The holidays are here and that means you're probably gearing up for gift giving. When looking for a meaningful gift for a loved one, fine jewelry is tried and true.
But jewelry can also be complicated and the options can be overwhelming, especially if you don't wear jewelry yourself. So we've put together a quick guide for picking out that perfect gift for your special someone.
There are four jewelry types to consider, and knowing what type of piece you want to give this person is the first aspect to decide.
Earrings are great because they don't have to fit. There are style considerations (which we'll talk about later in the article), but as long as your gift recipient has pierced ears you don't have much to worry about.
Many people love necklaces, but they do require a bit more consideration. While a pendant can fit on any chain, you do have to ensure the chain you choose will properly fit the individual. This varies depending on a person's stature and fitness level, but also depends upon their personal preferences and style.
While not as widely thought of, bracelets can make a wonderful gift. For starters, there are a lot of options for bracelet types, from bangles to cuffs to clasped bracelets. These can be a great accessory for anyone, but there are considerations based on occupation, ability limitations, size, and style.
Rings require the most information prior to purchase. First you must know the wearer's ring size, which actually varies depending on which finger they will wear this ring on. Second, you need to consider the person's occupation and unique daily tasks that would be impacted by the ring. Lastly, if you're in a romantic relationship but not yet engaged to the gift recipient be aware of ring meaning. Whether they're promise rings or engagement rings, the gift of a ring to a significant other usually means something big in our society.
Next, let's talk functionality.
The gift you purchase needs to work for the wearer's day to day life. It's not just about the piece being pretty, it's about what works for them.
Ask yourself the following questions:
What do they do for a living?
This question is important because if the wearer works at a desk all day, they probably have no limitations when it comes to rings. The same is not true for someone who works in the medical field and needs to put on and take off gloves throughout the day. Working with children can also create limitations, as you don't want any sharp edges on rings, and dangly earrings can be a little bit too enticing to toddlers. What the wearer does will also impact which gemstones are ideal for them. For example, opals are very delicate while sapphires are much more durable. These concerns can also be mitigated if the piece you're gifting is not meant for daily wear.
What is their home life like?
Are there small children at home? If so, the previous comment about sharp edges and alluring things attached to ear lobes also applies. Are they constantly on the go and at risk for banging the piece around? If so, consider gemstones and settings carefully.
Do they have any health concerns?
This is a question people often skip over because they think it doesn't apply to jewelry, but there are some specific medical things to consider. Does the wearer have any manual dexterity issues like arthritis? If so, carefully consider the types of clasps and closures of the pieces you're browsing.
For more information on functionality broken down by jewelry type, please see our recent blog: Designing Jewelry for Beauty & Function.
Last, consider their style.
This is the fun part, because it's all about what your person likes. It's about bringing them joy by giving them something they will love to wear. For this, you need to be observant.
What is their clothing style?
Do they wear colorful clothing, earth tones, or shades of gray? Do they like bold prints or solid colors? Are they a t-shirt and jeans person or a blouse and skirt person? Someone's personal style is usually indicative of who they are and how they are comfortable, which can help you spot a piece of jewelry that fits them. If your person likes to stand out in a crowd with their clothing, perhaps they'd also be interested in bold and colorful jewelry. If your person wears a lot of earth tones, a piece with natural textures would go well with their look and can be enhanced with earth tone gems.
How do they wear their hair?
Is the wearer's hair long or does it fall above their shoulders? Is it curly and at risk of tangling in intricate earrings, or is it straight and easily managed? Will the jewelry you choose stand out or blend in with their hair color? Hair is a big consideration for earrings, but does not have much impact on other types of pieces.
What neckline do they usually wear?
When considering necklaces it's important to think about where the piece will sit. Someone who wears higher necklines will need a longer chain length or pearl strand because it will need to sit over the clothing. You don't want regular movements to cause the necklace to disappear inside their top. This is also something to consider if the wearer usually chooses very deep necklines, because you don't want the piece to fall too far down or be too high. Also it is important to consider the person's neck size, which differs with weight and muscular tone.
What kind of jewelry do they already wear and like?
Do they already have jewelry they like to wear, or are they more minimalist when it comes to jewelry? Do they wear gold or do they wear silver? Do they wear big, bold pieces or small, delicate ones? Do they like artsy, unique items or more simple, trendy looks? Do they wear necklaces, bracelets, earrings, or rings regularly? Do they wear simple post earrings or intricate dangly ones? Try to focus on jewelry that would fit well with the pieces they already love, but notably stands out in its own way.
What is their personality like?
Try to match your gift with the vibes you get from your special someone. Are they quiet and demure? Are they bubbly and outspoken? Are they driven and hardworking? Think about the unique combination of traits that makes them special, and try to match that with their gift.
Even though there are a lot of considerations when it comes to jewelry, giving a gift to someone special is really quite simple. What you give should fit the recipient and be meaningful. It is a representation of how you feel about that person and it is meant to bring them joy long past the occasion.
Think about the aspects of their life that make them who they are, and the reasons they are special to you. If you keep those things in the forefront of your mind during your search, you can't go wrong.
Want to learn more about fine jewelry as a whole? Check out our Understanding Fine Jewelry page!