A Few Tips for Buying Your First Pieces of Jewellery

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Buying jewellery shouldn't be a hassle, as you can often find quality pieces that are still affordable in a number of different department stores and online. However, you want to know what you're looking for so that you don't fall for cheap jewellery. When you're ready to buy some jewellery, note a few tips to ensure you get the best pieces available.

Know the difference between natural, synthetic and imitation

When buying gemstones, you may see the terms natural, synthetic (or the word cultured for pearls) and imitation. Natural is just that; these stones are actually dug out of the ground and these pearls are found by divers. These stones may be the rarest and most expensive. 

Synthetic, are exactly like natural gemstones except that they're grown in a lab. Pearls grown in a lab are called cultured. Synthetic or cultured gems can be quality stones that are simply much more affordable than natural gems. Typically only a jeweller can tell the difference between natural and synthetic or cultured stones, and sometimes they can't even see any difference. 

Imitation gems are really nothing more than colored plastic. These will have little if any shine or luster and may start to darken and get cloudy before too long.

Not all silver is silver

Silver is rated by how much silver is actually in the metal itself; sterling silver has the highest concentration of actual silver. However, if you see the terms nickel silver or German silver, note that these may have little to almost no silver in the metal. These may contain more nickel, brass or other such cheap metal with only enough silver to give a nice finish. That finish is very likely to wear off and you'll be left with a chain or other piece that turns green or discolors and cannot be fixed.

Higher gold karats are not always good

Gold karats refers to the weight or density of the gold itself. You might think that you want 24 karat or 18 karat pieces, assuming this will be a better choice. However, the higher the karat, the softer the gold. You might see 24 karat gold rings become scratched or even bent out of shape from daily use. While 14 karat gold may not be as valuable because of having less actual gold weight, it's also a harder gold that withstands daily wear, so keep this in mind when making your jewellery purchase.