Five Tips for Buying Handmade Jewelry

Five Tips for Buying Handmade Jewelry for Women

By Claire Larrabee

Handmade jewelry is a surefire gift for your partner, for Valentine’s Day or any other special occasion. I certainly love unwrapping something unusual and sparkly! But I get the impression from my friends that buying the right bauble is often a nerve-wracking experience. Will she really like it? Has she the right occasion to wear it? Should you just include the receipt so she can return it pronto? You really don’t want to answer YES to that last question!

Representing the woman’s point of view here, I offer some suggestions to help you pick out the perfect piece of handmade jewelry. Here are five tips to help you get it right.

1. What’s her style?

First, think about how your partner likes to dress. Is a simple white blouse paired with a small pendant and slim black pants her preferred outfit? Or is a funky mix of colorful tunics, leggings and chunky jewelry her thing? Take a peek in her closet to think about her unique style and keep that in mind as you head out on the jewelry hunt.

Conservative, wild or somewhere in between? Figure out your partner’s style.
(Left to Right: Onyx Bracelet by Rob Greene, Red Leather Cuff by Grace Marques)

2. When does she wear jewelry?

Some women enjoy dressing up the standard business casual outfit with a pretty bracelet or pin. Others like to jazz up the weekend tee and jeans with a little bling. And then, of course, there’s the evening out – dinner, parties, perhaps a charity auction – your partner might really love to pull out all the jewelry stops for these events. As you consider a handmade jewelry piece, think about how well it will match her jewelry wearing habits.

Elevate weekend jeans with a cool handmade belt buckle, or dazzle at the next party with a stack of blazing gold rings.
(Left to Right: Bronze Belt Buckle by Fran Michaels, Sapphire, Diamond, and Gold Ring Stack by Amy Hudon)

3. Does she have a metal, color, or material preference?

It may be that your partner prefers silver to all other metals, or pieces with blue stones to highlight her striking blue eyes. Some women aren’t metal-focused at all. I happen to love jewelry in porcelain because these pieces best complement my contemporary style of dress. While you are snooping around your partner’s closet, open that jewelry box and see what seems to be her favored material and color.

Handmade Jewelry comes in an endless variety of materials, sure to complement your partner’s style.
(Left to Right: Sheila Fernekes, Nina Zotcavage, Steven Kolodny, Betsy Baker)

4. Know your budget

It’s really easy to go overboard when buying jewelry, but not everything you buy needs to be 18-karat gold laced with precious stones. Handmade jewelry comes in an incredible array of reasonably priced materials from fabric, paper, leather, and ceramics to less expensive metals like copper and bronze. You can also keep to your budget by going small – a gorgeous pair of silver earrings can be the perfect gift without being a budget-buster.

Earrings from the fun to the fancy for a well appreciated gift that fits your budget.
(Left to Right: Lisa & Scott Cylinder, Louise Fischer Cozzi, Wendy Lin)

5. Like it yourself!

So far, these tips have been all about her. But you count too. Buy what you like. If you can imagine the bracelet encircling her wrist, those pretty earrings peeking out from under her hair, or that sparkly necklace lighting up her skin, then go for it. After all, you are going to be the one looking at it most often!

Buy what you like!
(From Top Left to Bottom Right: Barbara Smith McLaughlin, Wendy Stauffer, E. Douglas Wunder, Christine MacKellar, Jann Curtis, Adel Chefridi)

Paradise City: A Great Place to Buy Handmade Jewelry

All of these jewelers will be at the Paradise City Arts Festival, March 23-25 at the Royal Plaza Trade Center, Marlborough, MA. To buy for Valentine’s Day, see our jewelry exhibitors page, click on an artist to learn more, and buy directly. Or, come to the show and see the artists and their work in person to find that perfect piece of handmade jewelry for an upcoming birthday, anniversary, or just an “I love you” day. Besides all these talented jewelers, you will find painters, sculptors, fabric artists, photographers, ceramic artists, metal workers, and so much more at the show. Click here for more information on the festival, including hours, location, admission and exhibitors. Hope to see you there!