sake Diamond so they inhibit a secondary market for diamonds.. Brilliant.

      Also the slogan saying you should spend two months salary on an engagement diamond ring.

      I cringe when I’m listening to a lady try to pawn her diamond ring and discovers its true, used resale value.

      • Author Known

        Agreed Gars!
        Unfortunately, the industry’s creating such a hollow means to quantifying one’s socioeconomic status, seems to have become a universal definition.
        Gee. An extraordinarily RARE nugget that virtually EVERY wife on the planet must be adorned with.
        I know, right? Is everyone that shallow? It is counter-intuitive to what you would expect from a rational-thinker!
        …….Oops! I forgot. Never mind.
        Were talking about Rational-Thinkers…..soliciting themselves so they can Hook-up……
        …………..with that other kind of thinker.

        • Gars


          I know the ladies would be better off with a Zirconia diamond and $10,000 or $20,000n a bank account.

          You’re not using a diamond logically. You’re using it as a token to cement the emotion of love.

          And you’re not just trying to cement that relationship with just the lady, but also with all of her friends so they will be impressed and reinforce her decision to marry you.

          Love is an emotion, not part of logic.

          • Author Known

            Is it not logical to Love?
            Not to “kiss and tell”…..but last night…….it made a Hell of a lot of sense!

          • Gars

            The real question is, “Does it still make sense this morning?”

            An aged bachelor friend of mine once said:

            “It’s been said a bachelor is a man that has never seriously considered marriage, whereas I contend a bachelor is the only man that has ever seriously considered marriage.”

            He passed away with out a family. Sad.

            He was a multi millionaire, had tons of friends, tons of adventures, and led a very happy life.

          • Author Known

            Sure Gars! I have no regrets! In fact, the reciprocal. Maybe even a little cockiness to my demeanor as a result.
            Oh wait. Should that be “figuratively”? There are arguments for either. Whatever.
            Well no, not exactly. But articulating just cums to me. I can’t help it.
            She is a good friend. Not a “Lover” by definition, but the “with benefits”-thing kicks-in once in a while. Good fun.
            I’m sorry for your loss, Gars. I understand the context of your writing “Sad” as missing your friend dearly.
            Not as a summation of his lifestyle.
            I’ve vigorously pursued a few passions, but haven’t made a fortune from them. However, I too am a life-long bachelor. Though I have never feared commitment. The longer-term companions I’ve chosen, ultimately did. An ‘old’ documentary entitled “Future Shock” made an immense impression on me. Early-on, I decided to be responsible in not contributing to an exploding population, that would only depreciate the value of life for later generations. Religious hypocrisy also challenged my principles.”Go forth and multiply” is used as an excuse. Many friends I had grown up with HAD to get married. Luckily, a few of those kids were wanted.
            So I got nipped!…………Whoa! Too much info?
            It’s that damn “articulating” thing again.
            Don’t get me started, Gars!

    • ModernMode

      I’ve been wearing the same Seiko watch (125 dollars then) since 1984. Sometimes paying for reasonable quality is worth it.

  • pennyhammack

    With the prices of gold and silver being at an all-time high you may see many items that are gold/silver plated or filled. Plated means a microscopic layer of the precious metal while filled means a significant layer. Plated will wear off a lot faster and, in the case of silver, may disappear with the first polishing. Filled can still wear or chip off but it will take a lot longer.

  • Author Known

    I’m all about making wise, prudent and most of all…INFORMED..decisions about any substantial expenditure.
    However, I palpitated when I heard….”Every business has tricks of the trade”…..(then)…..”and there’s nothing wrong with that”…!!
    I guess I’m just getting too old. Silly me and my antiquated, obsolete values.
    It’s a Brave New World with smarter, more advanced, refined, modern priorities!
    Instead of someone whom I would deny my patronage, a merchants misleading, disingenuous and deceitful ploys are now accepted as normal, everyday business practices?
    Good luck with that crap, you Whippersnappers.

    • Gars

      It’s always been this way, hasn’t it? Hence the admonition. “Caveat Emptor!”

      It’s not the deal you get, but the deal you think you get.

      There’s one born every minute.

      People have been preying on the uninformed since the beginning of time.

      Find yourself knowledgeable people and pay them a decent wage for their assistance.

