Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Ladies and gents: We tapped the collective expertise of four area jewelry professionals to assist your last-minute Valentine's endeavors. Meet Beth Miller, founder of Chic to Chic and its private Wellesley showroom; Callie Smith, Director of Online Merchandising for custom jeweler Gemvara (whose Newbury Street pop-up shop remains open through February 14); Marjorie Gad, private jeweler with a focus on engagement pieces; and Megan Flynn, co-owner of accessory boutique M. Flynn in the South End. From how to best prepare for a shopping trip to items that anyone would be happy receiving, consider this your guide to winning V-Day on Friday.
Make sure you have answers to these questions...
To prevent looking like a deer in headlights upon walking into a store, give some thought to the following prompts you might encounter from a salesperson. Remember—the most specific you are, the better they can lend a hand in narrowing down options. A solid back-up? Show them a picture of your valentine to identify personal style and coloring.
Beth Miller, Chic to Chic: How does she dress? Is she conservative; is she funky? Where does she shop? Is she going on Newbury or small boutiques? Is she buying designer clothing or shopping at Gap? Big jewelry or delicate? It gives me an idea of price point and style. I ask what their hair and eye color is.
Callie Smith, Gemvara: Our customer care team speaks to customers about what color she wears a lot and what her birthstone is, moving away from the Valentine's things and thinking about the person you're buying for.
Marjorie Gad: In terms of buying an engagement ring, the first thing I suggest is going on a casual shopping trip together. See what makes her eyes light up. Do it totally in fun and jest. Or, put your sleuth hat on. Has she posted anything on Pinterest? Is she ooh-ing and ahh-ing through magazines? Call her best friend, family, or colleagues.
Megan Flynn, M. Flynn: Consider whether she wears gold or silver. Guys are usually pretty open to suggestion. And if we know the price point they want to spend we can pick out something appropriate.
Forget Me Knot ring at Gemvara
Jewelry trends to consider...
Beth Miller, Chic to Chic: Colored stones are huge right now. Oxidized. Anything with pave diamonds. Rose gold. The pink is beautiful on all skin tones. Long necklaces. She can layer them. Gold and silver mix beautifully.
Callie Smith, Gemvara: Most women have a color palette they stick to, or warm or cool tones. You can learn a lot by observing what they wear on a day-to-day basis. Pick jewelry in that same color family or jewelry that complements it. If somebody wears a lot of bright colors, go for subdued tones. If a woman wears all black, you could add some pops of color with jewelry.
Marjorie Gad: Stackable rings; do diamond eternity bands, throw in a ruby for Valentine's Day. You can wear them together or separate. Rose gold is the hottest thing out there; think white diamonds with rose gold in any form (earring, bracelet, ring) or rubies with rose gold. Rubies are the stone of love.
Three months versus thirty years...
Basically, if you're not popping the question, don't buy a ring. Our panel breaks down what signals serious and what is appropriate for a newer relationship.
Beth Miller, Chic to Chic: Something like a ring is a lot more personal than say a funky bracelet.
Callie Smith, Gemvara: You have to be careful in early stages about buying a ring. If you give a woman a ring box, she may get the wrong idea. Especially in that phase where it could go either way, just stay away from rings. You don't want to get her hopes up or freak her out. A pendant or earrings are safer at that stage. As you're with someone longer you can take more risks.
Marjorie Gad: For a casual relationship, stick with earrings and bracelets. Do the ring only if you're really in it for good.
Megan Flynn, M. Flynn: We do a lot of necklaces. Anything from people who are really serious (we have diamond pendants we sell a lot of) to things for people who are just dating. A lot of guys don't want to give a gift that's too serious. We'll pick out a necklace we designed here or from a brand we carry like Alexis Bittar.
Wevly Wilson necklace at M. Flynn
What is fool-proof...
Beth Miller, Chic to Chic: We have a few pieces that we call "safe bets." No matter what someone's style is, they are really universal. For example, we have diamond hoop earrings in white, yellow, and rose gold, or a diamond pendant. They are beautiful and elegant.
Callie Smith, Gemvara: At Gemvara you can design really crazy things, but if you're not really sure of the color combination, I think it's always safe to go with a simpler, understated look. You can also choose metals at Gemvara, and there are metals that look better with certain stones and skin tones. A safe fall-back is a white metal (sterling silver, white gold, or platinum).
Marjorie Gad: You'll get the most bang for your buck with a round brilliant diamond. Round diamonds look larger than fancy cut diamonds. Emerald cuts do not look as large because they are a step cut, and not a round brilliant cut. Cushion cuts are very popular right now. They marry the classic diamond look with some brilliance.
Megan Flynn, M. Flynn: One designer we just started carrying is an $80 price point, Wevly Wilson. She just was given a Tory Burch Foundation grant for her new business. They are classic with a little bit of color. It's a great price point for just dating. Le Nereides from Paris is also nice and feminine. It's a grown up version of what we all wore as little girls.
· 10 Boston Lingerie Destinations to Upgrade Your Intimates [Racked Boston]
· Thinking About a Boudoir Shoot? Questions, Answered [Racked Boston]