With so many feelings involved, shopping for jewellery can become an arduous process. Whether you’re looking for the perfect finally-got-that-promotion-nailed reward for yourself, or finding the exactly-right piece that will outshine all other gifts, the entire selection process can sometimes turn into a complex affair.
Fear not! We’ve got you covered. Here is your ultimate jewellery buying guide: the 5 things you should always consider when buying jewellery online or in store:
The single most important factor when shopping for jewellery is the style of the piece. Are you looking for a piece that is classic, and will make an elegant statement to any outfit for the next 5, 10 or 20 years? A piece that can be used to mark to an important life milestone, and kept and cherished for a lifetime? You might want to look at fine jewellery pieces, in classic shapes and proven materials, such as solid gold, diamonds or pearls.
Or are you looking for a stylish piece which is sure to make any fashion girl’s heart pound, and still make a desirable gift? Go for demi-fine from designer jewellery brands, which marries precious materials and on-trend styles. If on the other hand you’re looking for a fun statement piece and instant trend-upgrade, go for cool fashion jewellery, where non-precious materials can be mixed and matched with more classic pieces for a fashion-forward look.
If you’re buying for someone else, a good tip is to look into the style of the designer behind a piece of jewellery, and ask yourself if it matches with the style of the person you’re shopping for.
One of the most over-looked but all-important factors when shopping for gold jewellery in particular is the longevity of the piece in question. Not all gold jewellery pieces are born equal. And where a solid gold piece will last you a life-time and won’t tarnish, the gold-plating of plated pieces will last anywhere from a few months to a few years. The two determining factors for durability that you should look out for here is the thickness of the plating, measured by the number of microns of gold-plating, and the nature of the base metal (which metal the gold has been plated onto, usually silver or brass).
So, how do you figure out how long a piece of jewellery will stay fresh ?
Let’s start with the thickness of the gold-plating: As a rule of thumb, gold-plated jewellery plated with a layer of 1 micron’s worth of gold will keep its original gold colour anywhere from a few months to a year, depending on the wear and tear it gets. A gold-plated ring with a 1-micron plating which is taken on and off every day and worn in the shower will lose its shine in a matter of a few months, for instance, whereas a pair of earrings may keep their original colour for a couple of years. Pieces that are plated with 2 or even 3 microns worth of gold will last longer, up to several years.
Second, the base metal used for the piece comes into play. Silver is a precious metal, and gold likes silver, so gold-plated sterling silver pieces will last longer than pieces made out of brass.
But don’t panic! All gold plated pieces can be re-plated by a goldsmith, so this does not mean that the life of the piece ends after the original plating has worn off.
Ever heard the expression “it’s the thought that counts”? We thought so. Well – we happen to like that expression! Most designer jewellery is born through an intense creative process, and is heavily shaped by the inspiration and personal style of the designer behind it – if you’re looking for a gift that is both thoughtful and personal, look into the designer behind the piece, her story and what she stands for. That way you’re sure to find a piece connects with yourself or the lucky recipient, and which tells a story beyond the value of the piece itself.
A gift with a story is proven to provide more pleasure to the receiver, and women in particular “tend to be more concerned about giving and receiving gifts with emotional significance”. Don’t believe us? Check out the research here.
Beyond the obvious concerns of what a piece of jewellery is made of (is that a diamond, dear?), you might want to look into how the piece came into this world. Check out the site of production – was this a piece lovingly crafted from the hands of the designer that dreamt it, in her local studio? Did years of training go into the hands that crafted this piece in particular, making sure the finishings are as imperceptible as can be, and the settings as sturdy as possible?
In general, independent designers are involved in all steps of the production process, whether they craft the pieces themselves or oversee the process, and you can trust that the level of craftsmanship is high. For larger, more commercial brands, look into the country of production and studio practices – has the jewellery been produced in a mindful and responsible manner? These are all factors worth considering to know that the piece you’re buying has a positive history.
Of course, no matter what rocks your boat, or how noble your intentions, budget will always a factor. If you can afford to splurge, fine jewellery is a worthwhile investment that will last a lifetime. The price of the precious materials alone justify the price for a piece that will keep its value for the next 100 years. Demi-fine provides a high-quality alternative at a more affordable price-point, with pieces starting around the 100€ mark. And if you’re looking to pile on your jewellery, fashion jewellery may just be the answer, at price points starting as low as 40€.
So when you ask yourself how to buy jewellery, keep these 5 factors in mind! Still unsure how to find the perfect piece? Send us a DM on Instagram or write to us on Facebook and we will help you with any queries.