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shit i bought and liked no. 59: the clueless boyfriend’s guide to buying jewelry
Am I allowed to teach my boyfriend how to buy me jewelry under the guise of sending this newsletter? We’re about to find out! As someone who’s obsessed with jewelry, I figured there was some intel I could share with the clueless partners of the world and/or people who want to add to their own jewelry collections as we approach the Black Friday/holiday gifting season. Feel free to not so subtly forward this along to any relevant parties.
In this newsletter, we’ll cover a few nice pieces and places where you can shop for jewelry. As usual, these are my picks style-wise, so keep that in mind. I generally prefer dainty fine jewelry pieces (meaning real metals and stones) that work for daily wear. There are tons of less expensive materials out there, but I personally would rather have a smaller collection of nicer pieces that will last forever. However, in the interest of not terrifying people with prices, I tried to keep most of these picks in the ballpark of reasonable (though if you’re trying to pull out all the stops, I have plenty more $$$$ picks on my wishlist—just say the word).
Before you get started jewelry shopping for someone, there are a couple of critical things to identify:
What’s their jewelry style? Do they wear bold, chunky pieces? Do they wear the same diamond studs and thin chain everyday? If you’re surprising someone, make sure it’s with something you can see them wearing and liking (you presumably have access to literally all of their friends who would likely be happy to offer feedback). If it’s not a complete surprise, ASK THEM WHAT THEY LIKE, or better yet, go shop with them! Styles, brand names, metals, etc. are all helpful intel to have. And for the love of God, keep a note on your phone when they mention stuff like that. The likelihood of you wasting money on something they hate will drop dramatically, and it will seem very sweet that you remembered.
What metals do they wear? Here we’ll mostly be dealing with your standard 14K yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold (18K is shinier and more expensive, gold-plated is less expensive but less durable). I personally wear a mix of rose and yellow gold pieces, but yellow is generally the most popular. If you’re buying for someone who’s always wearing silver-looking jewelry, you’re probably going for white gold. Looking at the jewelry someone already wears everyday is the best way to figure this out without straight up asking their preference (which is definitely allowed).
Once you have that out of the way, we can get to the FUN PART—deciding what kind of pieces to get. I’ve broken this guide into CATEGORIES with a few picks/considerations for each. All of these brands are great, so definitely peruse the other things they have to offer too.
Bracelets: A bracelet is a GREAT place to start in terms of gifting. They start at a better price point than necklaces, sizing (for the most part) isn’t tricky like it can be with rings, and you don’t need piercings to wear them.
Let’s start with something super simple/relatively inexpensive: Catbird’s Sweet Nothing Bracelet ($98). This is a delicate, shimmery chain that works great on its own for pretty much anyone—mom, sister, friend, s/o. If you want more sparkle, Mejuri has a bezel set diamond on a dainty chain ($225) that’s perfect for everyday wear, and for a step up, Catbird makes a floating diamond version that’s an easy crowd pleaser ($335). Catbird’s 1976 bracelet is a trendier option that’s still under $150, and if you’re NYC-based, they have locations in Soho and Williamsburg where you can peruse in person. Some other very giftable chain bracelets: Zoe Chicco’s Small Marquise Bracelet ($450), Heart Trio ($495), and the Mama necklace or bracelet for all the cool moms out there ($295-365). If you want something more fun, I’m obsessed with Sydney Evan’s Baby Robot Charm ($280)—I believe they can add it to a bracelet or regular chain if you reach out. Getting pricier, but curb chains are also very cool and classic. These two from Zoe Chicco would look very at home in a bracelet stack ($820-1225).
Rings: I’m a biiiig ring girl, but they’re a little trickier to gift because of the sizing. Most jewelry stores will ring size you for free, so get sized or have your s/o do this and WRITE THEM DOWN—the Notes app isn’t just for public apologies, people! Critical caveat: If they think you’re asking about this because you’re proposing and you have no intention of doing so now and/or ever, ABORT MISSION IMMEDIATELY. Stop scrolling, you tapped out at bracelets, this is NOT for you.
