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"Jewellery Haggling" Discussion

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Shop but don't drop
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MSE_JennyMSE_Jenny MSE Staff
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Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
MSE Staff
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Shop but don't drop
What’s this about?

You can save £100s haggling in high street stores or for broadband contracts, insurance and more. The first point of call is read the full Haggling guide. Then, this discussion is specifically to talk about haggling tips for
Jewellery

If you want to discuss airport parking in general please go to the Haggling guide Discussion.

If you’ve got a suggestion/tip

Simply click reply and add your suggestion, though its worth scanning down first to check it's not been duplicated.

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  • I wanted to buy my husband an Omega seamaster watch for our anniversary (expensive I know but well deserved after 10 years married to me!) and tried the high street jewellers for discounts.

    We were about to visit New York so I emailed Mappin & Webb at Heathrow and they quoted me a duty free price of RRP less 17.5% (I didn't really want to buy it in the States in case of any warranty claims). I then explained my situatation to the various jewellers in Watford and nicely said that I was happy to buy it there and then if they could match it. Without too much effort, Goldsmiths & Ernest Jones both offered 10% and Beaverbrooks agreed to match it (and got the sale). My husband also had a go in the similar jewellers around Oxford Street and got no joy at all. Also, a couple of the sales assistants did try the old Omega won't let us discount line which was a bit tenuous as several of their websites had offers on other Omega models.

    I have to say that I was very surprised at so many of the retailers being ready to offer discounts and this was back in May when there wasn't so much doom and gloom.
  • I suffered the shame of having to witness my OH haggle over my engagement ring. Not terribly romantic but he did save £450 using his negotiation skills.
    And what did he spend the £450 on? Himself of course!!! LOL
  • Edinburghlass_2Edinburghlass_2 Forumite
    32.7K posts
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    Henderson's the Jewellers in Scotland offer a Diamond Card which gives you 10% off every £20 spend, this is also applicable during sale time.

    http://www.mmhenderson.co.uk/diamond.html

    You could use this as a haggling tool in neighbouring jewellers.
  • ShipShip Forumite
    15 posts
    JMG4321 wrote: »
    I wanted to buy my husband an Omega seamaster watch for our anniversary (expensive I know but well deserved after 10 years married to me!) and tried the high street jewellers for discounts.

    We were about to visit New York so I emailed Mappin & Webb at Heathrow and they quoted me a duty free price of RRP less 17.5% (I didn't really want to buy it in the States in case of any warranty claims). I then explained my situatation to the various jewellers in Watford and nicely said that I was happy to buy it there and then if they could match it. Without too much effort, Goldsmiths & Ernest Jones both offered 10% and Beaverbrooks agreed to match it (and got the sale). My husband also had a go in the similar jewellers around Oxford Street and got no joy at all. Also, a couple of the sales assistants did try the old Omega won't let us discount line which was a bit tenuous as several of their websites had offers on other Omega models.

    I have to say that I was very surprised at so many of the retailers being ready to offer discounts and this was back in May when there wasn't so much doom and gloom.

    I had a similar situation, buying an Omega planet Ocean chrono, rrp £3125 I got a £600 discount at a local shop. Initially he said no chance but after I convinced him I was serious and wanted to buy right now he rang the store owner who gave the nod. V happy :D
  • Probably the best place to haggle over jewellery prices, or at least get the very best standard price is the jewellery quarter in Birmingham, or anywhere which manufactures jewellery. To begin with, i've found the prices are much lower than the high street, on some pieces as much as a 100% price increase between the manufacturer and the retailer. Secondly, using the same tactics as you would on the high street, you can often still talk them down a bit too.

    The beauty is that there are so many jewellers so close to each other, and it is such a competitive market that they will often cut their margins even further, especially on something like an engagement ring, to make the sale, and assume you will be back to them for your wedding band and future anniversary gifts. Most of the jewellers are small, independent businesses, who supply an complete service, allowing you to select the diamond and setting individually, manufacturing it to order, and providing all the after care in the one building, a hagglers paradise.

