Really, jewelry is the best gift. If you give someone jewelry, you’ve already won. But it can be stressful, right? Here are some tips from someone who’s been in the retail jewelry business for a while, as well as on both sides of jewelry gift-giving. Whether you’re some dude who doesn’t know a lot about jewelry, or an experienced shopper, hopefully there’s some new information here for you.
First of all, think of what you want to spend. No point in looking at The Hope Diamond if your budget is $75. Let’s say, for example, you want to spend $5,000. You can walk into (or type in the web address for) a designer store (Cartier, Roberto Coin, Tiffany) and they have the prices right there next to each item. Easy.
Not so fast. The retail price you’ll pay at a designer store is going to be much higher than if you shop just about anywhere else. It could be twice as high as buying the same brand-new item from a re-seller. (Of course, make sure it’s a reputable reseller, and not some guy in a trench coat on the subway).
So your $5000 is already buying you twice as much as when we started!
The next thing to consider is whether it has to be brand new. Jewelry isn’t salmon. A five year old Cartier Love Bracelet in excellent condition isn’t going to spoil, or stop being shiny or sexy. But that’s a personal choice you have to make. If you’re on eBay or a similar site, make sure the seller has good feedback and seems trustworthy. But giving a gift of jewelry that isn’t brand new is perfectly acceptable. Diamonds are a million years old either way, right?
Okay, so that’s the money part of my advice. Now let’s move on to the fun part. What sort of thing are you going to give?
The first step is to listen and look. If your wife said that she would love a pair of diamond stud earrings, then you probably should consider that. Another tip is to do a little recon. Take a look at her jewelry collection. You want to assess both what she has a lot of, and what she’s missing.
Say she has a ton of tiny earrings, that probably means that she likes tiny earrings. So getting her big hoops would be risky. If she has a lot of chunky bracelets, then she likes those. But now take a look at what she’s missing. Maybe she has a lot of rings, but very few earrings. Does she wear those few earrings all the time? Getting her another pair of earrings might be a great idea.
Does she have a lot of a certain kind of animal? Panthers, birds, ladybugs? If she has more than one of any of these, I promise you, she wants more.
Let’s now take a look at the pros and cons of different types of jewelry.
Rings. Pro: She has ten fingers (probably), so there’s always room for more rings. Rings are by far the most popular type of jewelry. Rings are usually easy to re-size. Con: You have to sort of know her size. You can take another ring of hers to a jeweler and find out what size it is. Or ask a friend, or just guess (size 6 is average). Different fingers are different sizes, so it probably will fit somewhere until you get it re-sized. Another con is if she’s expecting… a certain kind of ring followed by a certain question, and you give her any other kind of ring, this may not go over so well.
Bracelets: Pro: Most women don’t have as many nice bracelets as they’d like. Bracelets can be a little more forgiving size-wise, and are easier to measure, since she only has one wrist size (as opposed to different ring sizes). Bracelets are personal, without being too intimate (necklaces and bust-lines, rings and engagements). Cons: They can be expensive, since they’re bigger than rings or earrings, so that’s more gold or whatever.
Earrings: Pro: A hole is a hole is a hole, so any post earrings will probably fit. And any clip will also fit. Though take a look at her other earrings to see if she has a preference. Also, you get to see them every time you look at her. Awww. She can never have too many earrings. Also, she’ll get lots of compliments since people feel more comfortable remarking on earrings, since they’re already looking at her face (as opposed to a long pendant necklace, which can be an awkward thing to look at). Cons: Not many cons here. She may already have a lot of earrings. If she doesn’t like them, she has to stick something on her face that everyone can see just to be polite. But that seems unlikely.
Necklaces: Pro: There’s a big margin of error in necklace sizes. The same woman will wear a 14 inch necklace and a three foot necklace. It’s almost definitely going to fit. A necklace is the most intimate piece of jewelry, and it’s what frames her face and is usually the star of the show, jewelry-wise. This is what makes her feel most special and loved (if that’s what you’re going for). There is a huge variety of options for necklaces, so they’re fun to shop for and receive as a gift. Women love getting necklaces as gifts. Cons: They can be expensive, since there’s more room for expensive materials (diamonds, gold). And necklaces can be too intimate, since they’re worn near the bosom area. If you’ve been dating for a month and you give a modest woman a long necklace, it could get a little weird, I guess.
Brooches: Probably not for the novice jewelry-giver. Some women love them, some do not. I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you really know her taste, or can enlist a friend of hers.
So I think that about covers it. Women (and some men) love getting jewelry as a gift. You can’t go wrong with a designer name, like Chopard or Cartier. Just picture her wearing it. Is she smiling? Then you’re probably good. And jewelry can almost always be altered or returned, so it’s okay to take a chance. And try to have fun shopping. It’s all about making her feel special and happy.