Christian Jewelry Store
Q: Can you bargain with a jeweler as you can with a car
dealer? My girlfriend and I have seen some rings we like a Henry
A:Probably not at Silverman's, and generally not at any jewelry store. The exception is with expensive stuff (> $2k or so); local places might be willing to dicker a bit. (Big places, like Tiffany's -- if you want to go to Dallas for it -- won't dicker on stuff less than about $5k.) A couple of bits of unsolicited, impertinent, advice: Silverman's stuff isn't really all that high quality. Before you buy anything from them, try looking at the same or similar stuff at other (i.e., better) places like Sheftall, Benold's, or Sam L. Majors. Silverman's may be cheaper (but maybe not...) than better places, but you generally do get what you pay for in honest jewelry stores. There's a lot to consider in jewelry quality, especially in gemstones, especially in diamonds. (My wife's a gemologist, the coursework for which took a couple of years, several thousand pages of textbooks, and endless staring through microscopes at little tiny rocks.) Contrary to most people's apparent opinion, size is not the only variable in a diamond. There's also clarity (generally measured on a "GIA scale") that ranges through Flawless (F), Internally Flawless (IF), Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1, VVS2), Very Slightly Included (VS1, VS2), Slightly Included (SI1, SI2), Included (I1, I2, I3). There's color, measured from absolutely white ("D" color) all the way to really ugly brown ("Z" worst case, but anything past about "M" is noticeable). There's also cut: in a standard "round" diamond there is a very precise (angles measured to a fraction of a degree) definition of "ideal" cut, any deviation from which reduces the brightness of the diamond. Other kinds of stones (rubies, emeralds, etc.) don't have this kind of rigorous grading system, but they have similar variations. Most emeralds these days, for example, are kind of chalky whitish-green rather than a brilliant "emerald" green. A really clear emerald is fiendishly expensive. Most of the diamonds in places like Silverman's (and Service Mdse, etc.) are in the SI to I range in clarity, J to L in color. Better stores carry, in addition to that, VS (and if you really want it, VVS) F-H stones. And believe me, you can _really_ see a difference, even with bare eyes. A clear, white, nicely cut stone looks a lot better -- and can even "look" bigger -- than a muddy brown pebble of the same weight. Also keep in mind there are price-per-carat break-points: a decent .95 carat ("95 points" in the trade) will run something like $2500 per carat; at 1.05 carats, it's probably more like $4000 per carat (for the same clarity, color, and cut, of course). (D-Flawless stones (I've only ever seen one) can run $10-$20k per carat or more...) Also keep in mind that some jewelers will play games like selling really wide, shallow, stones that look huge but don't have a lot of weight and do have really lousy proportions. These things look absolutely dead -- like glass -- once you get out of the fabulous jewelry-store lighting. Sorry about the long posting, just playing consumer advocate.