The Smart Shopper Diamond & Jewelry Buying Guide

Give a gift that dazzles

Hazel M. 01/19/21 (PDT)

Jewelry dazzles. It’s the reason it has become the most popular gift during Valentine’s day (that and decades of massive marketing budgets by jewelry companies).

While the engagement rings tend to take the spotlight most years, there’s plenty of other jewelry gifts that are certain to amaze.

This guide is all about helping you pick the perfect gift while saving some money in the process.

Smart Ways to Save on Jewelry Gifts

No matter your style or the occasion, you can always find a good deal on jewelry. Follow our tips, and you’ll be sure to never overpay again.

Take Advantage of Cash Back Rewards

While earning cash back is beneficial no matter what you purchase, pricey items like diamonds and jewelry payout the most.

Earning 5% back on a typical $20 purchase will earn you just $1 back. But spending $6,000 on an engagement ring will earn you a cool $300.

Be smart and make sure you’re getting rewarded with any jewelry purchase you make. If join RebatesMe for free today, you can also get a $5 sign up bonus too.

Store Cash Back
Blue Nile 5%
Diamonds USA 6%
Jared Coupons Only
Kay Jewelers Coupons Only
Madewell 1.5%
Ross Simons 4%
Swarovski 8%
Zales 4%

Buy at the Right Time

While jewelry has little in common with avocados or cherry’s, the one commonality is seasonality. If you buy during its off-season, you’ll set yourself up to grab the best deal and save the most money. This is based on simple supply and demand.

Most people buy jewelry in the fall and winter months – when engagements are popular and holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s day are major motivators. Jewelers therefore can charge more since they know that demand is up.

Therefore the best time to buy jewelry is in the summer months. June, July, and August are slow for jewelers since unlike the winter and fall months, there’s not a lot of holidays or special events to fuel demand.

The one major exception is Black Friday. Typically, you can find some amazing deals on bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and more during this major event. Once December comes around, however, be prepared to fork over a bit more.

Learn the 4 C’s

If you’re buying anything with diamonds, you need to know the 4 C’s. Diamonds have 4 basic characteristics known as the 4 C’s which are:

1. Cut

2. Clarity

3. Color

4. Carat

Each one of these 4 attributes is graded. The higher the grade, the more expensive the diamond will be. You can therefore tweak the price by choosing a diamond with high grades for the attributes you want the most, and then cutting back a bit for the features you don’t really care about.

Note that not all of the 4’C’s are weighed the same. Cut is generally thought of as the most important feature, while clarity is seen as a diamond’s least.

Learning exactly how these 4 attributes impact a diamond's price is how you can get the best deal possible. To do so, we recommend checking out Blue Nile’s extensive 4-C’s Diamond Buying Guide. It’ll walk you through everything you need to know.

Shop Overstock, Wholesalers, & Discount Stores

There are a few online stores out there, like JomaShop, that sell unsold and overstocked jewelry for discounted prices – sometimes saving you thousands of dollars! The trade off is simple, you have to make do with the selection they have on hand.

That means that you won’t be able to customize your jewelry and you won’t have access to the same level of customer service other jewelers provide (things like re-sizing rings, free cleanings, etc.).

Still, if you’re looking for a great deal, you should check out their selection first.

These stores listed below also have cash back opportunities for you to grab.



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Jewelry Affairs

Jewelry Gift Breakdown

With millions of styles and designs out there, hunting for that perfect jewelry gift can be a real headache. So we’ve worked to make it easy by breaking it down into 3 main categories.

• Bracelets

• Necklaces

• Earrings

For gift-givers, these are the absolute best places to start.

What we didn’t do is talk about engagement rings as all. Engagement rings are incredibly special pieces of jewelry that go above and beyond a typical gift and require their own dedicated engagement ring shopping guide.


Bracelets are probably the most universal jewelry gift. They’re great for all ages, people, occasions, and budgets.

They’re also very forgiving when it comes to sizing as long as you don’t run small.

Because of how many customization options you have with bracelets, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

A good place to begin is the type of bracelet. There are 5 types altogether.

Bangle Bracelet

Bangles are solid circular bracelets that are made out of gold, silver, or any other type of metal. Their simplicity makes them very elegant, but at the same time gives the wearer the flexibility to pair it with just about any look.

While people enjoy wearing one bangle, it’s very fashionable to have several on your wrist at once.


Politicians, movie stars, and dignitaries have been adorning these gorgeous shimmering spheres for decades and are therefore one of the most traditional jewelry styles for women.

There are many other kinds of beaded bracelets ranging from silver to wood, but pearls absolutely take the spotlight.

While beaded bracelets can get rather spendy, you can actually get a nice ring of pearls for less than $100 – making them popular for those who are looking for a gift that won’t break the bank.

