Great Jewelry Gift Ideas: Essentials for Women

This is the first in a series of jewelry gift guides. Here are some ideas for giving jewelry essentials–items that are classic and could be part of any woman’s jewelry wardrobe. I have tried to select items that represent the best details within that style genre, the best value, or both. They are ideal for someone who is still collecting basic pieces.

Personalized Charm Necklaces

Personalized charm jewelry is a fantastic gift idea for a couple of reasons. It’s very thoughtful and obviously customized for the recipient, and depending on what you choose, it can be very affordable fine jewelry as well. For a detailed rundown on a range of personalized jewelry, see my previous post here. Here are a couple of my favorite options:

Jeneri Double Sided Silver Pendant and Chain, Etsy.com, $64 retail

Etsy Artist Jeneri Double Sided Silver Pendant and Chain, Etsy.com, $64 retail

Heather Moore is the designer who really put this category on the map. Beautifully done, and uses recycled precious metals:

Heather Moore Oval Charm Necklace, $1485 Retail as shown

Heather Moore Oval Charm Necklace, $1485 Retail as shown

You can also check out Lisa Leonard, and Helen Ficalora, or more artisans on Etsy.com.

Silver Jewelry

Silver is very versatile, wearable, and affordable. There are some timeless pieces in silver that would make great gifts.

You cannot go wrong with the Blue Box from Tiffany and Co.:

Elsa Peretti Band Ring in Silver with Diamond from Tiffany and Co., $275 Retail

Elsa Peretti Band Ring in Silver with Diamond from Tiffany and Co., $275 Retail

Classic silver charm bracelet with engravable heart charm from Blue Nile (the other blue box):

Blue Nile Sterling Silver Heart Tag Bracelet, $90 Retail

Blue Nile Sterling Silver Heart Tag Bracelet, $90 Retail

Pearl Jewelry

Pearls are a classic jewelry gift. I did an article devoted just to beautiful, affordable freshwater pearls here.

I love this necklace from American Pearl, it’s perfect with everything and is timeless without being stuffy (other sizes, qualities and gold contents available):

Akoya Pearl Station Necklace in 14k Gold from American Pearl, $275 Retail

Akoya Pearl Station Necklace in 14k Gold from American Pearl, $275 Retail

If you think a simple pendant is more her style, here is a Tahitian pendant from Pearl Paradise that is very pretty and also a good value:

Tahitian 8-9mm Pearl and Diamond Pendant from Pearl Paradise, $260 Retail

Tahitian 8-9mm Pearl and Diamond Pendant from Pearl Paradise, $260 Retail

Diamond Jewelry

When in doubt, go diamonds. Trust me on this. You’re welcome.

Diamond solitaire earrings are the second-most coveted jewelry item for most women, after an engagement ring. It’s important to buy the right quality. I recommend G-H-I color, SI1 or SI2 clarity (no eye-visible inclusions), with the best cut you can afford (for a rundown of the diamond 4C’s, click here). For size, that could be determined by budget or the style of the recipient. If she prefers tailored, subtle style in clothing and jewelry, go with 1/2 carat total weight (each diamond weighs 1/4 carat) to 1 carat total weight. If she’s not shy about her style and you can afford it, go with minimum 1 carat total weight up to 3 carats total weight. A fellow jewelry insider did a review of diamond stud earrings from 4 major retailers, click here for his Consumer Reports-style evaluation. This is an item that is well-suited to shopping locally, as a great jeweler can explain differences in quality and cut.

1 Ct TW H-I Color, SI Clarity Diamond Earrings from James Allen, $1940 Retail

1 Ct TW H-I Color, SI Clarity Diamond Earrings from James Allen, $1940 Retail

Diamond hoops are a great idea; very versatile and fashionable at the same time. I’m particular about hoops. The mountings can’t be too heavy on the metal (prongs, etc), and I don’t like hinges visible–if the weight of the earring pulls them down the hinge will really show and sometimes droops in the front. I also generally prefer smaller stones, with a medium to large diameter, and diamonds set on the outside of the front and the inside of the back so you see a lot of sparkle.

These hoops made by Roberto Coin (sold at Nordstrom and independent jewelers) fit the bill perfectly and provide nice sparkle for the money. Also available in smaller and larger diameters:

Roberto Coin Diamond Hoop .80 Ct. TW., Nordstrom, $1740 Retail

Roberto Coin Diamond Hoop .80 Ct. TW., Nordstrom, $1740 Retail

If you would like to give a diamond necklace, this necklace is a nice variation on Tiffany and Co. classic Diamonds By The Yard. Wearable, and more interesting than a single diamond dangling from a chain:

Blue Nile 1/2 Ct. Diamond 3-Stone Necklace, $1370 Retail

Blue Nile 1/2 Ct. Diamond 3-Stone Necklace, $1370 Retail

If you’re a perpetual romantic, you can visit my rundown of heart pendants here.

Gold Jewelry

Even with white metals like Sterling Silver and Platinum vying for attention, gold jewelry is always in style. Here are a few items worth collecting.

No jewelry wardrobe is complete without gold hoops. These Roberto Coin earrings have a beautiful texture:

Roberto Coin Woven Silk Yellow Gold Hoops, from Windsor Fine Jewelers, $400 Retail

Roberto Coin Woven Silk Yellow Gold Hoops, from Windsor Fine Jewelers, $400 Retail

Lockets can often be engraved, plus they hold photos, making them romantic and sentimental. This one is from Tiffany, but many jewelers will have a version of an oval or heart-shape locket:

18K Heart Locket from Tiffany and Co., Locket $400 Retail, Locket with Gold Necklace, $2700 Retail

18K Heart Locket from Tiffany and Co., Locket $400 Retail, Locket with Gold Necklace, $2700 Retail

Need Help Finding a Gift?

The best place to buy a lot of these items is from a reputable jeweler in your area. If you need help finding someone, click here and send me a note with your location. I’ll do my best to recommend an excellent jeweler close to you.

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