A Beautiful Wedding Present

Cheap (Legal) Ways To Get Your Hands On Not-So-Cheap Jewelry

Living like a king or queen usually requires the equivalent of a royal treasury -- but those "crown jewels" might come cheaper than you ever dared to imagine. If you've always wanted to give or receive beautiful jewelry without paying ugly retail prices (or robbing a jewelry store), here are some imaginative ways to go about it.

Renting or Borrowing from a Jeweler

This approach works brilliantly if you just need to look like a movie star for a one-time occasion, annual event or handful of public outings throughout the year.

Many online jewelry services offer subscriptions that allow members to rent a wide range of jewelry for as little as $15 to $35 per month. In some cases the rental company may even include insurance on the jewelry while it's in transit or in your possession. But read the fine print ahead of time, because some jewelry services only cover certain issues such as damage, leaving you or your own liability insurance on the hook for theft or loss.

Purchasing from a Pawn Shop

Jewelry pieces are like cars or homes in one important sense: the used ones can be just as nice as the new ones. When you have a gorgeous diamond in a flawless setting, does it really matter whether that stunning item belonged to a previous owner? If not, then you can enjoy substantial savings on gorgeous jewelry by checking out your friendly neighborhood pawn shop, a place like Desert Jewelry Mart & Coins. Pawn shops generally boast a wide range of items for sale, including rare, antique and valuable objects that had to be sacrificed by financially distressed owners. This means you have a golden opportunity to buy jewelry for much less than you'd pay at a chain jeweler, as long as you're careful about it. 

Buying jewelry (or anything else) from a pawn shop calls for a certain amount of due diligence. Narrow the field to pawn shops that have specialized experience and knowledge in the field, particularly those with gemologists who belong to professional associations such as the Gemological Institute of America, to make sure you're getting a fair price based on the legitimate value of that coveted item.

Investigating Auctions

Auctions can be an excellent avenue for obtaining fine jewelry at affordable prices, but only if you do your pricing research in advance and keep a cool head during the auction itself. Always investigate the recent sales listed on the auction company's website to see how much similar items recently went for. This will give you a realistic idea of what you can expect to pay for that "incredible bargain price" presented as the opening bid. Set a firm budget limit for yourself and stick to it. Whatever you do, don't get involved in a bidding war against someone who very likely has money to burn and simply enjoys the "sport" of outbidding others. 

Online auction sites can also provide you with opportunities to buy quality jewelry for affordable prices, but similar common-sense rules apply. Scan the site for similar purchases to know what you ought to be paying. Bear in mind that the price may seem unnaturally low until the last minute, when online bids suddenly pile on thick and fast. Whether you bid online or in person, remember to factor any commissions or fees charged by the auction house into your total budget limit.

Snagging Your Stone from a Wholesaler

Diamonds are forever, they say -- but that doesn't mean you want to spend half your life saving up to buy one. Wouldn't it be great if you cut out the middleman and just pay what the jewelry makers pay for those precious stones? Well, if you're anywhere near (or can arrange to be near) the diamond district of a major U.S city, you can actually purchase jaw-dropping diamonds at wholesale price. That's because the diamond wholesalers don't care whether you're a major corporate chain or an individual willing to pay in cash. Incidentally, you almost certainly will need to pay the wholesaler in cash, so be ready to make that bank withdrawal after you've obtained a firm price on the gem you want.

Whether you're content to rent or you want to own a lifetime keepsake, beautifying your world with fine jewelry is more attainable than many people think. Look into your local and online options -- you may be delighted by what you find!