Pieces of jewelry can range from small earrings and decorative rings found for less than $50 to luxury pieces worth thousands of dollars (or more). The desire to look good or show off is offset by the fear of spending too much money, and the conflict causes many to buy the wrong item. Here are four mistakes people make when they buy jewelry and what to do instead.

Mistaking Price as a Proxy for Quality

Too many people have bought a cheap silver-looking ring only to have an allergic reaction to the nickel or other metals used. Over-emphasizing price versus value results in someone having an off-color diamond because it has a certain number of carats or unusual type of gold because it is cheaper than the 14K and 18K gold that retain its value for generations. Balance the cost of the jewelry against its long term value. Cheap jewelry that you throw away, repair or despair to own two years later isn’t worth the relatively low cost you paid for it. Only buy jewelry that will last a lifetime if the owner chooses to wear it that long.

Assuming Size Doesn’t Matter

When you’re buying a bracelet or necklace, there is some wiggle room, but it is still better to know what size the person wears before you buy jewelry. If the bracelet is half an inch too wide, it is a little loose. If the bracelet is too small, you may be able to add a link or expand it. A necklace a little longer than you anticipated usually still looks lovely, unless you’re trying to have it land at a specific location, at which point you can add or remove links to make it work. You don’t have this option with rings unless paying a jeweler to adjust the piece of jewelry.

Another variation of this is not considering the size of the stones in the jewelry. You pay more for jewelry that hits the 1 carat or 2 carat mark. This means that a 1.9 carat diamond costs significantly less than a 2 carat diamond while being indistinguishable to the casual observer.

Assuming You Have to Buy It in Person

A common misconception is that you have to buy jewelry in person in order to get a good price or the level of quality you’re paying for. The mistake is not considering online options. Yet buying pieces online like Intaglios by Eredi Jovon in Venice allows you to find upscale items that won’t be in most local jewelers, and avoid paying the markup jewelry stores will charge.

Following Trends versus Your Tastes

If you want to reflect the latest trends, do so with a new $200 dress or $500 purse, not a $500 to $5,000 piece of jewelry. You’ll have a much harder time trying to sell it on consignment than the clothing. Choose jewelry that you like, because it is independent of the current trends. Or select jewelry that has a classic style. For example, plain gold rings remain common at weddings while other trends come and go, while diamond stud earrings are still a popular accent to one’s fancy hairstyle. Also, don’t buy bright, colorful pieces because they are popular when you prefer simple and elegant. If a salesperson is pressuring you to buy what is in style, find a different sales person or go to another store.

Keep these tips in mind and you should avoid the main jewelry buying mistakes.

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