Cuff Bracelet

Cuff bracelets are technically a type of bangle, but because they deviate a bit style-wise, they get their own category. Unlike a typical bangle, cuffs are thicker, wider, and are not typically closed all the way around.

Meant to sit loosely on the wrist, cuffs can be a simple solid design, or be fitted with a number of jewels and intricate patterns.

Because of their wide design possibilities, there’s a lot of customization and fine-tuning you can do with a cuff bracelet. If you spend the time getting the right look, then a cuff can be a very personal gift.

Chain Bracelets

Chain bracelets (also known as links) are, of course, linked together with some kind of chain. This chain can be made of fine metal, wood, plastic, or practically anything.

As far as gifts go, the charm bracelet (which is a type of chain) is by far the most popular bracelet gift out there, but certainly not the go-to for everyone.


Tennis bracelets are the most popular bracelets out there, but some of the most expensive. Tennis bracelets are made up of a link of gems – typically diamonds. They’re very elegant, insanely sparkly, and have an instant “wow” factor.

As forementioned, tennis bracelets tend to be spendy – but at the same time are one of those items that’s sure to stay around for a lifetime.


Necklaces are the favorite gift to give for Christmas and Mother’s Day. With endless styles available, there’s a necklace out there for everyone.

Necklace Sizes

For all necklace types, getting the right look means picking the right size/length. Necklaces are sized in inches and centimeters. While you can get anything between 15”-40”, there are 4 basic length categories that will determine where a necklace hangs and how it’ll look on the wearer’s body.

16”/40cm Choker: Necklaces this length sit tightly around the neck. Shorter necklaces are often accompanied by shorter/more casual clothes and are said to soften the wearer’s face angles.

18”/45cm Princess: Hanging just over the collarbone, this is the most common/universal necklace length out there.

20-24”/50cm-61cm Matinee: These necklaces are intended to sit just below the collarbone and are considered perfect for just about any outfit.

25”/66cm + Opera: Opera necklaces are long. Unlike the other lengths, these are absolutely intended to drape over a dress, blouse, or shirt. Typically, opera length necklaces are statements and are worn to accentuate style or status.


Chain necklaces are a popular style for both men and women. Typically solid gold or silver, these simple necklaces come in just about every size and thickness you can imagine.


Lariats have a long chain or string hanging from the main necklace like a pendent. The lariat portion of the necklace is usually decorated at the point it connects with the necklace, and at the end.

They are usually thin necklaces that hold a certain stylized elegance that’s completely unique.


Choker necklaces fit close or tightly around the neck. While many people think chokers are made primarily out of lace, they can be made from practically any fine metal and therefore can have a wide variety of designs and styles.

Most pearl necklaces in fact are choker necklaces, as are ones with thick mesh chains.


Pendants necklaces are simply any necklace where some sort of adornment is hanging from the chain.

This can be a diamond, pearl, cross, locket, gemstone, or practically anything else.

Pendants come in practically any size and are wildly popular gifts. Many pendants can also be swapped between chains pretty easily, giving the wearier a bit of style flexibility.


Big, bold, and made to wow. Statement necklaces are the types of necklaces usually worn by royalty. They typically have a large gem or pendent as the focus and are usually adorned with jewels throughout.

While any necklace fitted with gems can be expensive, statement necklaces tend to bring it up a notch through their level of detail and glam.


Earrings are a very elegant gift perfect for just about anyone. Plus earrings are some of the most simple jewelry items to understand. There are 3 main categories to consider.


Studs are small earrings that highlight a particular design or gem. They’re great for everyday wear (including exercising) but are also quite nice for more exclusive events.

Because of their size, studs are very easy to lose especially if they aren’t securely fixed to the ear. Therefore, we recommend avoiding studs with push or butterfly backs. Instead, opt-in for a screwback or something of similar quality that won’t easily leave the ear.


Hoops are your typical loop earring that droops from the ear. While large hoops catch the most attention, any earring with a loop is considered a hoop no matter the diameter.

Solid gold or silver are popular styles for hoops, but you can get them adorned with jewels or intricate patterns as well. People typically gravitate either towards large hoops or small ones. If you’re shopping for someone else, be sure to know their preference first.


Drops are simply earrings that hang from the ear. They are deemed a bit “fancier” than other types of earrings because they usually are designed to be bold and complex.

Drops can highlight a single gem or design piece, or combine multiple stones to create a complicated and elegant pattern that dazzles. The latter is typically referred to as “chandeliers” because of their tendency to have a pattern that resembles a crystal chandelier.

Jewelry Stores with Cash Back & Deals

Store Cash Back
Blue Nile 5%
Diamonds USA 6%
Jared Coupons Only
Kay Jewelers Coupons Only
Madewell 1.5%
Ross Simons 4%
Swarovski 8%
Zales 4%

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