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The Knack

Buying Jewellery For Your Lady

The stakes are never higher than during the build up to Valentine’s Day. Here are a few pointers...

Valentine’s-face: the phrase coined by men the world over to describe the sour expression and maudlin attitude of females during the moments following the annual gift exchange. It usually signals a general sense of disappointment with their haul and the man that delivered it, a situation that can often be worsened by the fact that they have managed to choose the perfect present in return, after dedicated research and thoughtful preparation. This only further highlights their superior awareness, sensitivity and selflessness and your inability to ever, ever hit the mark. Those keen to avoid such friction should prepare themselves well in advance and follow our Goldilocks guide for buying her a piece that’s just right.

For further gifting inspiration click here.

1. Consider the message

Unless you plan to deliver this gift on bended knee, or you are already married and simply adding a little sparkle to an already encrusted set of digits, rings may not be the safest choice. Not only are they nigh on impossible to get right size-wise, but rings have centuries of romantic symbolism attached to them, which you might not be willing to back up at the moment in your relationship. If this is an early gift in your romance, stick to a bracelet, necklace or pair of earrings. If you are in the market for a dazzler, covertly borrow one of her third finger rings and take it to the jeweller to match the sizing, or ensure the place you are purchasing it from offers easy returns or exchanges. A proposal followed by an awkward finger-licking and cramming scenario can spoil the air of romance somewhat.

2. Go to the correct lengths

When shopping for a necklace, you’ll be greeted with a host of perplexing lengths you’ll have never considered before. “Between 14 and 16 inches is the perfect length,” says Ms Patti Worth, Assistant Buyer for Fine Jewelry at NET-A-PORTER. I ask her to clarify to what she is referring – “Of a necklace! It’s the length that sits right on or just below her collarbone – I don’t know any woman that has an aversion to that length.” When buying online, make sure the length listed is the full chain length and not the length from clasp to pendant. Retailers evilly vary this information just to make things harder for you. Longer necklaces, such as those that sit anywhere between her cleavage or her belly button, should only be opted for if you have seen her wearing a similar length before. Do your homework here. If you want her to wear it, buy her something that fits in with her current style, not the style of that waitress you flirted with at lunch.

3. Go gold or go home

Silver is not the right choice for a gift. Girls buy themselves silver on holidays in Ibiza. Gold, on the other hand, is special. Just ask Indiana Jones. Or a pirate. Gold is a real gift and right now rose gold is where it’s at in the style stakes; “Rose gold is particularly popular at the moment,” says Ms Sasha Sarokin, Buying Manager for Shoes, Bags, Accessories and Jewelry at NET-A-PORTER. “The tone means it blends beautifully with her skin tone and looks subtle and sexy on her neck.” Diane Kordas does beautifully delicate 18-karat gold and diamond necklaces that work both casually or dressed-up. “She’ll never take it off – it will become as core to her morning ritual as putting on her watch and brushing her teeth,” adds Ms Sarokin. Maria Black’s fine jewellery offering is a little edgier, a little more rock’n’roll, but we’ve yet to meet a woman who doesn’t swoon over her designs. Avoid plating if you can; it’s misleading and women are experts at deploying the look of delayed disappointment.

4. Predictable is good

This is one of the few incidences where keeping it simple and predictable is a good thing – provided of course that classic still means being encrusted with diamonds. “If you want her to really wear it, then go for something delicate looking and not oversized as she’ll struggle to use it with every outfit,” says Ms Worth. No girl in her right mind would turn her nose up at a pair of simple diamond studs and it’s the one area where stone size should verge on the small to medium, as large studs tend to droop and feel too heavy on the ear lobe. If she is a strictly hoop earring kind of gal, then she will appreciate a well-made solid gold pair rather than a pair that will make her ears green. While we are on the subject of green, choosing the right gemstone can be another stumbling point. If in doubt avoid coloured stones such as emeralds or sapphires and stick to good old diamonds – the fail-safe, fair-weather option.

5. Know your type

For the fashion-forward female, jewellery has never been more exciting. Ear jackets and cuffs are the current fixation and brands such as Maria Black and New York duo Jemma Wynne are leading the procession. The fashionably inclined lady may also be open to the prospect of black diamonds on earrings or a necklace. “The girl that opts for black diamonds is a little bit more edgy, a little less excited by the sparkle of straight diamonds and wants something a bit more hardcore,” explains Ms Sarokin. “They are still exquisite stones but made for a very different effect.”