When buying fine jewelry online, you should know what to look for and where to shop before getting started. There are so many jewelry stores online today that you can easily be swayed to buy jewelry of low quality, even if the price seems a bit high. This often happens because you're not able to see the actual jewelry before buying. You'll only have a photo of the jewelry to go on, and a photo doesn't tell much. Here are some tips to find fine jewelry from reputable companies. Gold Fine Jewelry Knowing the terminology about gold jewelry will help you to shop smarter. Gold comes in karats such as 14k, 18k, and 24k. It also comes in several colors - white gold, yellow gold, two-tone, and tri-color. If you need authentic gold jewelry, avoid descriptions that mention gold filled or gold plated. These are not completely gold, and therefore do not qualify as authentic even though they might be made with a small portion of gold. Knowing if the gold is genuine through and through will also tell a little about the included stones. Many fake stones will not be set on real solid gold, only on gold plated or gold-filled jewelry. Diamond Fine Jewelry Before shopping for diamonds, make sure you understand the difference between karats and carats. A karat measures the purity of gold, and 24k is the purest gold. A carat measures fine gemstones and the weight of diamonds. Larger diamonds, such as those on diamond engagement rings, will usually carry a greater weight in carats than smaller stones, such as those found in diamond tennis bracelets. Look for diamond fine jewelry in which the diamond itself has a carat weight. Make sure the diamond is not cubic zirconium. Cubic zirconium looks like a real diamond, but is not. When buying a solitaire or cluster diamond ring, consider the cut of the diamond. Look for a diamond that's not cut too shallow or too deep. Hold it to the light to see how it reflects the light. A fine diamond with the proper cut will reflect all the light magnificently. When buying fine jewelry with diamonds online, ask questions about the cut of the diamond and its reflection of light if this information is not available on the website. Study the variety of diamond shapes online to see which one you like most. Diamonds may be round brilliant, oval, tiffany, marquise, pear-shaped, heart-shaped, emerald cut, princess cut, trilliant, radiant, or cushion cut. Each has its own unique brilliance. Buying Pearls Online Pearls come in a variety of colors such as white, gray, black, or yellow. The shapes of pearls can be round, baroque, symmetrical, or irregular. The most exquisite (and expensive) pearls are the sphere-like round pearls. Necklaces with pearls can have single or double strands. The single strands usually have larger, more expensive pearls than the double strands. A high quality pearl will have a lustrous, shiny surface, strong reflections, and a good contrast between its light and dark areas. Pearls that appear completely flawless are usually fakes, but still your pearls should have minimal blemishes on the surface such as pits, cracks, or discoloration. Authentic pearl earrings should match in size and their look and feel. Buy Online Safely Buying fine jewelry online takes a little responsibility on your part. Don't jump on the first deal you see. Think of buying fine jewelry as a long-term investment. Check out the company to be sure it is legitimate. Read all the jewelry descriptions carefully. Be sure the company is in good standing in the Web community. Better Business Bureau Online is a great place to start. Read all policies on returns, shipping, insurance, and authenticity. Many fine jewelry products come with a Certificate of Authenticity.