Jewelry is more than just embellishment — it holds meaning. A necklace reminds you of a loved one. A ring is a powerful symbol. Often, you don’t feel quite like yourself if you forget to put on a signature piece.
When shopping for jewelry as a gift, however, it’s easy to feel lost amidst the sparkle and shine of gemstones and gold. How do you choose the piece that’s not only beautiful, but also meaningful?
With wisdom gleaned from abc’s Senior Jewelry Buyer Sue Ann Koe, we hope this guide helps you find the perfect piece to convey your love, whether it be for a partner, a family member, a friend, or even yourself!
Choose jewelry made by hand.
Jewelry handcrafted with thought and care holds a subtle warmth that mass-produced pieces simply lack. Detailed handiwork via time-tested techniques yields pieces of such exquisite beauty, they become distinct works of wearable art.
Even the simplest of designs by Tokyo-based Nam possess a rich, nuanced texture thanks to designer Nami Maeda’s use of the traditional Japanese hand tool “Tagane.”
The “cast-not-set” creations of Polly Wales stand out for their lush, organic forms, created with the ancient technique of lost wax casting in which gemstones are placed directly into molten gold.
2. Find a piece that tells your story.
As Sue Ann explains, “Each time I buy jewelry as a gift, I look for something that will feel meaningful for the recipient. You want to find something that will be really special to them.”
Meaning can take on different forms – do you want the piece to evoke a cherished memory? Would you like it to hold an inspirational message? Look for pieces that carry symbols and imagery, or pieces that connect to the designer’s relatable personal story.
For instance, each pendant necklace by Robin Haley features a replica of an ancient artifact rich in symbolism, conveying a range of powerful messages, from honoring womanhood to celebrating an astrological sign.
Sister-brother duo Ila and Vikas Sodhani create pieces imbued with the mythology of India, drawing inspiration from the stories of the land and the architecture of the breathtaking cities.
3. Consider energetic properties + the symbolic nature of gemstones.
Crystals and gemstones are known not only for their traditional meanings, but also their metaphysical and healing energies. Diamond represents clarity and eternity, amethyst is said to protect its wearer, and rose quartz is known to promote love and tenderness. These are a mere few of the myriad healing properties that crystals and gemstones are said to hold. Think about the spiritual aspect of the piece you’d like to give, and how it might bring the recipient helpful energy to navigate life’s challenges.
If you’re looking for jewelry that brings the healing power of crystals to the forefront, pieces by Januka make wonderful gifts. This collection of simple pendant necklaces is designed without bezels or settings so that the crystal or gemstone touches the skin, sending its vibrational energy directly to the wearer.
The striking, elemental pieces by Variance Objects showcase precious gems and crystals that have been cut to preserve and amplify their inherent textures, colors, and qualities of light. Each piece features a vibrant stone with a distinct and undiluted energetic property.
4. Choose ethically-sourced gemstones.
“Conflict-free” stones are diamonds and precious gems that are mined and sold with no connection to terror or opposition groups. It’s so important to buy jewelry with ethically sourced gemstones from mines with humane practices and high environmental standards. This way, so that you are not unwittingly passing on a violent legacy or supporting harmful activity elsewhere in the world. With rising awareness on this front, there are so many talented jewelry designers who exclusively use ethically-sourced stones.
WWAKE is celebrated for their simple contours and modern arrangements, and craft jewelry with conflict-free diamonds.
Known for their stunningly intricate handwoven creations inspired by traditional textiles, Amali creates pieces with responsibly-sourced precious stones.