Independent jewelry companies are far and in between nowadays. With larger companies taking up a lot of the jewelry market space, there is still room for the smaller jewelry business to flourish.
Here are a few reasons you want to seek out an independent jewelry store online or in your local area.
Shopping Large Brand Jewelry Stores
When shopping large big brand jewelry stores, you will be dealing with a sales associate and not a jeweler. Why is this important? Well, for a few reasons. A jeweler is going to know their product. They will know where it was sourced, the quality, the weight of the metal, the gemstone quality, and the ability to resize or adjust the item if needed. Generally, a salesperson will know the jewelry style and perhaps a few selling points.
When you buy from a large branded company, you also lose the ability to find handmade jewelry such as bracelets, chains, rings, earrings, etc. A lot of this kind of jewelry has more meaning behind it than just for looks.
For instance, if you want to bring abundance into your life, you may seek out handmade earrings made of Citrine gemstones. Jewelry like this will come with gemstones that help protect you or aid with bringing love into your life, abundance, and more. Big chain companies do not cater to this kind of handmade design.
An additional area that large brand stores lack is their ability to appraise an item you buy from them. You can get a rough estimate from them. Still, when it comes to getting a certified jeweler’s certification, that will come at a higher cost or not come with the piece you are buying at all.
Quality control of jewelry is tough for a large company to do. They work in thousands of pieces sourced from all parts of the world. They may have the metal design done in one country, and then the gemstone work done separately. The quality between the two could be off by quite a bit.
Looking at a piece of jewelry like this through the naked eye will not show much difference. Still, when you look at the work through a scope, you will start to see irregularities and little things here and there that can significantly reduce the overall value of the product or lead to the jewelry failing. Loose stones are lost, metal may be warped, or other metal may be added to conceal issues.
In smaller shops, all the work is done in-house. All material is sourced locally or from one place. Any issues are often taken care of in the best way possible, or the piece is melted down and recreated. Adherence to quality is a smaller shop’s top priority. Without it, they will have no customers.
How Independent Jewelry Companies Source Gemstones and Metals
Material sourcing is a big deal in the industry. All companies need to track where their precious gemstones were sourced by worldwide regulations. The sourcing cannot be from an area that is black-labeled by the industry.
A smaller company must know where every precious gemstone has come from and keep a history of the materials. The paper trail is usually audited once a year to ensure no updates are needed.
There are times when there is a common benefit for a larger company to carry a local designer’s jewelry brand. Take, for instance, a jeweler named Charles Albert. Most people will never know him or wear his jewelry brand. Yet, you may be surprised to hear that performing artist Lady Gaga wears his jewelry, Demi Lovato, and many more.
Large branded companies may find it to their advantage to bring this kind of handmade jewelry into their store.
Why? Because those customers who follow the performing artists and actors will know the kind of jewelry, they wear and will be looking for it. It is better to get the sales through walk-in traffic than to lose it from the customer going to the Charles Albert and buying it at a lower cost. They get the markup and keep the customer.
The same can be said for other companies such as Harmony Jewelers. They also create handmade jewelry for both men and women. You may not find them in large brand name stores, but you can bet you will find them online and in the social circles of many influential people.
Big Brand Pricing
More prominent brands will price their jewelry very high. Why is that? Major brand jewelers are betting their customers know nothing about how to buy metals or gemstones. They use that to their advantage.
You will never see a sales associate taking a buyer by the hand and explaining how gold or silver is priced and what influences the price.
What you will hear is about the karat size, the cut, color, and possibly the weight of the metal. The importance of the metal is a maybe because there are two ways of measuring gold by oz and by the gram. Most people are confused by it and do not know how to calculate based on the gold’s purity. Local or independent jewelry companies would know how to do this and ensure the buyer gets a fair deal.
Let’s sum it all up
Independent jewelry companies are a good choice when:
- When you want to know what you are buying.
- You want handmade jewelry.
- You want an honest jeweler to help you select your fine or handmade jewelry.
We list what a buyer should look for when choosing a website to buy from. You can read our in-depth article here.
Does it matter if you buy online or in a physical store?
No, it does not matter. You can buy online or in a physical store. All jewelry stores, including independent jewelry companies, are regulated in some way or another through their state.
All stores must follow The World Diamond Council System of Warranties which reads, “The diamonds herein invoiced have been purchased or sourced from legitimate sources not involved in funding conflict, in compliance with United Nations Resolutions and corresponding national laws. The seller hereby guarantees that these diamonds are conflict-free and confirms adherence to the WDC SoW Guidelines.”
Being a small handmade jeweler, we recommend you seek out a jeweler you are comfortable with—someone you can trust to provide you the service you expect.