    I know it is somewhat untraditional, but especially with an engagement ring, if you possibly can take your future fianc!e with you, do. It frees her to use lines like "i really do like it, but i kind of had my heart set on the one next door" or "I really love it, but i'm not sure i love it £100 more than the one down the street... i think that was a bigger diamond too". Make sure you walk away, and go and get coffee, and leave still slightly unconvinced by the price. Suggest that "she needs to see the cheaper one down the street once more" or "I think i'll be back, but we need to crunch some numbers first". Be sure to ask the jeweller to keep one or two of the diamonds you like to one side, to show him you're serious about the sale. Return no more than an hour later, and the jeweller will normally greet you with better deal if you go for it today. Normally this will be a few hundred lower than your initial starting price. If this price still isn't okay, don't be afraid to suggest your own counter offer, and even if the price is right, there is no harm in asking if it is the very lowest he will go. You will normally have a very good price by this point. Make sure it is definitely the right ring before signing anything. Unlike the high street, you will have a much harder time returning a custom creation if it isn't correct. Make sure the jeweller will resize at least once for free before signing any paperwork, and if you have travelled a long way to get to the jewellery quarter (The savings will often outweigh the fuel costs, so don't let geography stop you) ensure that you arrange for him to send your ring to you free of charge too. Remember, this is a big purchase, make sure the jeweller knows just how big it is, and does everything he can to win your custom.

    Another little money saver is, if at all possible, take cash with you, or at least attempt to knock some off the price for paying by debit card, not credit card. Although the processing fees aren't a lot of difference, if you're about to spend nearly a thousand pounds on a half carat platinum ring, then that 2.5 percent difference in processing fees will make a pretty big difference to the owner, and he may be willing to pass some of that on to you. Something that works particularly well is, once you have agreed a price, to ask if they take Amex (a lot do, and they are the most expensive to process) and once he says yes, then say, something like "Actually, would i have some cash with me, would i save anything if i paid my deposit in cash. I can pay the whole thing in cash too if you like". Essentially what you are saying to him is "if you can't offer me any extra discount, i'll put it on my amex and, it'll cost you quite a bit to process this one". He may not offer you anything extra, in which case, put it on your amex and get the points/air-miles/whatever, but chances are, he'll knock a bit off just to have the cash in his till there and then.

    Another option, one you just won't get in a high street jeweller, though not technically haggling is to ask about a slightly "lower quality" diamond of the same size and cut. Most of these sorts of jewellers will offer only "certified diamonds" which are a rarity on the high street. They will have some letters and numbers written after the size and cut of the diamond, for example "0.5 carat Princess cut diamond F VS1" This diamond would be very expensive, as it has been graded as colour F (2 down from the whitest possible diamond) and VS1 (only very small "inclusions" or internal flaws, very difficult to locate under a jewellers loupe). However, if you asked to see a "0.5 Carat Princess cut diamond H SI2" you would probably save yourself several hundred pounds, still have a "white" diamond and still not see any "Flaws" with the naked eye. In fact, side by side, you would have a very hard job telling one diamond from the other, and some times the "cheaper" diamond would look better because of the cut and shape/size etc.

    When i purchased my fiancee's engagement ring, we chose a less expensive diamond than the one we were originally shown because it looked better. It was the same size (Actually very slightly larger in look, due to the cut), the difference in colour and flaws was negligible, because they both looked the same until you put them under the loupe, and because it was a square, princess cut diamond, where proportions really matter, we brought the cheaper one because the proportions were much better. It probably makes sense to do some research, but ultimately, look at the diamonds you like, ask to see the certification report. It will say, in words, how good the cut, dimensions, etc are for a given diamond, and buy the best one you can afford. Often a "more flawed" or "less white" diamond will have more perfect proportions than a "less flawed" one because flawless white diamonds are more rare, so you are "stuck" with what you get, whereas there are more options with "cheaper" diamonds.

    Ultimately, the right ring is the right ring, whatever the price, and if they don't come down on the price at all, buying from the manufacturer will still save you money compared to the high street. If you see a "perfect" ring on the high street, try to find it in the jewellery quarter. If you can't describe it to them, or show them a picture, and see if they can recreate it for you. Get a price for it, and hopefully it'll be much less than the high street price, and you have the peace of mind knowing that you have a certified diamond, you shook the man who will make it by the hand yourself, and picked your own perfect diamond... and you have something made especially for you, or her.
  • SkyhighSkyhigh Forumite
    332 posts
    Jewellery is a slight mine-field.

