6 Tips for Buying Jewelry as a Gift (That They'll Actually Love) 

Jewelry is a gift from the heart. Here's how to make sure you pick the right piece for your loved one.

Updated February 9, 2023

Jewelry can make a thoughtful gift for so many of our loved ones. Whether it's for a partner, friend, parent, or child, a piece of jewelry is something they can wear every day, or save for special occasions. One thing's for sure: it will always make them think of you and your special relationship.

The keys to knowing how to buy jewelry and choosing just the right piece is to consider the recipient and the meaning of the gift. There are some important things you'll want to think about before you go shopping.

1. Think About the Person You're Giving It To


Jewelry is most meaningful as a gift when you're thoughtful about the person who'll be wearing it.

  • Personal style - What is their distinctive style? Is it funky, boho, retro, dark, elegant, minimalist, or something else? Choose a piece that matches what they like, not necessarily what you would like.
  • Lifestyle - Does this person work a lot with their hands? A delicate ring might not be the right choice. Or maybe they don't have piercings, so a bracelet or necklace would be a good option. Would a fun faux piece could be a thoughtful gesture?
  • Birthstone - Look up their birth month on a birthstone chart and get something with that stone in it.
  • Sizing - If you're buying a ring, make sure you know their size! There are also different sizes of necklaces that work well for different body types or fashion styles.
  • Allergies - It's pretty heartbreaking to get a gorgeous piece of jewelry that gives you an allergic reaction. Find out if your person has any metal allergies before you buy (especially if it's something expensive).
Helpful Hack

Enlist a friend for help. Go the "secret shopper" route and have a friend or family member ask sneaky jewelry questions for you, so your gift can really be a surprise.

2. Think About What You Want the Jewelry to Say


Jewelry makes a style statement, but it also sends a message as a gift.

  • Expensive jewelry shows seriousness. If you're not in a serious relationship, choose a less expensive piece for a gift.
  • Rings have extra meaning in romantic relationships. And not just for engagement rings! Other types of rings can mean different things to your relationship (like a promise ring), and can even depend on the fingers they're worn on.
  • The right jewelry can show a friend you care. Let your friend know how much you mean to them with matching jewelry or a piece that reflects their personality. A charm bracelet with the person's hobbies is a great choice that'll show you know them well!
  • Jewelry can show family connections. Give your mother a necklace or ring with your family birthstones or a special engraved design. She'll love it (and probably never take it off).
  • Sometimes, jewelry isn't the right gift. There are situations when you may not want to give jewelry, such as when it can be misinterpreted to mean you want a romantic relationship. There are also relationships that don't really call for this type of gift, like coworkers.

3. Understand the Materials


When you choose jewelry, it's good to understand the materials used in the piece. Precious metals and gems come in a range of grades and price points, so pay attention to the differences as you shop.

  • Precious metals - Jewelry often features gold, silver, platinum, and other metals. Gold karats describe how much pure gold is in a piece of jewelry, and there are requirements for how much pure silver needs to be in sterling silver pieces.
  • Diamonds - Diamonds have a grading system to tell how valuable they are. If you're buying diamond jewelry, you should know how they're graded and priced.
  • Gems - Other gems having grading systems too, although these vary depending on the specific stone.

4. Choose a Foolproof Option


Certain jewelry choices are always going to be a hit, so you can't go wrong with foolproof classics. When in doubt, these pieces almost always make a great gift:

  • Lockets - Lockets are meaningful and come in a variety of price points. Go the extra mile and add a photo to make it extra personalized.
  • Pearls - Pearls never go out of style. A strand of pearls or a pair of pearl earrings is always a beautiful choice.
  • Sterling silver - From sterling silver chains to pendants and bracelets, silver jewelry is a classic staple.
  • Watches - A watch could be great gift, and you can get them in feminine or masculine styles. Just make sure the recipient would wear one, since many people have given them up in favor of their phones.
  • Birthstones - Celebrate your loved one with a piece of birthstone jewelry as a birthday gift or other special occasion.

5. Make Sure You're Getting What You Pay For


The value of the jewelry should match the price! Look for these quality indicators when buying jewelry:

  • Stamps and markings - Most jewelry has markings that indicate the metal content and sometimes the maker. Make sure the markings match up to what you're hoping to buy.
  • Lab reports - Many gems come with lab reports that tell the size, qualities, and sometimes the value of the stone. These can help prove that you have an authentic gem that is worth what the retailer says.
  • Appraisals - If the gift you're buying is particularly valuable, consider getting an appraisal. This can be useful for insurance purposes, too.

6. Think About Returns


Even if you put a lot of thought into choosing jewelry for someone, there's always the chance they may need a different size or a different piece. Take a few minutes to confirm the store's return policy before you decide on a gift. You may never need to use it, but it will give you peace of mind!

7. Jewelry Inspiration Is All Around You


Before you shop for jewelry to give to someone special, look at what's already right in front of you!

  • See what's available in stores. If you're in a store that sells jewelry, start browsing ahead of time. And if your person is with you, you can ask them which pieces they like or don't like to start narrowing down options.
  • Notice what they already wear. You could get them a different version of the same type of jewelry, or maybe you want to get them a different type of jewelry in a similar style. For example, if they wear a lot of gold tones, more gold is probably a safe bet. Or if they like true vintage pieces, pick something out from an antique or thrift store.

At the End of the Day, Just Be Thoughtful


Be thoughtful, but don't overthink it. Whether you pick something that reflects their style or has a personalized stone or engraving, a meaningful piece of jewelry that you buy with your loved one in mind will make them feel so loved by you. And that's the whole point!

6 Tips for Buying Jewelry as a Gift (That They'll Actually Love)