You’ve seen it in many movies: a person wishes to buy the one they love the perfect gift, but they’re not quite sure which one to get them. They go through a limbo of bad choices: an ill-fitting shirt, a commonplace mug, and possibly even a stuffed toy. Then the light bulb moment happens, and they decide to buy their beloved some jewelry. Fast forward to later in the film, and they’re getting married, all because the main character decided to let a beautiful gift do the talking. Sounds easy, right?
But in real life, choosing and buying jewelry isn’t as easy. With so many luxury brands offering a dizzying amount of baubles, it’s easy to get distracted and end up spending way too much money on something that might not appeal to the person you’re gifting them to. If you think choosing wedding gowns is difficult, wait until you have to pick out a ring. Jewelry, from cuff links to engagement rings, can help say the right thing to make any event extra-special.
Here’s a list of things to remember to help you formulate that sentence carefully before cashing out.
1. Big brands are not always your best bet
Luxury brands in the business of jewelry may seem like the safest option when it comes to buying a set, but is it really worth spending a crazy amount of money for, let’s say, a simple gold bracelet or tiny silver earrings? Not really.
Prestige brands employ talented jewelers and artisans, but half of what keeps them household names is just expensive marketing. When you buy from them, you aren’t only buying jewelry– you’re also buying a brand, a status symbol.
If you want to get something simple, checking your local jewelers can save you so much while still getting good quality. Smaller brands and the local community aren’t as well-known, but talking to the right people and asking about where to find them can get you great jewelry at a fraction of the price of luxury sets. And another plus? A smaller community means they most probably know everyone, so going to one local jeweler can lead you to many more.
2. You’re still a winner with silver
Silver has a chic, timeless quality that gold sometimes lacks. Using silver in jewelry has become more popular through the years, so if you’re planning on getting your hands on them, you might want to look a little more carefully.
Pieces branded sterling silver is made of 92.5 percent silver, giving it more lasting power and higher quality. Pieces branded as German silver, or new silver, aren’t even silver at all– these types of sets are actually just copper alloy mixed with nickel or zinc.
But if you’re really set on getting something gold, get to know how the karat system works. The lower down the system you go, the lower the gold percentage in the piece gets. Pieces marked with 24k means it contains a gold percentage of 99.9, while 18k and 14k weigh in at 75% and 58%, respectively. For the perfect balance between cost and quality, go for 18k gold. There are different hues that gold can come in, as well, so keep that in mind.
3. Ask an independent jeweler for assistance
Going to a shop alone and armed only with internet knowledge will end up with you getting pressured into buying a piece of jewelry you aren’t fully into. Getting help from an independent jeweler will give you a more honest appraisal of a piece since in-house jewelers tend to be biased and might gloss over some details to make a sale.
Or you could also bring a friend with you! Get some opinions on a design or piece that you might like but aren’t completely sold on. Hearing things from a different perspective can keep you from making costly choices, which in this case might be dropping a hefty amount on a piece of jewelry that sounds better than it actually is. Fresh eyes are best when it comes to looking at tasteful designs.
A final word
Giving beautiful jewelry to a special person makes a big statement, and it literally pays to make the right choices before and while you’re getting them. Whatever you buy should come with a certificate and a detailed document about the piece’s description. Have an independent jeweler go over this document, and if there are some details about the piece that doesn’t match what’s written, take it back to the shop immediately.