- Do not be afraid to ask the dealer selling the jewelry its origin. Is it made in the USA? This is not crucial because there are a lot of great silversmiths in Mexico and Indonesia, but it is nice to know.
- Ask the artist’s name who made it. So much of the silver jewelry being produced is generic and the artist’s name will not be known. This is really not a big issue if you really like the piece and it is good quality. If the artist’s name is known, there should be a hallmark stamped on the back of the piece.
- Look for a “STERLING” or “925” stamp on the back. This will indicate that it is truly sterling silver. We sometimes use old US silver coins to make some of our pieces so we will stamp “COIN” on the back meaning that the material is 90% pure as opposed to 92.5% pure silver which sterling silver is.
- If the piece has any stonework on it, ask what type of stone it is and if it has been dyed or is the natural color. Many stones are dyed to look whatever color they want to produce. Do not worry so much about stone that has been stabilized because that is not the same as dyed. Many stones must be stabilized because they are too soft to cut without this process.
- If you are buying online and have any questions about the piece you are about to order, do not hesitate to call the place you are buying from and ask them any questions you might have. There is a ton of junk our there on the internet. You do not want to buy a piece online and then be told by someone who knows what they are talking about that it is a piece of junk.
- Find out what the return policy is just in case the piece was not honestly represented at either a store or online. Most stores will give a store credit at the very least if you return it in a timely manner. If it was truly misrepresented, then you should be able to return it and get a full refund, no questions asked.
The bottom line is that if you are buying from a reputable dealer who has been in business for a while, you should feel safe. The sales people usually know the answers to any of your questions and they are not going to BS you just to make a sale. That is why they are still in business and have a good name.