Smart Jewellery Buying Tips 

Yes, this is an odd article to post at the current time when travel has all but ceased.  Planes are parked, going nowhere, empty cruise ships head back to their port of origin where probably sooner rather than later to be relegated to the scarp heap.  


I wonder how cruise companies are going to convince us that it is safe to go cruising again for those who love? So why post now? Just one of those things where the article was almost finished before the current “Stay the BLEEP at home” instruction.  Now it is complete, so post it. 


As a Gemmologist and an appraiser, I get to see clients with items of jewellry bought while on holidays, including from cruise ships. In most cases, the story becomes an absolute nightmare for the purchaser. Be it the amount of money that was paid for the item, a fake or synthetic stone being sold as natural, being told by the shop assistant that if they had any concerns they could have their money back and not reading the small print on the receipt from their purchase. Unfortunately, I do not think I have ever heard of a happy ending, in this situation that is. LOL. 


My advice is don’t be foolish and buy jewellery at home where you are protected by Australian Law and Consumer Legislation.  


If you must and yes some of you will, as you won’t be able to stop that obsessive craving to shop, here are a few tips that will be of use:

1. Arm yourself with information. Do your research before you go regarding jewellers or gemstone merchants that are at your ports of call. Look to the reviews by previous customers. Look to the government of the country and see is the dealer is registered or a member of a reputable society or association.  Check if the dealer provides certificates and see if these certificates can be verified.  It is easy to search certificates through the certificate providers website and remember if the website looks bogus it probably is.  If you doubt any information that you find contact your friendly appraiser or gemmologist and ask their advice.  Some sites started by travellers that learnt the hard way include: / /

2. Now when you are there:  Disregard any values expressed by the seller.  A sale is what they are after and they know that you will not be back anytime soon. The simple logical question to ask is “If they are saying the value is $25,000.00 why are they selling it to me for $10,000.00?” 

3. They expect that you will haggle and if you don’t and buy then they are once again the winner.  

4. Unless it’s a well known branded store beware.  Even if it says “Cartier” is it really? The answer is probably NO!

5. Read the fine print. Read the guarantees, return policies, conditions, etc., before any purchase. Unless all conditions are removed and you cant get an unconditional guarantee walk away and shop elsewhere.

6. If asked to sign the sales receipt. DO NOT.  This usually means that you are entering into a sale contract, and that contract will only benefit the seller.

7. If you decide to buy ensureyou insist on: a) being able to get a full refund for any reason, make that yourcondition to the sale; b) on gemmological laboratory reports by reputable independent laboratories (GIA, HRD, Grublin, etc), and; c) specific quality information on your sales receipt including colour, clarity, if the stone has been treated and other gemmological terms and language, and; d) don’t rely on dealer lists given to you by guides, travel agents or cruise lines.

8. Not everything will be a bad experience.  Local manufactures and artisans may offer items that are not to be seen elsewhere. Research, research, research… before you go discover what is potentially on offer and which artisans or dealers are reputable. And contact your local appraiser or gemmologist and ask for valuable advice and information. 


Read this: David Siskin Blog, (The incredible jewelry selling machine).