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Thursday, February 2, 2017

My Experience Shopping for Jewellery

I spent days searching for a wedding anniversary gift for me that was worthy of our many years of marriage. This year is a special year.

Not knowing the prices, I told The Husband that it has always been my dream to own a set from an internationally renowned jeweller. Let us call it Ahem International Jewellery. Also not knowing the prices, The Husband said "Ok! Anything you want! You pick! I buy!"

Sooooooooo sweet hor...

We later found out that the whole set that I wanted was priced at $27,000. At that price, my calculator went into overdrive. I decided to estimate the number of grams of gold and estimate the price of the diamonds. I counted left and I counted right. I couldn't help but decide that the Ahem International Jewellery's mark up was emmmm... indecently large. I felt a bit idiotic to hanker after an Ahem International Jewellery piece.

What was I thinking?

I compared with the pieces I found at the local jewellery stores. Firstly, the ones in the local stores were 24K gold or 22K gold. The Ahem International Jewellery's piece was only 18K gold. Yet, the pieces with more gold (and more substantial pieces too) were only a FRACTION of the Ahem International Jewellery pieces. So, what am I paying for? The material used was less pure and the prices were higher. Did not make sense to me.

How do these businesses survive? Who in their right minds would buy from them? You pay a lot for a whole lotta fluff that advertisements brainwash into you and get a little bit of real gold or gems. Fluff value, a lot. Real value, a little.

Ok... perhaps one is paying for true artistic design but if I really wanted to spend that kind of money ($27,000) I would get my own design custom made for me. Bespoke design. You cannot get more chi-chi than that. $27,000 for a mass produced design sold all over the world. No way! Paying for the design still made no sense to me. Again, how do these businesses survive? Who would buy from them?

Ok... my dream to own a set of jewellery from Ahem International Jewellery shrivelled up, crumbled into dust, filled my lungs and made me gag. Even if I could afford it, I would never buy it because I would then have to look into my mirror every day and see an idiot.

I already don't look pretty (therefore requiring jewellery to improve my looks), so why make it worse by looking stupid too?

Then, I had the next bright idea!! I would buy something with precious stones. So I started reading up about diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds. I first found out that diamonds are not that rare a stone. People think they are rare only because the supply is controlled by the diamond companies. Any piece of diamond jewellery depreciates by 50% the moment you pay up. Wah! Like so, I might as well burn money in honour of my wedding anniversary. Ok... so diamonds are out!

I went down to 2 jewellery stores specialising in gemstones. One sales lady kept talking about investment grade gems. I stupidly explained to my husband via messaging that good quality sapphires would appreciate in value and had resale value.

The Husband responded thus, "You take the fun out of me buying you a wedding anniversary gift when you obsess about investment. Can't you separate gift and investment? I set aside the money to buy you something you like. It is expenditure, not investment. You are not supposed to sell it."

Aiyoooooooooo... so sweet hor... sayaaaaaang my hub to bits!

I later found out that there is no such thing as investment grade when you buy gemstones retail. If one wishes to invest in gemstones, one must buy from wholesalers or miners. The best is to buy uncut stones. This means that I must know my gems and I don't know the last thing about gemstones. How to invest? The sapphire sales lady showed me a ring with a HUMONGOUS sapphire in it that cost $28,000.

I took a picture for The Husband, who promptly got upset... "It looks like costume jewellery and you don't even wear jewellery normally. So, if you wear one so big, no one will believe it is real... you with tatty shorts, t-shirts and $10 shoes. If I give you a piece of plastic and a piece of sapphire, you know how to tell them apart?"

The most intelligent thing I could think of was, "I think the plastic makes a kok kok sound and the sapphire makes a ting ting sound?" Of course, I did not tell him that. My EQ is low but not that low. He was already angry enough to note that his wife was looking at a stone which was way above his budget.

A stone.

Today, I found out that people can make synthetic rubies and sapphires that cannot be differentiated from the real thing. Wow! That really makes me afraid to do any buying of any gemstone at all.

So, no gemstones for me either. Who would have thought that shopping for jewellery would be so hard? I think I will just ask for stocks and shares but I think The Husband will get upset again.


Karmeleon said...

I only wear my solitaire as pendant - anything else is wasted on me - tatty shorts AND tatty tees.

Wang said...

I would suggest you follow your thoughts and purchase bespoke jewelry.
Make a jewelry set eg 2 rings (gemstone of your liking and color ) 1 for hubby and 1 for wife, whilst wife gets additional pendant and/or earrings.
If you do not like bling, use white gold or platinum mainly with yellow for contrast (if required).

Recommendations can be made even for local in Singapore but would suggest you to search online and thru friends.

Best Wishes to you and your family this Lunar New Year 2017 and your impending special occasion with your loved ones

A silent reader

Petunia Lee said...

Karmeleon... heehee birds of a feather, we 2.

Petunia Lee said...

Wang... thanks for your suggestion!!

i-run said...

Hi Petunia - you don't have to publish this comment. But if you really want to make bespoke jewelry, I would like to recommend Yuen Tung Jewellery at Lower Delta Road.

It is an old discreet store with their own craftsman. The 2nd generation is now involved in the operations now, but still retained their old charms.

My grandmother made all her jewellery there and various family members, including myself, continue to patron them after decades.

They don't have glitzy showrooms (in fact, it's in an old industrial estate), no glitzy salesman, no hard selling. They can custom any design and to your budget. Workmanship is excellent. Pricing - it's subjective. I do not think they are the cheapest out there, but it is not inflated like the international names.

Petunia Lee said...

i-Run... I did not publish your comment as requested. I am so going there!

Coco said...

I love your down to earth nature... asking for stocks n shares, I smiled bcos I had asked for cash for our 20th anniversary bcos I could not let it go without something to remember by, perhaps I will use the cash when it come by something worthy much later!