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Choosing a reputable jeweller

Jewellery has proved itself a sound investment and one that can be passed down from generation to generation. In a recent survey to find people’s most irreplaceable items , we found that of those who choose jewellery as their most treasured possession, 39% said it was because it reminds them of someone special and just over half of people expect to pass the jewellery on to their next of kin.

Finding a reputable jeweller can help guide you through the process, whether you want to buy or sell jewellery, find an antique engagement ring or an expensive Christmas gift- the jeweller who can provide the best overall value from the experience, not just the best price, is often the better choice.

There are thousands of jewellers scattered across the country with some areas like London’s Hatton Garden and Birmingham having their own jewellery quarters, but with so much choice, how can you know you’re in the safe hands of a reputable jeweller?

Dave Simms is the head of home insurance for specialist insurer Ecclesiastical. His team work with jewellery valuations as part of the process of providing home insurance quotes . Dave’s advice is to shop around and do some research: “Like most things in life, you need to take a little time and do some research. The more effort you invest in making the right decision, the better the results you’re going to get – and that can make a big difference when you’re buying or selling antique jewellery or other valuable pieces.”

How to choose a reputable jeweller 

To help you separate the precious metals from the fool’s gold, Ecclesiastical’s home insurance team offers this advice for buying or selling jewellery and the importance of getting a jewellery valuation :

1. Use your social network

Begin by asking friends, family and colleagues for their experiences and recommendations. People close to you will be able to give you real honest details about their experience. 

2. Check credentials

Once you’ve got a shortlist of reputable jewellers, check them out online, paying particular attention to whether or not they belong to any trade bodies or guilds like the National Association of Goldsmiths or the British Jewellers’ Association. 

3. Read the reviews

Most reputable jewellers will have online reviews available so you can get an idea of whether they have what you need and provide a quality service too. Use sites like Tripadvisor and Trust Pilot to give you an idea of other people’s experiences. 

4. Check in-store

Now that you’ve narrowed your potential stores down to one or two, it’s time to check them out in person. When you visit, take a look at the store itself. Does it appear to be professional and well laid out?  Is there a wide range of stock? Does the store have a look of permanence or is it very new? 

5. Are staff knowledgeable?

Staff at a reputable jeweller should be knowledgeable. Do any of the staff – particularly the manager of the store – have relevant professional qualifications? The National Association of Goldsmiths offers a range of study programmes leading to qualifications like the Professional Jewellers’ Diploma (JET). There’s also Fellowship of the National Association of Goldsmiths (FNAG). Other good ones to keep an eye out for are MIRV (Membership of the Institute of Registered Valuers) and AJA (an accredited member of the Association of Jewellery Appraisers).

A final quick little test is, when you’re examining an item, ask one of the staff if the store has a loupe it can lend you. A loupe is a jewellers’ magnifying glass – one of the small round glasses they put in their eye. A reputable jeweller will certainly have one available.

6. If you're hunting for diamonds

Watch out for jargon, a reputable jeweller should be confident in their gemmological knowledge and will be able to provide the original gemmological certificate with the sale of each diamond. When using the loupe, make sure to view the diamond on a white background as a black background can hinder perception of the diamond’s colour. 

7. Returns policy 

Pay close attention to their policy on returns and refunds. Can you get a full refund on an item or does the store prefer to give you some kind of credit? How long have you got in which to return a purchased item or gift? Be aware that items that have been personalised with engraving usually cannot be returned for a refund unless the item is faulty. Also, what level of guarantee does the store offer on its products?

8. If you're selling jewellery

Seek a valuation for jewellery before you sell to ensure you get a fair deal. Don’t head for ‘cash for gold stores’ but hunt around for the best option at the best price. Which? provide tips on selling jewellery at the best price

Jewellery insurance

Despite selecting jewellery as their most treasured item, we found 67% of people didn’t have specialist insurance in place to protect it. 

Jewellery can usually be insured on your home contents insurance. It’s important to let us know when you need to cover jewellery and other specialist items or high value items on your policy. You can do this by speaking with the home insurance team on 0345 604 6438. They will be able to provide advice on the correct level of cover as well as seeking jewellery valuations.

Read more about jewellery insurance .

Ecclesiastical Insurance Group plc (EIG) Reg No 1718196. Ecclesiastical Insurance Office plc (EIO) Reg No 24869. Ecclesiastical Life Ltd (ELL) Reg No 243111. Ecclesiastical Financial Advisory Services Ltd (EFAS) Reg No 2046087. Ecclesiastical Underwriting Management Ltd (EUML) Reg No 2368571. E.I.O. Trustees Ltd Reg No 941199. EdenTree Investment Management Ltd (EIM) Reg No 2519319. All companies are registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester GL1 1JZ. EIO and ELL are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 113848 (EIO) and 110318 (ELL). EFAS and EIM are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Firm Reference Number 126123 (EFAS) and 527473 (EIM). EUML is an appointed representative of EIO who is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference Number 402228.