When it comes to jewellery, most of us are torn between how they look and what they cost making it extremely difficult to make a decision. It is because of this that it is always better to have some general idea of why you are going to the jewellers and how much you will be able to afford before you walk into the jewellers.

First and foremost it is essential that you understand and sink in the fact that everyone has a limitation in terms of budget, thus before even going to the jewellers it is good to determine your budget’s high and low. Once you have determined the maximum and minimum that you are willing to spend on a jewellery item, you should essentially do some homework on specifics relating to brands, designers and market prices of not only precious metals but also precious stones if at all you are planning to get a jewellery item that has stones on them. Before moving on to the nitty-gritty details of buying jewellery the most important thing that you should be aware of is that when you buy jewellery it should never be considered as an investment for a number of reasons.

Firstly when you buy jewellery made up of precious metals (without precious stones) you are not only paying for the gold, silver, platinum or palladium content, but you are also paying for the jewellery design, the cost of business operations and other miscellaneous costs that the jeweller incurs to run his business. These costs are never included in the resale value as gold buyers only pay for the gold or other precious metal content in the jewellery as more often than not the jewellery piece will be sent to a refinery where it will be smelted.

Designer Jewellery

Designer jewellery often involves the use of gold, platinum or both. One reason why platinum is often the preferred precious metal by high end jewellers is due to its ability to compliment diamonds and other precious stones. Gold on the other hand is often used for pure metal designs that at times include a blend of platinum, palladium or silver if precious stones have been incorporated into the design.

The ring depicted on the left is a 3 hue 18K yellow gold, 14K rose gold and 18K platinum ring that has been crowned by a Cartier diamond. The retail price for the ring is 12,000 dollars with the diamond making up 60 % of the cost, while 25 % of the cost is attributed to the precious metal content and the remainder 15 % is accounted for design and overheads.

Similarly the ring depicted on the right costs a mere 3000 dollars with the same precious metal makeup but without the precious stone. Although it costs much less and does not have a precious stone embedded in it, the ring on the left won the ‘best wedding band design award for 2013. Buying designer jewellery should not be driven by ‘trend’ based factors; instead it should be based on personal preferences that ought to be within the individual’s affordability range.

Buying an expensive piece of designer jewellery ring only because others have it can be the most foolish thing that an individual could do in their lifetime, only because the piece of jewellery will remain a constant reminder of paying for something that you sincerely do not find attractive. If you do plan to buy jewellery for someone else besides yourself, it would be best to buy plain jewellery that contains more precious metal content rather than intricately designed jewellery riddled with stones.

Understanding Karats

Surprisingly many people who mention the word karat when talking about jewellery made from precious metals have very vague ideas of what they actually represent besides knowing for a fact that the higher the karat the more expensive the piece of jewellery is. The simplest way to explain the karat measurement is to know that the highest karat is 24 Karats.

This basically means that an item consists of 24 parts out of 24 parts of the same substance and thus when an item is referred to as 22 karat gold, it simply means that 22 parts out of 24 parts of that item is gold with the other 2 karats consisting of some other substance. In terms of calculating the percentage of an item that is 22 karats, one simply divides it by 24 and multiplies it by 100 i.e. 22/24 x 100 = 91.6%, thus a 22 karat gold ring that weighs 10 grams for instance would contain 91.6 % gold with the remainder 8.4 % consisting of some other material, therefore a 22 karat gold ring that weighs 10 grams would only contain 9.166 grams of gold i.e. 22/24 x 10 grams. To make it even simpler the table below converts karats into percentages.

24 Karats 100 % gold

22 Karats 91.666 % gold

20 Karats 83.333 % gold

18 Karats 75 % gold

16 Karats 66.666 % gold

14 Karats 58.333 % gold

12 Karats 50 % gold

10 Karats 41.666 % gold

The lowest content of gold for jewellery to be considered precious metal based jewellery is 10 karats. Second hand jewellery buyers often have a table with the prices that they offer for each karat class.