Whether you've got a special event coming up or something fancy has just caught your eye, a pawn shop can be an excellent way to get jewelry at a low price. But while a pawn shop can give you some information on the pieces that you're going to buy, they usually don't know everything. Here are some important jewelry-buying tips.
1. Special Items Are Actually "Worth" Less
You'll get the best deals on special items, such as engagement rings and wedding rings. For reasons of sentimentality, there are many people who don't want to buy this type of jewelry at a pawn shop, and so the price is reduced. If it doesn't bother you to have an engagement ring or wedding ring from a pawn shop, you can get a much higher quality ring at a cheaper price. And don't forget that you can also purchase a ring just for the diamond and have the diamond reset.
2. Diamonds Are Hard to Price
On the other hand, do keep in mind that diamonds are hard for even jewelers to price. Diamonds are priced based on clarity, size, color, and whether they are real or manufactured. With all of these factors combined, you may not always know whether you're getting a good deal. Other gems, such as rubies and emeralds, have far more standard pricing and don't go down in value as much when used.
3. Settings Matter
When you buy jewelry, one of the first things you should look at is the setting. A weak setting doesn't necessarily mean that the jewelry is damaged or non-functional, but what it does mean is that it's going to have to be repaired before you buy it; otherwise you could find yourself losing a stone right away.
4. Not All Pawn Shops Are Made Alike
Some pawn shops actually specialize in jewelry, while other pawn shops might specialize in tools or electronics. Going to a pawn shop that specializes in jewelry is going to give you a far wider selection -- just like a jewelry store! -- but it may also mean that you aren't going to score as many outright deals.
If you've purchased a particularly nice piece, it can't hurt to take it to a jeweler. Though pawn shops do know a lot about precious metals and stones, they aren't specialists in jewelry. A jeweler will be able to tell you with more certainty what a piece is worth, and give you instructions on care.