Tips for buying jewelry this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to surprise your loved one with a nice piece of jewelry. According to Statistic Brain, 17.3 percent of all gifts given on Valentine’s Day every year are jewelry. Jewelry stores make almost $2.2 billion dollars off this day alone.

Picking out the perfect piece of jewelry can be stressful with so many options available. If you understand the terms that jewelers use and types of jewelry available, you’ll better be able to evaluate a piece of jewelry and determine if it is worth the price.

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BBB offers these tips to help you make the perfect purchase:

• Keep your loved one’s style in mind. Look at what you’re loved one is wearing or what is in his or her jewelry box. Are you in the market for a ring, bracelet, watch, necklace, etc.? Do you have a specific type of jewelry in mind?

• Learn the language. If you understand the differences between stones, settings and cost, it will help with negotiations. Also, check for appropriate markings on gold, silver and platinum jewelry and ask if gems are natural, synthetic or imitation. Ask if the gems have permanent changes and if any special care is needed to keep them in good condition.

• Be cautious shopping online. While online shopping may offer good values, remember you won’t be able to examine, touch or try on the jewelry. Be sure to get the address and phone number of the business and print out a copy of the receipt for your records.

• Set a budget and stick to it. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, ask to see the most expensive one and compare the cheaper ones. This way you can choose one that resembles the expensive one and stay within your budget.

• Ask family and friends for recommendations.

• Don’t get dazzled by discounts. Be cautious about a store always offering discounts. If a store is constantly offering a discount, it may be the actual retail price elsewhere.

• Check affiliations. For instance, inquire if the jeweler is a member of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), which is a leading source of knowledge, standards and education in gems and jewelry.

• Shop around. Compare quality and price. Select a jeweler who’s customer-focused. A reputable jeweler is a consultant, as well as a salesperson.

• Get everything in writing. Read and understand the return policy and warranty information. Also, ask for a lab report on your gem from an independent lab for an assessment of the stone’s quality. If you purchased an antique piece or an expensive one, consider getting an appraisal for insurance purposes.

Finding the perfect piece of jewelry doesn't have to be difficult. For more information, visit or call (937) 222-5825 or 800-776-5301. Better Business Bureau can provide a list of BBB Accredited jewelers, as well as Business Profiles on ones you're considering.

John North is president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.

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