It was my husband’s birthday this past week, and I needed gift ideas. For men, there just aren’t a lot of options for jewelry gifts. I just did a blog on Women’s Jewelry Essentials, but Men’s Essentials make a much shorter list: Wedding Band, Watch, Cuff links, maybe a nice Pen.
Where to begin…
Luckily, he maintains an Amazon.com wish list, so I had both an idea of what he liked, and a starting place for where to buy. Perfect! Even better, since this was a little last minute, I found a pair of cuff links that is part of their Amazon.com Collection. Since I am an Amazon.com insider (see about me), I know that this is the collection that the Amazon.com retail team personally selects and then ships from an Amazon fulfillment center. We are Amazon Prime members, so we get anything labeled prime (most of Amazon.com Collection is Prime) 2nd Day for free, or a flat $3.99 overnight shipping charge.
Relatively easy to search/browse and check out for this item:
He has some cufflinks already, so I was looking for something a little different but not too crazy. After reviewing the considerable choices, I selected this pair of sterling silver cuff links set with .25 ct tw of black diamonds. They are simple squares with a matte/brushed finish (not too shiny), with 9 tiny black diamonds pave-set into a grid pattern in the center of the squares. I reviewed the technical info (under “Product Specifications” just below the basic top-of-page information), clicked on the Zoom image to see the finish, then added them to my cart. I went through the usual purchase process, selecting overnight shipping. They do not offer gift-wrapping for this item, which is kind of a bummer if I were shipping as a gift to someone. The purchase process was very painless, which is the usual for me for Amazon purchases.
The package arrived exactly on time, and Amazon.com is good at communicating, confirming the order and when/how they shipped it. It arrived in a regular Amazon.com box, which is a good thing, both for preserving the surprise (could just be a book or CD inside), and also for security if this were a valuable package (did you know that Amazon.com also sells loose diamonds and pre-set engagement rings?). Inside the cardboard box was a square, blue presentation box, with a dark blue fabric drawstring pouch with divider. Overall the packaging was good for a $75 purchase. There was however, a lovely “made in China” sticker on the outside of the pouch (this applies to the pouch, not necessarily the jewelry item inside), and their own inventory tag/barcode on the bottom of the box. If I were shipping a gift, I think that the packaging is a triple-con: no gift wrapping (only a gift message on the packing slip), not branded (granted, this is not Tiffany, but it’s still jewelry), and stickers not taken off. If this were from even a modest physical jeweler, I would think that the sales associate would have taken care to remove any stickers and make sure the presentation was perfect.
And the final product:
The cuff links themselves were quite nice, with a couple of caveats. The design is great–simple, but with a little edge to it, perfect for a guy that has a definite style but is not too flashy. The black diamonds have a subtle sparkle that plays off the matte-finish of the silver really well. The diamonds are set evenly in straight rows with the metal beads of the prongs holding them in place securely. The cuff links are, however, smaller overall than I envisioned. This is one of the biggest problems with jewelry (and other products) on the Internet–SCALE. To be fair, Amazon lists the dimensions under the product specs (11.5mm square), but I did not double check this on a ruler or something to visualize. Wouldn’t it be great if Amazon and Blue Nile had a relative size widget on their detail page images for nearly every item that showed you size relative to an ear, hand, cuff, etc? Turns out he thinks they are an OK size, but it’s borderline. The other issue I had was with the finish. In the photo, it’s pretty uniform, but in person, the brushing of the silver is a little random and wavy. Granted, I am a finish freak. This is my business, and as a jewelry buyer for retail stores, I have sent back a lot of items to the manufacturer that were not perfect. My husband thought it was ok, and to most people I think it would be acceptable. But I like for things to be above expectations, I love to be delighted. Overall, these are handsome and a good value for $75. Personally, I would have spent more for slightly larger, heavier, and better finishing.
Bottom line: Amazon.com has a great selection and they make it so easy to order and get it fast, that these made the perfect choice for this occasion. The cufflinks are nice, but a little on the small side for my expectations.