Stressed about picking out jewelry for your significant other this Valentine’s Day?
Father and son David and Alex Bellman of Bellman’s Jewelers and Amoskeag Jewelers owner Larry Cote offered a few tips. Their biggest piece of advice? Do some research beforehand.
“Thank God for cell phones and the Internet,” David Bellman said in a phone interview. “Any hints or suggestions you can get beforehand is a huge help.”
To start out, the Bellmans suggest you determine very early how much you’d like to spend.
“I don’t mean you have to know exactly how much you want to spend,” David Bellman said. “Just have a price range. If you’re going to spend between $200 to $300, you’ll have to be looking in one part of the store. It helps expedite the process.”
Once you have that narrowed down, decide what colors to purchase. As of late, white gold and silver are the most trending colors. (White gold is much lighter in tone than yellow gold. Silver is an inexpensive alternative.)
“I’d say that 90 percent of people come in looking for the white metals. That’s what’s in fashion right now,” David Bellman said.
Then, to narrow down the style further, think about what your significant other wears. Does she already own jewelry? Does she regularly wear simple or elaborate clothing? What colors does she wear? Pick out jewelry that goes with or complements her wardrobe already. (And if you’re still stuck, snoop through her jewelry box and find out what she has and doesn’t wear, and thus, doesn’t like.) Asking for advice from one of her close friends or family members isn’t a bad idea either.
David Bellman says that if you really want to get it right, you should just ask your significant other for help.
“Jewelry is a very personal thing,” David Bellman said. “It’s hard to get it right. So any kinds of hints or suggestions you can get — whether it be something she saw and liked on the Internet [and] copy/pasted and sent in an email — can be a huge help.”
Or, to make it even easier, David Bellman said people can come in beforehand and make a “wish list” of items they’d like. The store keeps track of those items so when the significant others come in, the process of choosing is much easier.
Funky, modern, casual, from the heart
For something bright, eye-catching and vibrant but on the lower end of the price spectrum, Alex Bellman suggests purchasing jewelry with amber.
“We have a great amber collection. … It’s fun, and you can get a pretty large piece while staying relatively inexpensive,” Alex Bellman said.
Amber can be used in all kinds of jewelry, from necklaces and rings to earrings and bracelets
For something more modern, more flashy (and a bit more on the pricey side), Alex Bellman leans customers to Bellman’s designers, like Simon G.
“He makes this invisible set,” Alex Bellman said. He held up a ring covered in diamonds, but because of the set, the stones were flush together, providing a solid, seamless look. “You can’t even tell what’s holding the diamond in.”
On the other end of the spectrum — for something just as bold but more casual — Alex Bellman points to jewelry by Charles Krypell. At Bellman’s, a large majority of the items by this designer are either all or mostly made from silver, and thus are a bit more appropriate for everyday wear.
“Sterling is great and his pieces are very collectible. … And all of his pieces match in some way or another,” Alex Bellman said.
If you’re still stuck, Larry Cote, owner of Amoskeag Jewelers, suggests going for something from the heart. Or at least heart-shaped.
“We make handmade, heart-shaped jewelry. They’re made from sterling and gold,” Cote said. “If you know what month they were born in, we can put their birthstone in it, too. I think it makes it more personal.”
Heart-shaped jewelry, he said, never goes out of style for Valentine’s Day.
“You don’t always have to go with what’s trending. We’re an old-fashioned-type jewelry store. We try to make things that are handmade but personal.”
When in doubt, go simple
“I’d suggest to go with items that will be worn frequently,” David Bellman said.
In selling jewelry as gifts, he doesn’t care to sell items that won’t be worn except on special occasions.
“If that person has plenty of jewelry already, then that’s a different story, but most people want to buy something their significant other can wear every day. It’s a big investment, but that way, you get the most mileage out of it,” David Bellman said.
Something like a pair of earrings — diamond studs are elegant, classic and simple — is far more likely to be worn, and more often, than something more intricate, more complex, like a bright, flashy necklace studded with stones.
Similarly, it’s not a bad idea to go with more neutral colors (white gold, silver, diamond) that coordinate with all types of clothing.
“For example, if you choose a green-colored stone, green is a tough color to wear with anything else besides, well, green,” David Bellman said.
As seen in the February 6, 2014 issue of the Hippo.