7 Red Flags to Avoid When Choosing a Jeweller

by | Jewellery Wisdom, Wisdom


SH Jewellery
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Source: SH Jewellery

For the average person, buying an engagement ring or wedding band is like taking the car to a mechanic; you know nothing about camshafts, spindles, push rods and pistons, so when the mechanic says he needs $3,000 to get the job done, you’ve little choice but to trust in his knowledge.

Fortunately, finding a trustworthy jeweller when you can’t tell a diamond from a diamanté is relatively easy when you know what to look for. Here are 7 red flags to avoid to ensure you’re not overwhelmed by sparkly jargon and silky-smooth salespeople.

Source: SH Jewellery

Bad Client Reviews

Before even leaving the house or buying an engagement ring online, refer to third-party platforms like Facebook and Google to browse client reviews. Testimonials on jewellers’ websites are curated to feature only the best, but independent sites can paint a very different picture once you scratch the 5-star surface.

Use discretion when reading negative reviews, however. Consider the circumstances and whether the customer’s complaint is reasonable, then read the jeweller’s response. Does the jeweller accept responsibility and attempt to rectify the situation? Or do they consistently ignore poor reviews, deny responsibility and shift blame to the customer? If so, congratulations, you’ve found your first red flag!

Lousy Warranties   

Product warranties reveal a lot about a business. A strong warranty says to customers, “We’re so confident in the quality and craftsmanship of our rings that the chances of you returning for repairs during the warranty period are slim to none.” 

If they’ve been in business for a while, they’ve tried and tested their product warranties against the quality of their engagement rings and wedding bands, and know that their products stand the test of time. So what’s a lousy warranty? Anything under 10 years for precious metals handcrafted by an experienced Master Jeweller and you’ve found another big red flag – superior skill and quality make a 10-year warranty a very achievable promise.

  Source: SH Jewellery


Lack of Industry Memberships & Certification 

If a jeweller holds memberships to credible industry bodies, these documents will be proudly displayed in-store and on their website. As an absolute minimum, diamonds should be GIA-certified, laser-inscribed with a serial number and sold with matching certification. If not, this is a no-deal red flag.

Reputable Australian jewellers also have memberships with the Jewellers’ Association of Australia and the Gemmological Association of Australia, holding them accountable to strict codes of conduct around quality and ethics.

No industry memberships or GIA certification? This is an entire bunting of big red flags.

Poor Aftercare Service

If a jeweller doesn’t offer complimentary lifetime aftercare, including unlimited free jewellery inspections and free ring clean up to six times per year, they’re not serious about maintaining an ongoing relationship with you.

They either don’t realise your engagement ring or wedding band is a walking advertisement for their brand, or they’re not willing to wear the negligible cost of cleaning your ring, when you’ve already invested thousands of dollars in their business.

If a jeweller doesn’t offer a complimentary lifetime inspection service to identify structural issues that should be fixed to avoid further preventable damage, or they’re not willing to clean your ring at least six times a year, they’re waving red flags in your face. Because the jeweller down the road probably does.

And a free cleaning kit to maintain the brilliance of your ring at home between visits? This is a standard inclusion – not an up-sell.

Source: SH Jewellery

Fixed Pricing

Now before you go bartering Bali market-style, beware negotiating diamond sales like you might other wedding vendors. If a salesperson is willing to drop tens to hundreds of dollars off a diamond just to make a sale, it’s a good indication it was overpriced to begin with, and they’re more concerned with making a quick sale than sending you home with a personality-matched ring you truly love for all the right reasons.

This red flag refers specifically to a price-match guarantee. Experienced jewellers with membership to the National Council of Jewellery Valuers are highly skilled experts trained in pricing diamonds and fine jewellery, so you can be confident you’re getting the best price for the quality of diamond you’re purchasing.

If, however, in the highly unlikely event that another jeweller (as a result of bulk-buying or tighter supply chains) is able to offer a cheaper price for a GIA-certified diamond of comparable carat, colour, clarity, cut, fluorescence, polish, symmetry, table % and depth %, then a respectable jeweller will honour this price for the diamond they’re selling.

If a jeweller isn’t confident enough in their pricing to offer a price-match guarantee (because they consistently and deliberately inflate their prices), consider this a red flag. You may not be getting the best possible price on your wedding bands.

Source: SH Jewellery

Chain Retailers

There’s nothing wrong with buying engagement rings or wedding bands from chain store retailers; if they weren’t reputable operators, they would have gone out of business long ago. Something to consider with multi-store retailers, however, is mass production. With a store in every capital city and a spate of shops in every state, the chances of someone else having your engagement ring within a small radius is relatively high.

Choosing an independent jeweller, on the other hand, means you’re not only supporting a family-owned business, but you’re also far less likely to run into someone on the street with the exact same ring.

If uniqueness and quality are important to you, choose an independent jeweller with an exclusive range that’s designed in-house from the ground up using diamonds consistently 3-4 grades higher than industry standards and 7-8 grades higher than chain stores.

No Refund or Exchange When Buying Online

Expecting a customer to be 100% satisfied with a product they’ve never seen, touched or worn is unrealistic, and expecting them to accept what they’re given without refund or exchange is plain unfair.

An engagement ring or wedding band is a lifelong investment of a highly personal nature. If a customer can’t make it in-store to try on the product and experience its fire and brilliance, it’s only fair to allow them the opportunity to exchange their ring, or have their money refunded.

As a standard, 30 days to exchange or refund online purchases allows customers ample time to trial the ring and return it in its original condition and packaging. If an online jeweller doesn’t offer a fair and realistic exchange or refund for online purchases, you’ve found another red flag. Unless of course, you’re prepared to invest hundreds or thousands of dollars in buying a ring online that may not be what you imagined when it arrives.

Source: SH Jeweller

Avoid the Red Flags

If you’re in the market for engagement rings or wedding bands and want a non-commissioned Jewellery & Diamond Specialist who doesn’t raise red flags, start perusing online reviews and use the criteria outlined above to eliminate the jewellers who aren’t worthy of your hard-earned wedding dollars.

About the author SH Jewellery: As an independent jeweller, the SH Jewellery collection is exclusive to our brand, allowing us full creative freedom over the look and feel of our engagement rings and wedding bands. All our rings are designed in-house at our Springvale showroom, combining decades of design history with modern influences from across the globe.


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