How to Get the Most Value From Your Jewelry Purchases

I have received a few questions recently about value – “how can I tell if I am getting good value?”, “how can I tell if what I bought is good quality and will last?”, “how do I know if it is a good investment?”.  These are all very good questions, especially when making a big purchase.

Here are 4 things to consider when you purchase jewelry that will ensure you get the most value from your purchases.

  1. How often will you wear it?
  2. Is it good quality?
  3. How much do you like it?
  4. Are you worth the investment?


1. How often will you wear it?

People typically buy 2 types of jewelry- everyday jewelry or special occasion jewelry.

Everyday Jewelry:

Everyday jewelry can be something that you wear year-round, or that is seasonal.

These are the staples in your jewelry box and the pieces that you turn to again and again.  It could be the pair of  classic sterling silver earrings that coordinate with all your necklaces, or it could be that bright coral and turquoise necklace that you wear all summer long because it goes with all your colorful summer outfits.


Special Occasion Jewelry:

Special occasion jewelry could be for a significant event, like your wedding, a red carpet gala, or a New Years adventure. Or it could be for a specific use, such as going on vacation.

Investing in special occasion jewelry is different than investing in everyday jewelry because although you may only wear it once, it will live on forever in pictures and in your memories.  It often has a high sentimental value.

As a result, most people invest much more in special occasion jewelry because, well it’s special.  Makes sense.



What is surprising to me though is that people typically do not see the value of everyday jewelry and are willing to invest much less.  They are not considering the lifetime value of the jewelry.

Let’s say you fall in love with a necklace that is $500 for your wedding.  If you only wear it on your wedding day, it is a $500 investment for that one day.  You feel it’s worth it, even if you don’t wear it again, because it’s your wedding day.

Now let’s say you fall in love with a necklace that would be more of an everyday necklace and it’s $500.  Many people wouldn’t invest in it (if you would, good for you!).  If it’s something you wear often, let’s say once a week all year long, it is really only a $9.62 investment for each day you wear it.  What if you wear it everyday, or once a week for 5 years, or it’s something you keep for decades and pass down to your daughter one day?  It becomes priceless at that point with a very high lifetime value- well worth a $500 investment.

Tip 1: When looking to invest in a piece of jewelry, whether it’s $30, $300, or $3,000, consider how often you will wear it.  The more you will wear it, the better the investment and the more value you will get from that piece of jewelry.

2. Is it good quality?

Quality matters, unless it doesn’t…

What do I mean by that?  Not everyone cares about quality.  If you are someone who just likes trendy jewelry and you tend to only wear the pieces you buy for a season or two and then get something new, quality probably isn’t a big concern for you.  If this is the case, you will want to make your investments moderate- consider how often you will wear the piece of jewelry and decide how much that is worth to you from there.

If you are looking for an everyday piece of jewelry that you will wear often, or a special occasion piece of jewelry that you plan to pass down to your daughter one day, then quality definitely matters.

In this case, look for high-quality materials like gold, platinum or sterling silver.  If you like costume jewelry, look for pieces that are rhodium plated.  Look for natural gemstones or organics like pearls, high quality crystals such as Swarovski, or high quality glass like Czech Glass.  Look for reviews of the specific piece of jewelry you are buying or of other pieces from that designer- paying special attention to feedback that mentions the word quality (you can search the feedback for this word).

If you are buying jewelry that is good quality, the price will be consistent with that, so beware of any deals that seem too good to be true- they usually are.  This is a post for another day, but there are plenty of dishonest sellers out there who pass off silver-plated base metals as sterling silver or dyed gemstones as natural.  Sterling Silver is currently expensive, and gold and platinum are always more expensive.  If you see the price of something and wonder how they can charge so little, it’s probably not genuine.  Stick with companies or artists that you trust, or if buying from someone new, check feedback and buy with caution if a deal seems too good to be true.

Tip 2: Determine how important quality is to you and how long you want the jewelry to last for.  Keep that in mind when making purchasing decisions to ensure you are getting the value you expect.

3. How much do you like it?

You should only buy things you like.  Period.

Sounds like a no-brainer right?  Yet I can’t tell you how many people come up to me at a trunk show and when I comment on their jewelry or outfit, they sheepishly say “I don’t even know why I bought this, I don’t even like it.”  It makes me wonder why did they buy it, or worse, why they are wearing something they don’t like.

The reality is, we have all done this from time to time.