      Reminds me of a sign on an oral diagnostic clinic:

      Answers $1

      Answers requiring thought $5

      Answers correct $10

      • Author Known

        Of course it has Gars. But orders of magnitude are now the common unit of measuring duplicity in the marketplace.
        As the Global economy manifest, it’s sophistication and complexity have displaced a grander perspective of scope….with one of immediacy. Doing Business has disintegrated to more superficial, instantaneous profit appraisals rooted in greed, not long-term, earned, historical trust and mutual investment. Such high stakes easily take advantage of a weakness in our nature: What we would overlook, and/or sacrifice….for the sake of that Instantly gratifying, quick Buck.
        But only if we allow it to.
        An analogy?
        A developer is required to pay for a professional Geologist’s assessment and subsequent sign-off on the integrity of a parcel of Land before it is sold.
        (Oddly, “conflict of interest” issues rarely arise from this tidy arrangement. No wonder Real Estate & Politicians have great sex)….Eh!….Sorry for the visual……Where was I?
        Your looking for a cliff-top home with a magnificent, soul-inspiring view. “Professional” huh? Seems legit. Go for it, NOW! ‘Cause they “have a few other interested parties willing to pay more.”
        Wow, a view that fills your heart with Wonder every morning! Yet getting a good, sound sleep every night depends on YOUR ABILITY TO RECOGNIZE MINOR EROSION…….that could lead to a catastrophic Mass-Wasting…..where your bones would be indistinguishable from the rest of the litter in the down-slope debris-field, despite the paid Rock-Hounds reassurance.
        The author in the video relinquishes another increment of integrity, for us all to embrace as
        normal and acceptable.
        He allows for the deterioration of ethics.
        “MoneyTalksNews” is a great resource. But how soon will it be necessary to hire a specialist, to dissuade and advise us….each time, to ensure we’re getting our money’s worth of weekly groceries?

        • Gars

          There’s a saying for that too:

          If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

          Each person has their own individual responsibility to do due diligence.

          My life got a lot better when I started blaming myself for my mistakes and, thus, I quit making so many mistakes. The old “Look before you leap!” adage.

          • Author Known

            I’m not sure I understand your point Gars. Would you be more specific or “pointed”?
            You know?….Be blunt! I can take it.
            (I’m not sure I can dish it out, however)
            I hear you ’bout self-honesty.
            To most folks, being humbled is regarded as spurs kicked in their sides, to get them to bolt.
            But they just stubbornly stand there, neighing.
            In reality, it opens the corral-gates to great expanses of Sweet-grass prairie.
            Many may believe they’re Mustangs, but in truth they need their harness, fear what lies beyond their blinders and rely on their reigns to be pulled.
            Pride can’t be domesticated. A wild Stallion is easily confused when it’s saddled.
            It’ll turn on it’s master, no matter where a threat originates.

            I know, right? Obscure.

          • Gars

            I expect people to try to lie, cheat , and steal from me. It’s my job to protect myself.

      • Author Known

        Is that “answers you think are correct” for an Alex-Ham?
        Geeze Gars, I’m seeing a venture-thing here! Possibilities.
        Like: Answers you NEED……..$ How much are you willing to invest in your own Peace of Mind??
        Answers you won’t like, but know deep down……$ An excellent Leasing program!!!
        Answers with no relevance……….$ Today’s Special!!! 33% OFF!! Get MORE-SAVE EVEN MORE!!
        Answers you swore you’d never resort to but now must……$ How much were you planning on spending today?
        Answers that make you Cool…….$ 50 down, $50 a month, for 50 years. Because your worth it!!! So damn Cool!

        • Gars


          Actually answers were thought to be correct when your subjective and objective data aligned with your diagnosis and received the approval of the Chief of Emergency Services.

          • Author Known

            The Oral Diagnostic Clinic-addendum was figurative, in the third person, as a marketable -idea parody.
            You got that, right?
            That’s a local office. My venue or yours?
            TEE HEE!

          • Gars

            Yea, I got that; I suspect you have several IQ points on me though!

          • Author Known

            I appreesh the compliment Gars!
            However, I beg, grovel, nay…. prostrate myself before your aplomb……to agree to disagree.
            It’s a pleasure to be challenged by the perceptive concepts you present!

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