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The purchase of your wedding jewelry should be an exciting part of your engagement. Unfortunately, in todayís marketplace jewelry shopping can oftentimes be a confusing experience. Since there is so much competition in the field, you can expect to receive conflicting information, most of it intended to sell you rather than assist you. Here are some basic tips that can help you cut through the technical jargon and sales tactics..

WHERE TO SHOP: Your first stop should be a locally owned jewelry store which has established a good reputation over a number of years. Itís also a good idea to look for a store with an in-house jeweler so any sizing or custom work can be performed on the premises. A jeweler thatís rooted in the community has a vested interest in making you a satisfied customer because they typically advertise by "word of mouth."

DIAMONDS: Most consumers have difficulty choosing a wedding ring because of the many variables involved in diamond quality and value. Diamond grading is broken down into ďFour CísĒ carat, clarity, color and cut. All of these add up to a "Fifth C," cost. Ask how the "Four Cís" apply to the ring or rings that you are considering.

AFTER THE DECISION: Before reaching a final decision on your rings, there are several other consideration that you should take into account. How long will it take to have the ring sized? If the ring is being ordered from an outside jeweler or manufacturer, how much time will be required for delivery and size adjustments, if necessary? Allowance of sufficient time in advance of your wedding date is essential.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Ask questions? Good salespeople like to share their knowledge and experience. Visit a number of jewelry outlets. Take good notes and compare them as you shop. Donít make snap decisions. Think about it overnight. Are the financing terms competitive? Trust yourself and your own eye. If something doesnít look right it probably isnít. Make the choice that is right for you, not what someone else wants to sell you. Donít rush. Enjoy this special occasion.

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