  • You aren’t sure that you like it but a friend or saleswoman tells you how amazing it looks, so you buy it, never feeling quite comfortable in it…
  • You don’t have anything in that color which seems to be all the rage this season, so you buy it, even though you secretly think wearing green makes you look like a vegetable…  (Just for the record- green is my favorite color but I know plenty of women who don’t like it :D)
  • It was on sale or “cheap” and you tell yourself, “how could I not buy it for this price?” (see the next section for my thoughts on this one)
As Kevin O’Leary, aka Mr. Wonderful, on Shark Tank would say “Stop the madness!”  Seriously.  Buying something you don’t like  leaves less money to invest in things you do like.

Tip 3: If you choose to only invest in those items you really love, you will be able to invest in higher quality pieces, or more pieces, depending on which is most important to you.


4. Are you worth the investment?

(I know this one may sound strange and it is much more philosophical than the others, but read on to see what I mean.  This one hangs a lot of people up on purchases of any kind.)

When I hear people say “it isn’t worth it” when they look at something, or that “it costs too much money”, what it really means 90% of the time is that they don’t feel they are worth it.  It is usually much less about the actual value or cost of the piece of jewelry, or the new outfit, or the new shoes- it is more of a self-confidence issue.

These same people often have closets and jewelry boxes full of clothing and accessories that they have never worn and still have tags on them. It was “too good of a deal to pass up” or “it was cheap” or they think “I’ll wear it someday”… so they justify their purchases even though they know that they will probably never wear it.  This type of buying habit fills a void for them and is a form of avoidance- of avoiding getting what they really want- because deep down they don’t feel they deserve to get what they really want and that they aren’t worth it.

It’s not that the pair of shoes was really too expensive or that they even couldn’t afford them (if you add up all the money they spent on all the shoes they will never wear and probably don’t even like that much, it’s probably well more than the cost of the shoes they think they can’t afford)- it’s that they don’t feel they are worth a pair of shoes that “expensive”.

Self-worth is a tricky thing to tackle and a long journey that begins with recognition.  A good place to start is to analyze your buying habits (although these same habits are usually evident in other areas of life as well, such as dating habits- but we won’t go there…).

I used to struggle with this when I was much younger- in my late teens/early twenties. I was the girl I described above- my closets were busting open with shoes and clothes and purses- half of them unworn and even worse in a size way too small because I not only would “wear it someday”, I would “fit into it someday”.  I would see something I loved but decide it was too expensive and instead would spend just as much on “junk”, justifying my purchases because I was able to get 4 pairs of jeans for the same price as the 1 pair I was looking at.  The problem was that I really wanted the 1 pair- they fit and looked great, and the 4 pairs didn’t… so I never wore them and instead kept thinking about the 1 pair.  Not buying the 1 perfect pair of jeans would haunt me so I would keep seeking a cheaper pair that I liked just as much and that fit just as good… although I never found them.

My buying habits are much, much different today.  Now when I find something I like, I ask myself the following questions:

  • How bad do I want it?
  • Will it last forever and if not, do I care that it won’t?
  • Can I afford it without jeopardizing my financial health, i.e. am I am going to miss a mortgage payment to buy it?
  • Will it haunt me if I don’t buy it?

Assuming I really want it, it is the quality that I expect, and it’s not going to put me in financial ruin, I buy it- because I know it is something I really want and deserve (and that it will haunt me otherwise). 😉  But don’t think that means I have closets busting open with expensive items…

I am now very selective in what I buy- these days I have a smaller quantity of really nice things I truly value and absolutely love instead of a large quantity of “junk” I may never wear.  Even though the cost for a single item is sometimes 5-10 times what I used to spend on a single item in my younger years, I spend far less overall because I am selective and I make sure I get the most value from all my purchases.

Some people think that getting the most value out of something means getting it for “cheap” but I think it means just the opposite.  It is making sure that you really want it and that it is the level of quality that is important to you, and then making the decision to invest in yourself.  You deserve it, you are definitely worth it, and you will feel really good about your purchase if you made it based on these simple questions.  Beware of anyone who tells you otherwise- they may be struggling with self-worth issues themselves.

Tip 4: If you fall in love with a piece of jewelry and it meets your expectations for quality relative to how often you will wear it, buy it!  If you find yourself hesitating, really dig deep and see if you may be suffering from self-worth issues.  Now is a perfect time to realize you are worth it and get past any hang-ups once and for all!

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

  • How do you get the most value from your purchases?
  • How have your buying habits changed over the years?
  • Have you ever (or do you currently) struggle with self-worth issues that come out in your buying habits?

Please comment below.

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