6 Tips for Buying Jewelry & Be a Gift-Giving Pro

Updated May 11, 2021
Woman trying earrings

Jewelry can make a very special gift, but it's not always easy to know how to shop for someone else. Fortunately, if you keep a few real-world tips for buying jewelry in mind as you shop, you'll end up with the perfect present for someone special.

1. Think About Who Will Wear It

Jewelry is most meaningful as a gift when you really think about the person who will wear it. When it comes to the recipient of your gift, there are some things to know before buying jewelry:

  • Personal style - Does this person have a distinctive style? You'll want to choose jewelry that matches their preferences.
  • Lifestyle - Does this person work with their hands? If so, you may want to avoid delicate jewelry or rings.
  • Birthstone - What is the recipient's birthstone? You can look up their birth month on a birthstone chart to find out.
  • Sizing - If you're buying a ring, you'll need to know the person's ring size. There are also different sizes of necklaces that work well for different body types.

2. Consider What You Want to Say

Jewelry makes a style statement, but it also makes a statement as a gift. If you're in a romantic relationship with someone, your jewelry choice can indicate your level of seriousness. If you're not in a romantic relationship, the type of jewelry you give can also send a message. Keep the following in mind:

  • Expensive jewelry shows seriousness. If you're not in a serious relationship, consider choosing less expensive pieces as gifts.
  • Rings have extra meaning in romantic relationships. In addition to engagement rings, other rings can send a message. The meaning depends on the finger where you wear a ring, but you should think about this when choosing.
  • The right jewelry can show a friend you care. If you want to express the importance of your friendship, consider matching jewelry or a piece that shows you know your friend especially well. A charm bracelet with the person's hobbies can be a wonderful choice.
  • Jewelry can show family connections. Choose a mother's necklace or ring with family birthstones or a special engraved design to convey how important family is to you.
  • Jewelry isn't always the right gift. There are situations when you may not want to give jewelry, such as when the person receiving the gift may misinterpret the jewelry as a signal you want a romantic relationship. In general, jewelry is not a good choice for gifts to co-workers.
women buying jewerly

3. Understand the Materials

When you choose jewelry, it's important to understand the materials used in the piece. Precious metals and gems come in different grades and at different price points, and they are some of the features that matter when buying jewelry. Learn what you can about the materials used in any piece you're considering:

  • Precious metals - Jewelry often features gold, silver, platinum, and other metals. Gold karats describe how much pure gold is in a piece of jewelry, and there are requirements for how much pure silver needs to be in sterling silver pieces.
  • Diamonds - Diamonds have a grading system to tell how valuable they are. If you're buying diamond jewelry, you should educate yourself about how they are graded and priced.
  • Gems - Other gems having grading systems too, although these vary depending on the specific stone. Take some time to learn about the specific gem you're purchasing.

4. Know Which Options Are Foolproof

Certain jewelry choices are always going to be a hit, so you can't go wrong with foolproof classics. These pieces almost always make a great gift:

  • Lockets - Lockets are meaningful, and they come in a variety of price points. You can include a photo to make the gift even more special.
  • Pearls - In addition to being the birthstone of June, pearls never go out of style. A strand of pearls or a pair of pearl earrings are always a beautiful choice.
  • Sterling silver - From classic sterling silver chains to pendants and bracelets, silver jewelry is almost always a great option.
  • Watches - A watch can make a great gift, especially if you choose a watch that's right for the recipient.
  • Birthstones - Birthstone jewelry is always great as a birthday gift or other special occasion.

5. Make Sure You're Getting What You Pay For

Whether you're buying jewelry online or in a store, you should always check to make sure you're getting what you pay for. There are several quality indicators you should look for when buying jewelry:

  • Stamps and markings - Most jewelry has markings that indicate the metal content and sometimes the manufacturer. Check to make sure the markings match up to what you're hoping to buy.
  • Lab reports - Many gems come with lab reports that tell the size, qualities, and sometimes the value of the stone. These can help prove that you have an authentic gem that is worth what the retailer says.
  • Appraisals - If the gift you're buying is particularly valuable, consider getting an appraisal. This can be useful for insurance purposes too.

6. Think About Returns

Even if you put a lot of thought into choosing jewelry for someone, there's always the chance the person may need a different size or a different piece. Take a few minutes to confirm the store's return policy before you decide on a gift. You may never need to use it, but it will give you peace of mind.

Get Inspired Before You Shop

Before you start shopping for jewelry to give someone special, get inspired with some great jewelry gift ideas. Sometimes, a little inspiration is all it takes to give the most meaningful gift ever.

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6 Tips for Buying Jewelry & Be a Gift-Giving Pro