To judge the quality of a jewelry setting, you need to pay close attention to details. Is the metal holding the stone even and smoothly finished so it won’t catch on clothing? Is the stone held firmly and square in the setting? Is the metal well polished with no little burrs or pockmarks?
Inexpensive jewelry is usually very lightweight to give you a bigger look for the money. If a piece is lightweight, pay special attention to the prongs that are holding the stone: are they sturdy? Do they grip the stone tightly? You won’t be happy about the money you saved if you lose your stone!
If the piece is gold, does it have a karat mark? Is the company trademark stamp next to it? If it is, the company is standing behind that mark and assuring you that the karat is exactly as stated.
When buying a necklace, make sure it lays well around the neck. Try it on or ask a sales associate to model it so you can check how it fits against the skin. For earrings, check to make sure that they hang well from the ear and don’t tip forward. Designs that are asymmetrical should have a left and right which mirror each other.
Here is one final hint from real jewelry buying pros: if a piece of jewelry is really well made, the back will be well finished also.
If you are buying a gift and you are not sure about the style of the piece of jewelry, why not give the perfect gemstone in a black velvet pouch and let the lucky recipient design her own perfect setting: many jewelers offer custom design services. Gems can speak louder than words. You can choose a gemstone that symbolizes what you want to say with your gift.