Independent Jeweller vs Chain Jewellers – Which is Better?

Should you choose an independent jeweller, or a chain jeweller?

The brief answer is:

  • Chain jewellers charge a premium for their name, but they are consistent wherever you are in the world.
  • Independent jewellers put quality above all else, meaning you’ll get more, pay less.

Before we get into the details, first, what is the difference?


What’s the difference between an independent jeweller and a chain? 


A chain jeweller (such as Tiffany & Co.) will open up stores across the world, either as standalone shops or as a part of a supermarket. You know what you’re getting, as quality remains relatively consistent across the board. 

Some people prefer chain jewellers because it’s easy, even if it’s more expensive. 

An independent jeweller is owned by a local businessperson. All stock is carefully curated, and much of their jewellery may also be created in-house. 

At an independent jeweller, you’re likely to have a more intimate, consultative experience, and your budget will go much further. However, you’re not guaranteed the consistently high quality, so make sure to check out any reviews before you visit an independent jeweller!

Comparing independent jewellers and chain jewellers 


Now we’ve outlined the differences, it’s time to start our comparison! 


Respect your budget at all times 

Shopping for jewellery can be a little intimidating, especially if you’re looking to make an expensive purchase, or it’s your first time. 

That’s why it’s important that you can trust your jeweller to make honest recommendations that fit within your budget. 

Independent jewellers love what they do and are extremely passionate about their skill and their business. At the end of the day, you finding the perfect item of jewellery is far more important than upselling you to something pricier. 

Many chain salespeople are rewarded based on price of sale, so will actively try to drive your budget up. Once you’ve set your budget, don’t be pressured into increasing it.


Brand name doesn’t equal quality 

It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that because you see a jewellery brand everywhere that they must be high quality, right? 

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like this; a premium name doesn’t necessarily mean premium quality. In fact, you’ll often end up paying significantly more for a diamond of the same grading purely because it’s got a chain’s name attached to it. 

This means that, on average, you’ll pay a significantly lower price for diamonds of the same (or superior) quality when you visit an independent jeweller. 


Support the local economy 

Independent jewellers will usually be owned by people in your local community, whereas chain jewellers are often owned by international conglomerates. 

This means that by shopping independent, you’ll leave with a unique, perhaps bespoke, piece of jewellery while keeping money in the local economy – what’s not to love? 


Tailored advice 

At a chain jeweller, you may be viewed as just a commission. 

Our experience of this is that they’ll try to process you as quickly as possible in order to get the next customer behind you in. 

It’s a little different at an independent jeweller. Find the right store, and they’ll want to learn all about you as a person, and they’ll do everything in their power to ensure that you are fully informed, are presented with all possibilities and leave knowing that you’ve made the right choice. 

Finding the perfect jewellery is our #1 priority at Mitchel & Co – talk to our specialists if you’ve got any questions at all. 


Real, genuine expertise 

If you’re after the real experts, then you should look no further than an independent jeweller. 

Independent stores were founded on passion and love for the craft, which means that there’s decades, if not centuries of expertise waiting to be passed on. 

At a big chain, you’ll probably be dealing with a sales associate who only has a rudimentary understanding of jewellery, and who has pressure on them to make sales. This takes the focus away from you, and means that they may not be able to properly answer your questions. 

Essentially, at an independent jeweller, you’ll talk to owners, managers and jewellery/diamond experts. At a chain, you’re very unlikely to talk to these people.

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