If you're not used to shopping in an actual jewelry store, it's definitely different from buying something from an online sales site. Jewelry stores are more than just retail centers, and knowing what to expect when you start your search for a piece of fine jewelry will also help you locate a store that will fit your needs.
Most Stores Do More Than Sell
The sight you're greeted with when you enter a jewelry store is one of displays and jewelry for sale, but the jewelers on staff may also do repairs, resize rings, and design custom pieces. There may be an appraiser on staff as well. When you buy jewelry from the store, double-check what services they offer, such as the aforementioned repairs along with jewelry cleaning.
Return Policies May Not Be What You Expect
Return policies for jewelry are sometimes a cause of confusion. This stems from the jewelry having value that's based on it being new and unworn. Used jewelry, even if very elegant and fine, tends to have a lower value compared to its new counterpart. Jewelry stores can choose to take this into account when crafting their return policies. You may find stores that offer conventional policies, such as a full refund if you return the jewelry in excellent condition before a certain number of days have passed. You may also find stores that refund only a percentage of the purchase price to compensate for the fact that the jewelry is now technically used. Others may refuse refunds on various items like engagement or wedding rings. You'll want to call stores first so you know what each store's return policy is.
Stores May Specialize in Certain Stones or Styles
Jewelry stores can have a general selection of different gems, metals, and types of jewelry, but they can also specialize. One store might sell diamonds only while another focuses on diamonds and their simulants (stones that look like diamonds but that are made of totally different material, such as cubic zirconia). Others may specialize in yellow, rose, or white gold jewelry (with any stone) and others may have a focus on silver. Your typical mall-style jewelry store will likely have a general selection that allows you to choose between several options for gems.
Finding the right jewelry store for your needs isn't difficult but can take time. Start looking at catalogs and displays and ask questions about care, along with what services the store offers once a sale is complete. As you get a better idea of what you want to buy, you'll be able to narrow your options and find a jewelry store that has what you want.