TBF reader Ronica, was kind enough to send us these tips on finding find jewelry on a budget:

“Just a tip that I learned from my Aunt.  She is also a BF, and rarely shops anywhere but thrift shops, sales, etc. Her latest obsession is gems and jewelry. She spent some time educating herself by checking out books from the library (also a great tip—be well-educated without spending a dime at Barnes and Noble!) and studying jewelry,  gems, etc. She scours local pawn shops for great deals, and has amazing amounts of beautiful jewelry she got for a steal.  She also buys “ugly” pieces she knows are worth $, and takes them to a local jeweler to trade for items she wants. She really knows her stuff.

As proof, anyway, she knew that I can’t wear gold (allergy) and wear platinum or silver instead. She saw a ring, a very nice bridal set, and watched it go down until the pawn shop (Pawn America) was set to clearance it out. price was $219.

I bought the ring, had it appraised, and it turns out that the replacement value for this ring is $2,100.

This ring is absolutely gorgeous, from a good quality jeweler (the band is thick, the platinum is not scooped out behind the diamonds, there are pin holes behind the diamonds in the anniversary band, etc.) and includes over 1/2 carat of diamonds, all set in platinum.

So, I thought this might be a tip to explore on your site. She has found amazing deals just by being educated—things that the store marks really low that are worth a lot (eg: a ruby ring surrounded by diamonds in gold for 20 bucks—probably worth 400), and others that she terms “junk” they mark higher—she is better educated than the store is on this.”