"Most people don't realize they can bargain for jewelry, but they really should," Gault says. The same is true of clothing and accessories. This is because, after taking into account the base price of diamonds or materials, much of an item's price is due to the idea of what's in style at the moment. So basically, the asking price of jewelry is largely an opinion.
In a jewelry store, Gault suggests finding two items you like. Start by haggling on one item until reaching a final price. "Then make the salesperson think you're switching to the other one," she says. Once you've negotiated two independent, rock-bottom prices, ask the salesperson for an additional discount if you buy both.
In a department store, ask about discount cards. "I went to Nordstrom's to buy my wife a Valentine's Day gift, and I picked up a store credit card worth 15 percent off my first purchase," says Herb Cohen, author of the book "You Can Negotiate Anything." He also recommends offering to pay in cash instead of using a credit card, for which merchants have to cover a transaction fee. On a $1,000 tab of clothing and jewelry, these percentages add up.