I love so many rings, but I’ll do my best to keep this reasonable. Zoe Chicco makes a few teeny bezel rings that are a great first gift—the black diamond version is perfect for ~cool girls~ ($175-195). The Last Line has a bezel set diamond on a chain ring that’s super delicate and chic ($215), and if you prefer plain gold to diamonds, Fewer Finer has a beautiful Fig Leaf Ring ($485)—s/o to my lovely friend Leslie and her newsletter Morning Person for the rec. Eternity bands are a classic, but these EFC rainbow ones are way more fun ($725). I wear two daily and have gotten compliments for yeeears. I’m also dying over Ring Concierge’s blinged out pinky ring ($428)—it feels like a relatively budget friendly alt for Anita Ko (if you are my boyfriend do not click that link—you will have a heart attack).
If you’re ready to up the ante (but not quite to that level), I adore EF Collection’s Hearts Ring and their Diamond Leaf Ring (both $1250). Heart jewelry can be tricky to get right, but this one is cute without being juvenile.
Earrings: I love earrings, but IMO unless you’re getting a super classic pair of diamond studs or hoops, I feel like they’re better to shop for yourself than to give as a surprise. But that might just be me, so I’m including a few fun options from Cupcakes & Cashmere’s Shop—they’re a go-to of mine for cool, well-priced earrings, especially for second or third piercings. Their Trio Studs are super versatile ($225), as are their Tiburon Diamond Studs ($200). I treated myself to these Diamond Drop Chain Studs last year and wear them alllll the time ($199). If you’re looking for something more classic, Ring Concierge has a great pair of diamond drop huggies for under $250 ($248) and gorgeous graduated diamond hoops that would be great for wedding season ($448).
Necklaces: Honestly all the necklaces I’m eyeing are expensive and this newsletter is getting long, but this Diamond Fizz Necklace from Catbird feels pretty foolproof gift-wise ($398).
Customized Pieces: Customization is a great way to indicate that you didn’t rush ship something random at the last minute AND to give a s/o something that’s more explicitly from you (think your initial, both of your initials, birthstones, an engraving, etc.). BUT you must make sure that they think this is cute and not cringe before making this kind of purchase (for the record, I find it cute).
Most brands offer initial jewelry—Zoe Chicco has tiny initial heart rings and bracelets at good prices ($175-250). ByChari’s classic initial bracelet ($215) adds a diamond into the mix and is a black-owned brand, and Maya Brenner has a popular necklace design once worn by Meghan Markle that you can add one or more initials to ($240). I also love Fewer Finer’s Nameplate Bracelet ($725)—their hand-engraving is incredibly beautiful for a name or date. If engravings and initials are too heavy-handed for you, I love how Maya Brenner’s asymmetrical pieces look when you add birthstones into the mix. That’s another good one for moms! Much like being a Christian, it appears that having a child opens you up to several new jewelry options!
Welded bracelets: I looooove this concept, especially as a present. Places like Catbird and Fewer Finer will fit and weld bracelets onto your wrist, so instead of having a clasp, they will just stay on forever. The concept is really sweet (esp for a s/o, best friend, sister, etc.), and they can always be re-welded if they break. Catbird’s are very dainty and start at $98, while Fewer Finer’s are more expensive (starting at $500), but come in bigger styles. These brands do their welding in NYC, but I’m sure there are others offering similar concepts elsewhere.
I could truly write thousands more words on this topic (and send a full wishlist of all the pieces I’m eyeing personally—just say the word babe!!!), but I feel like this is a good start for gifts most people will like. Some of these pieces will go on sale in the next week, and some will have tighter order deadlines for delivery by Christmas. Just things to keep in mind! Let me know if you’re clamoring for more recs—I promise a gift guide for things that aren’t jewelry is coming soon. And two things to always remember—one: the best gifts aren’t the most expensive ones, so if these price ranges aren’t doable, don’t sweat it. And two: jewelry is a great thing to gift yourself—no partner needed.
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