Women's Jewellery Buying Guide

Contents[Hide]

Whether you are purchasing it as a gift  for yourself or for someone else, buying jewellery is an in-depth process that takes a lot of thought, patience and a trained eye. Your purchase doesn't have to be perfect, but keep in mind that it should have some type of warranty on it and not be too bulky (although some women like that). Be sure that it matches with your recipient's style, otherwise you may have wasted money on something that won't be worn. Consider some of the points below when shopping for women's jewellery .

The Four Cs

Any gemstone can be judged by cut, colour, clarity and carat.

Cut (and Shape) 

Don't know what shape to get? The same shapes that are used for diamonds  can be found in other gemstones as well. Non-diamond gemstones have another shape available to them: the cabochon . A cabochon is a stone that has been polished but not cut. (That is, it doesn't have facets.) Cabochons are frequently domed stones. They often have flat backs set in rings  or pendants . Although usually used for opaque stones, a few of the translucent stones, especially members of the quartz family and amber, also look good as cabochons. Star sapphires must be polished as cabochons to make the asterism visible, and amber is often polished to show off any interesting inclusions.

Colour

Colour is another value-inducing factor of a gemstone . It is not the colour itself that matters, but the quality of the colour, including hue (colour), tone (lightness or darkness), and saturation (purity).To accurately judge the hue of a gemstone, look at it in bright light against both black and white backgrounds. You want the gemstone to be even in hue without any cloudiness or brown or grey spots. The centre should not look pale or washed out in any way. Ideally, a quality gem will be darker rather than lighter, but it should not be darker than medium dark. Sometimes gemstone manufacturers use heat treatment to intensify or change the colour of a gemstone, but this will decrease its value and cost.

Clarity

As with diamonds, clarity is measured on a scale of VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1, SI2, I1, I2, I3, with VVS1 being flawless and I3 being badly flawed. Spots, cracks, and inclusions (flaws) are all negative factors of clarity. Clarity and transparency is often fixed by oils, resins, and chemicals used by gemstone manufacturers. Some gemstones are more likely to possess and show flaws than others.

Carat

Most gemstone weights are measured in carats. Keep in mind that because of the different densities of different stones, a carat of one might not be the same diameter as the carat of another. When comparing many stones, use the length and width or the diameter (depending on the shape) to figure out the size of the stone.

Wearing It

Pearl Necklaces 

Pearls are the ultimate classy necklace. Less showy and more feminine than diamonds, pearls make any woman more ladylike. Dress them up with a little black dress  a la Breakfast at Tiffany's, or pair them with skinny jeans  and a v-neck shirt  for weekend cool. You have a wide variety of colour choices, although cream or white are the classics. Black pearls  (which can be a variety of shades of grey) are a little more edgy; golden-hued pearls  are glitzier than most; and pink pearls  are the ultimate in feminine luxury.

Solitaire Rings 

The solitaire is another timeless classic. This look works with anything from a v-neck jumper  to your best evening gown . Unless you're Liz Taylor, stay away from the giant stones--you don't want a big boulder to weigh down your style. Consider getting a slightly larger stone than you would for earrings, but anything more than about one carat is probably too much. Either white gold  or yellow gold  will look great, but if you're getting a very good quality diamond, the white gold will highlight its best features.

Bracelets 

Whether it's a thick link bracelet  or a thin, gemstone-studded piece, bracelets are a great jewellery item that can be worn with any women's outfit--from casual to dressy. Wrist size may be difficult to gauge, so consider a style with removable links so that you can have the bracelet adjusted later on for the perfect fit. Also, consider whether the design of the bracelet is practical--will it snag on clothing? Does the clasp come off too easily? After you've thoroughly considered these points, you are ready to buy.

Watches 

A women's watch isn't strictly for function, it can be a great piece of jewellery as well. If you are buying a watch for the professional woman, consider a nice silver  or gold  style that has qualities similar to a bracelet; these can be a great gift for yourself or someone else. Also, consider extra features when purchasing your watch, like a chronograph  style that has the date, time and temperature all included in one little piece.

Post Earrings 

Whether a woman is high maintenance or no-fuss about her jewellery, a nice set of post earrings is great to have on hand. These can be dressed up or down, and come in simple styles such as cubic zirconia  or gold studs . Don't forget about some pretty gemstone stud earrings  in a specific birthstone colour.

Giving It

Buying and giving jewellery as a gift can be a gruelling process. Women have different tastes, and knowing how to recognize quality is also an important skill that many people lack. Here are some tips on how to make the best purchase:

  • Do your research: One of the best ways to make sure you get a gift she'll like is simply by looking at what she is wearing. Through observation, you should be able to tell which stones and gems she likes, if she prefers gold  over silver , and even the style of jewellery she leans towards. These observations can also help you to purchase jewellery that you know she doesn't already have but would make a good addition to her collection. You can take your research to another level by asking around. Friends and family should have a good idea of what kind of jewellery will make her happy.
  • Reflect on her personality: Consider personality when purchasing jewellery as a gift. Jewellery, like clothing, is a representation of her personal style and character; therefore, jewellery tastes are completely different depending on the lifestyle and personality of the individual. For example, a conservative or professional woman would probably appreciate pearls and simple pieces more than big, bohemian themed necklaces.
  • Quality: Be aware that different pieces of jewellery require different levels of maintenance and care. More expensive pieces are usually higher in quality--you can be more confident that clasps won't be breaking and gems won't be falling off. Some even come with warranties! However, there are also cases where more expensive pieces can be more fragile and, thus, require more care. Before purchasing, make sure you consider how long you want the piece of jewellery to last and educate yourself on what kind of maintenance will be required to keep the piece intact.

Keeping It

You might think that a rock is a rock is a rock, and you can basically clean all of your jewellery the same way--but you'd be wrong. Proper care for a given piece depends on the materials and the style of the piece. Use care! Methods that get great results for one kind of gem may be devastating to another. If you are uncertain about how to clean a particular piece of jewellery, ask the jeweller or have it professionally cleaned. Isn't your good jewellery worth it? 

One more tip on general gemstone care: don't be fooled by the statement, "Diamonds are the hardest substance known to man."  The hardness of a mineral refers to its ability to scratch or be scratched by other materials. Diamonds can't be scratched; however, they can be chipped, cracked, or even shattered by a sudden impact. This is true of any hard stone, but diamonds are particularly vulnerable to negligence because they are thought of as indestructible. Use care when handling and cleaning your jewellery and avoid dropping it or banging it on a surface.

Related Guides