How to find a reputable jeweller
With many differing brands offering similar products, it’s hard to know what to look for in a reputable jeweller. However, there are three key factors that people should consider when choosing where to go: quality, sourcing, and customer service.
The process of buying an engagement ring can be intimidating. Most people have never done it before and hopefully won’t have to do it again! Scrolling through hundreds of different rings and wondering how to choose the perfect one for your loved one is not the easiest task. And considering engagement rings and other fine jewellery are typically gifted to mark a huge milestone in your life, most people want to go somewhere they trust and feel safe buying from.
However, once you know what to look for in a jeweller it’s much easier to find that modern heirloom to mark your love story. Simply put there are three key ways to identify a reputable jeweller. This includes:
- The quality of the gemstones
- Responsible sourcing practices and transparency of their gemstone origins
- The customer service throughout the entire process
These three factors combine to ensure you are getting a quality piece from a trusted industry professional. Once you find someone you trust that can guide you to the right choice you can then focus on the exciting part: the actual proposal and wedding!
Quality of the Gemstone or DiamondDiamonds and Gemstones are graded relatively similar but with a few key differences. Starting with diamonds, they have a very specific grading process which checks on the 4 C’s: Cut, Colour Clarity, and Carat.
Cut refers to the different shape of the Diamond - which can be altered to the customers choice.
Colour refers to the aesthetic colour of the diamond which can range from entirely colourless to a quite visible yellow colour. This grading is done in alphabetical order with the most colourless being D and the most coloured being at Z with a noticeable yellow colour (even to the naked eye).
Clarity refers to the amount of visible inclusions in the Diamond. This scale ranges from FL (flawless) to I3 (inclusions pretty visible). There are a number of scales such as VVS (very very slight inclusions) and SI (slight inclusions).
Finally, carat refers to the size and weight and again can be chosen based on the customer preferences and budget.
At Fenton, we only stock VS clarity diamonds in which any inclusions are only visible under magnification. And our diamonds are all G/H colour: near colourless. This grade of diamond is incredibly high and will compare to every single other luxury diamond vendor: lab grown or mined.
It is essential to check the quality of your diamond using these 4 checks as otherwise you risk being disappointed by the quality and appearance of your diamond.
Gemstones also follow the four C’s in terms of grading but, since gemstones themselves are more varied and complex, as is the grading system.
Gemstones use colour but considering the vast range of colours possible, colour is divided up into hue, tone and saturation. Hue is the basic colour (e.g. pink or blue), tone is the depth of the colour (light/dark) and saturation is the intensity of the hue.
Clarity for gemstones is more complicated and different jewellers use different scales (such as Type I, II or III or A, AA, AAA+). There is no correct method of classifying clarity and it is important that the information is clear and honest regarding the inclusions. Unlike diamonds, gemstones sometimes have visible inclusions but often this makes the gemstone totally unique and actually adds to the character. There is no right level of inclusions and it is important your jeweller is just transparent with you about the clarity of your stone.
Cut is the shape of the stone and is very similar to Diamond, with the typical four cuts being emerald, oval, round and cushion. However, these can be customised for preference.
Carat is slightly more complex with gemstones as they all have varying depths. Therefore, at Fenton (and some other jewellers) we opt to classify size in respect to diameter. This measure provides the most accurate classification to depict size. However, again this is up to each jeweller and can be adjusted.
To learn more on gemstone grading we offer a more detailed analysis here.
The main takeaway is that there is never one set way of grading gemstones: you should aim to find a jeweller who is direct with all the classifications and doesn’t attempt to hide or twist any information.
Responsible SourcingThe gemstone and diamond mining industry has always had some form of ambiguity and lack of transparency surrounding the mining practises. Luckily, times have changed and more and more customers are aware about the shadiness surrounding the industry and advocate for a more transparent ethical process to be put in place.
Because of this, there has been an increase in general regulation within the industry, such as the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme being passed in 2003 – which aims to prevent conflict-zone diamonds being sold or traded. This is a step in the right direction however, there’s still more to do with regulating working conditions.
So, for customers looking to buy a beautiful forever ring, it can often be confusing to double check the ethics and sourcing of the jeweller. Naturally, no jewellery brand will want to disclose if they source from unregulated mines or from illegal conflict zones. However, you can double check – look for information about the initial location of the diamond or how long it has been in circulation.
Brands that do have certifications regarding their sourcing and commitment to sustainable practices will gladly share. One useful measure is to check for B Corp status. A B corporation is a for profit organisation that meets the highest standard of environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability.
At Fenton, we pride ourselves on sourcing gemstones responsibly and producing each piece of fine jewellery we sell. We are a certified B Corporation and are 1 of the only jewellers in the UK with this qualification. This ensures your gemstone will come from conflict free zones with fair working conditions and zero child labour.
However, in doubt, when searching for a reputable jeweller, you should consider their sourcing processes and transparency throughout the supply chain. Many Traditional Jewellers buy diamonds from various dealers with little to no idea of the original sourcing location of the diamond and where it came from and the working conditions of the mine. Therefore, by supporting these jewellers, customers are unknowingly supporting unfair labour practices.
It is important to purchase from a jeweller that prioritises every aspect of the production and supply chain. If you are buying an engagement ring to commemorate and celebrate love, you want to ensure no part of this purchase is supporting terrible working conditions.
Customer ServiceYour relationship with a jeweller should begin from the very moment you book your appointment and continue until you are fully satisfied with your product.
With an engagement ring being such a large purchase, you want to look for a brand with excellent customer service throughout the process – not ending as soon as you walk out of the store. There should be an ability to resize or return a ring after purchase. You can see on brands’ websites what their exchange programme is or what refunds they can offer.
Also, it is sometimes useful to outsource your research and check on other sites that show customer reviews such as Trustpilot. Trustpilot allows you to see the average rating of the brand and read reviews of first hand experiences. Fenton has a claimed Trustpilot site with 450+ 5* reviews. As we constantly strive to offer consistent customer service from beginning to end.
Also, at Fenton, there is a 60 day window for complimentary exchanges, refunds or resizing. Then after this 60 day period, there is an Aftercare membership available for purchase. Aftercare is our industry leading membership plan that lasts for 12 months after purchase (with an upfront fee of £105). The plan includes an annual service check, professional cleaning, tightening and adjustment, reshaping and resizing and stone replacement.
Now you're armed with plenty of knowledge to begin your journey towards finding your dream ring while identifying reputable jewellers and staying far away from those with shady practices!
We can’t wait for you to find your perfect ring and would love to be the ones to help you get there. Whether you are just looking for a self gift to treat yourself or looking to find your forever engagement ring for your partner. Fenton has a large range from you to choose from: we have over 6000+ combinations of stones and bands and metals. Or, if you have your own specific creation in mind we would be more than happy to assist you with a Bespoke ring. So, if you think you are ready to start your journey and create your dream Fenton ring for you and your partner – get in touch today!
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