Buying the perfect piece of jewellery

By Brent Sutcliffe

A great piece of jewellery is both high fashion and timeless, an expression of personal style and an heirloom to be treasured over generations. 

Choosing beautiful jewellery is a rare event in most people's lives but it can be one of the most rewarding. Many people are intimidated by the overwhelming variety available but by adopting a few simple principles you can be sure to make the right choice.

The perfect purchase is about the right combination of jewellery and jeweller. I believe that each piece of jewellery should make both emotional and financial sense. The quality of design, craftsmanship and materials are three key elements to consider. 

Classic styling in jewellery has greater longevity than contemporary trends. The symmetry and balance used in classic design is the result of the evolution of master craftsmanship over centuries. Each jeweller has their very own signature style that will appeal to different people, but you will not make a mistake with a classic look.

Quality craftsmanship is the most important factor to consider when buying jewellery. A fine jeweller will have the ability to create a seamless surface and a beautifully proportioned piece of jewellery. It's only once you scratch the surface that you see the important differences between two things that may appear to be the same. Be wary of weak metal joins, flimsy settings and poor quality or cheap materials – no one wants their two-carat diamond to fall out and end up at the bottom of the ocean.

The standard of the materials should match the quality of the design and craftsmanship. Rare or unique stones will often increase in value over time, and high-quality coloured stones will always hold their value. Similarly, more pure metals will last longer. The interplay of metal and stones will have a direct effect on the look of the finished product. If the price of the jewellery seems too good to be true, it's usually because one or more of these elements has been compromised. If there were ever a case of ‘you get what you pay for’, buying jewellery is probably the best example.

The importance of finding the right jeweller cannot be overstated. Jewellery is both art and artisanship, and a well-made piece should last the test of time. Most importantly, you need to trust your jeweller – believe they have your best interests at heart and that they will work with you to design a piece to which you have a strong emotional connection.

Finally, you should know your budget before you start. A small budget doesn't mean you have to accept a poor quality product. All jewellers should be able to work within your budget and still be able to present you with a beautiful piece of jewellery. If money is no object then you need to make sure you are getting an exquisite piece that will hold its value for a lifetime.