    You need to go independent, there are no two-ways about this.
    The "big boys" (Ratners/H.Samuel/Ernest Jones/etc) - are all complete rip offs at the end of the day.

    In fact some of them agree - cheers Gerald!
    People say, "How can you sell this for such a low price?" I say, because it's total crap
    He compounded this by going on to remark that some of the earrings were "cheaper than an M&S prawn sandwich but probably wouldn't last as long." [Gerald Ratner]

    [A mens titanium bracelet HSamuel sell for £130, we sell for £40, yes its the exact same bracelet - no difference at all]

    Many independent shops have full access to the majority of the suppliers that the chains use, plus with quite a few suppliers they can do next-day-delivery, so you don't have to wait weeks.

    There's much much much more flexibility when you go independent - the sale means so much more to the retailer. It's not just a figure on sales charts - it's food on the table.

    Examples:
    £1300 ring for £800
    £1150 two-ring set for £900
    £500 ring for £300

    Complete flexibility means that the price can move as far down as the retailer wants.

    It's also especially true that if you're a regular customer - which are so very rarely seen anymore - you can get even more of a discount.

    You need to make sure that the jewellery you're about to go haggling on is actually the same quality as another piece you've seen.

    i.e. Argos stocks a specific piece identical to ours, but it weighs 1/3rd (yes, A THIRD) of the weight and is of much lower quality - so it tends to break easily.

    So ours is seemingly more expensive - yet for the quality and price per gram, it's about 30% cheaper.


    You'll also find that many independent retailers will provide full cash refunds, not credit or vouchers.
  • SkyhighSkyhigh Forumite
    332 posts
    Additional moneysaving tip and since I'm in the trade I shouldn't be saying this (talk about shooting yourself in the foot..):

    Haggle with yourself, do you really need to pay out an extra £600-£3,000 just so your watch can say "Omega" or "Armani" one it somewhere - when you can usually get a far better watch for much much much less?

    Highly expensive 'brand' watches that cost over £500 are a complete phallacy.*
    [Armani / Omega / Boss / 'Fossil' / Police / etc]

    Although I'm sure you're all aware of this: you are purely paying for the name/brand.

    There is nothing special about a £1,000 'Armani' watch. It's a watch made from stainless steel or titanium, possibly with a chronograph - which can be matched and usually bettered by a watch in a £200-£500 range (e.g. Citizen, etc).

    * This does not entirely apply to watches that are made from, or include large amount of precious metals such gold (we're not talking plated either) or precious stones or other materials.
  • skyhigh- as someone who's 'in the trade' you soon know that the ratners name went off the high street over 15 years ago??? also 'Armani' don't make watches that retail over £500.00 let alone £1,000.00 & that there is a massive difference between an Omega watch & a much cheaper branch -ie: the movement, the grade of steel used, the crystal- if you are in the trade you are completely misinforming people-!!!
  • nikflonikflo Forumite
    504 posts
    Have to disagree slightly with whats been said as companies like The Swatch Group (who make watches for Omega, Longines and Rado as well as other brands) Their watches are better in quality compared to say a fashion brand ie Armani, Fossil and DKNY.
    Back to the original question and i used to work in a large Store selling wtaches and in my opinion it doesn't hurt to ask for a discount, but the larger stores will have higher over heads so in some cases the smaller shops might offer a bigger discount.
  • Had a very positive experience with Ernest Jones (not him in person!). I've been after a Omega Seamaster for a while and had the opportunity to enter into an employee voucher scheme. Was able to get a Ernest Jones gift card that offered a 20% off deal. Armed with the card loaded with funds for the full RRP, went into high street shop and quoted the lowest Internet price that I could find, explained that I didn't want them to necessarily match it but get as close as they could. Stating that if the price was right I would purchase there and then. Ended getting an additional £160 off in store on top of the 20% discount on the card. Told them that it was likely that I would use the remaining balance on the Gift Card on another watch from them at some point in the next 6 months. I suspect that I'll get a similar deal the next time. Ended up saving £444:j. Result...
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