Jewelry Information



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Comparison Shopping



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Comparison Shopping

When shopping for gemstone jewelry, carat weight is an acceptable place to begin. But it's only a beginning. Remember that, for diamonds, clarity, color and especially cut can dramatically affect the quality and price of the jewelry. A reputable jeweler should be able — and willing — to give you information on all of the 4 Cs of diamonds.

For colored gemstones, the quality of the color is especially important. Gemstone treatments, done to improve the color and clarity of gems, can greatly affect the value of jewelry. When comparing prices of different pieces, be sure you compare the overall quality of the jewelry-including treatments — not just the size of the stone.

All platinum, gold and silver jewelry should bear the trademark of the manufacturer. Karat gold jewelry should be stamped with the karatage and silver jewelry should be stamped sterling silver.

If you are working within a price range, perhaps that's the place to start. You might ask: I have this much to spend, what diamond rings can you show me? Since gem size and gem quality are something of a tradeoff, the jeweler might show you one ring with a small diamond that has good cut proportions, color and clarity grade, and then another ring with a larger diamond of lesser quality. There may be differences in the setting or in the fineness of the metal. This is an opportunity to discuss with the jeweler these different attributes of the jewelry, and to decide for yourself what qualities are most important to you.

It's worthwhile going to more than one retailer to be sure of getting the best value for your money. If you find something you like at one retailer, go to other jewelers and use the same set of qualities to compare prices. Use our checklist (pdf will open in a new window) to aid you in comparing. You might ask: What is your price for a diamond ring with a stone of X carats, X color grade, X clarity grade, and X cutting dimensions? He may not be able to match your qualities exactly, but he will show you something close.

Shopping Considerations and Caveats

The insurance industry has established appraisal standards to protect you. But if you don't specifically ask your jeweler to use the JISO/ ACORD appraisal form, you may not benefit from those standards.

So, before you shop for jewelry, print out the JISO forms (at After you’ve made your jewelry choice, have your appraisal completed on a JISO  form. If the jeweler is a Certified Insurance Appraiser™, he can use JISO 78 Jewelry Insurance Appraisal form. If he’s not a CIA, have him complete the JISO 805 Jewelry Sales Receipt for Insurance Purposes.