When you walk into a shop in New York’s diamond district, you will very likely be confronted by a wall of merchants each looking to show you their inventory. “Are you looking for an engagement ring today?” “We’ve got great Russian diamonds, come take a look.” “We have just the thing for your lady,” on and on it goes until you spot what you’re looking for. Then you stop. It’s impossible to know the good from the bad in a random fly by such as this, so there are five clues that will help you sort it out.
Ask the New York Jeweler how long they’ve been in the diamond business in New York. For many, the business is generational, for a few they are just getting into the game. Stay away from the newbies, they may be good but then again you may be part of their training program.
If the Jeweler has degrees, certifications or other special training, they will probably have their diploma framed and mounted at their stand (hey, in a room full of 50 other jewelers, you need every advantage you can get!). Ask about it, they will probably be happy to tell you all about their education.
What does your New York Jeweler specialize in? Watches? Engagement rings? Bracelets? It will be pretty obvious once you walk up to their corner of the room, simply by what’s on display.
Similar to “experience” above, if your jeweler has been in the business for generations, “Smith and Sons” for example, they will have the connections in the community to get you the best product. Ask about the history of their company.
If you were referred to the jeweler, this is a strong indication that they are reputable, fair and know what they are doing. Most of the time, however, you will need to go in cold. After you know what you’re doing (visit online diamond seller James Allen for a price comparison), ask the jeweler for references, then actually call them (most don’t). If he refuses to give you a reference then consider walking away.
Finally, Trust Your Gut
In the words of OJ Simpson’s defense lawyer Jonnie Cochran, “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” In this case, if it doesn’t feel right: you feel under too much pressure, you don’t fully understand what you’re buying, not sure if you’re getting the best price etc. simply say “thank you, I’ll need to do a little more research, may I have your card” and walk away. There are millions of jewels that flow in and out of New York every year, take your time and do it right.