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How Superstition Can Guide Your Jewelry Marketing Strategies

Black cats, Friday the 13th, or walking under a ladder may produce negative outcomes. On the other hand, an itchy palm, a four-leaf clover, or a heads-up penny can inspire something favorable, depending on who you ask. Either way, all are examples of superstitions. What are some that you believe?

I recently stumbled upon an article that made me reconsider the role of superstitions as they relate to jewelry marketing. In “Understanding superstition could get you a great deal on an engagement ring,” the author provides consumers with advice about how they might be able to score a bargain by using logic and capitalizing on other people’s emotion-driven superstitions.

But I’m more interested in how jewelry retailers can provide better products and services based on their potential customers’ most stubborn (and often inevitable) convictions. In this post, I’d like to make you aware how some customers’ superstitions might impact their willingness to buy your jewelry.

Researcher Anne Bowers studied nearly 15,000 rings on eBay and then conducted her own experiment with a simple engagement ring that she auctioned in three separate listings, with different histories.

In one description, she stated, “Due to a divorce, I am auctioning this gorgeous .70 carat diamond ring…Since my ex and I split up I don’t wear it anymore, but someone else should!” In another she claimed “I am still happily married—I am selling the ring because I prefer to wear only a wedding band because I work with my hands.” In the third, the “seller” was simply a store with an overstock of new rings.

The ring from the “divorce” sold for $550, while the ring from the “marriage” sold for $740, and the ring from the “store” sold for $820. Are you surprised? I certainly wasn’t. We attach so much emotional weight to jewelry that an accompanying negative history might affect a ring’s value as much physical damage to it.

If you’re a jewelry retailer selling products that contain recycled or pre-owned elements, always emphasize a story that will overpower the superstition. These days, environmentally-conscious consumers are seeking jewelry made from recycled elements like reclaimed diamonds and repurposed gold and platinum.

Though it’s important for you to disclose the recycled nature of these materials, you don’t have to focus on “ghost” part of the story. Instead, stress the environmental benefits rather than dwelling on the energy from owners past.

Innovative bridal jewelry retailer Brilliant Earth is the first Google search result for “recycled diamonds and gold,” and the copywriting on their Recycled Gold information page is…brilliant: “Dirty gold mining has a history of civil war, labor abuses, and environmental devastation.” They’re able to turn the reader’s attention away from the emotional baggage of recycled gold by directing the focus on the history of the gold mining industry.

But superstitions don’t just apply to pre-owned jewelry. 

Pay attention to numbers. In 2013, the Harvard Business Review published an interesting piece about “bad-luck numbers” and how they might cause a customer to have second-thoughts about purchasing an item from your business. Avoid “cursed” numbers like 13 and 666 in pricing, addresses, product descriptions, and phone numbers.

Designate your own lucky charm. You don’t literally need to sell charms in order to try this tactic. Maybe one of your pieces means something special to you or was inspired by a unique moment in your life. Pass that energy along to your customers by setting that piece apart with its own story.

I always remember a bead store I once visited outside of Chicago, where the owner sold astrology-inspired beaded jewelry. Each piece was hand-infused with an intention during a very specific time of day, according to astrological charts, which the owner had studied.

Encourage the customer feel like it’s “meant to be.” I’m personally more inclined to make a purchase, especially an impulse purchase, when I feel like it’s “meant to be,” or that the item has found me in some way.

The right side of my brain knows that this is silly. Rationally, I know the “meant to be” feeling is a result of a welcoming and personalized shopping experience. The retailer has gone to great lengths to understand the target customer and to tailor every aspect of that shopping experience to what that customer would enjoy and appreciate. Think about how you can make your customer feel like she + your jewelry = something she can’t possibly ignore.

Whether or not you’re superstitious, you have to respect and honor the fact that many people do believe in superstitions. Have you encountered superstitious customers, and what have you done to counter their fears and hesitations?

Featured photo by Chris Yarzab

Boomerang and Instagram Video in Social Media Marketing for Jewelry

One of the most difficult aspects of photographing jewelry is capturing its “sparkle,” especially the brilliance, fire, and scintillation of a beautiful diamond. In the jewelry industry, sharing a beautiful product photo on your website or via your social media accounts is the most effective way to entice a customer who isn’t able to see your jewelry in person.

Product photography could well be the single most important design aspect of any e-commerce website. – Smashing Magazine

If you’re a jewelry designer or jewelry business owner who has ever tried photographing your jewelry yourself, without outsourcing it to a professional, you probably know that producing the perfect product photo requires ideal light, proper equipment, lots of trial and error, and more than a basic knowledge of Photoshop.

If you don’t have time to learn how to photograph jewelry, or you can’t afford to hire a jewelry photographer, don’t worry: you do have other options, especially when it comes to posting on Instagram.

What most people know about Instagram is that it’s a social media platform where users can share square-shaped photos altered with filters. Many jewelry brands have been very successful with sharing still photos on Instagram.

Check out #showmeyourrings for some examples of rings on Instagram.

But lately, I’ve been noticing that many jewelry brands are incorporating Boomerang and video into their regular, still Instagram postings. What are Boomerang and Instagram video, you ask? First, you should be aware that Instagram will, by default, display video “views” rather than “likes.” To see actual likes, just click the number of views for more information.

Boomerang: In late 2015, Instagram announced the launch of Boomerang, an app that allows users to create a one-second mini video from a quick burst of photos.

Below is an example of a Boomerang for a double-halo diamond engagement ring.

Check out the sparkle on this cushion-cut, double halo ring! How many heads do you think you’d turn?

A video posted by DIAMOND MANSION (@diamondmansion) on

Instagram video: In 2013, Instagram launched a video feature that allows users to post 15-second videos, which can then be altered with one of Instagram’s filters.

Below is an example of an Instagram video featuring multiple ring stacks.

Boomerang vs. Instagram Video

You might think that not much can happen in a second, but one second could be just the right amount of time to showcase a moment of sparkle.

Boomerang is a perfect choice when you want to capture polish, fire, or scintillation, and a still image isn’t doing your jewelry justice. When using Boomerang, you’ll find that the app’s photo bursts happen quickly, and you might need to do a few takes in order to achieve your desired effect.

What I like most about Instagram video is that 15 seconds can offer a potential customer a brief glance into how it might look and feel to wear your jewelry. Few people are likely to get bored in 15 seconds, so you’ll be able to pique viewers’ interest without losing their attention.

In one of my favorite examples of Instagram video used for jewelry marketing, jewelry brand Mark Broumand enlisted a hand model wearing a 3.56 carat double-halo oval engagement ring to visit Los Angeles restaurant and gourmet market Bottega Louie.

In the video below, you can see the model admiring a window display full of cakes and colorful macarons while wearing her show-stopping ring. To date, the video has received more than 55,000 views.

Do you already utilize Boomerang and Instagram video? If so, how do you decide when to use a still image or a video? If not, do you think your Instagram account would benefit from some moving images?

What Ear Piercing Can Teach Us About Jewelry Marketing

So you’re wondering: what the heck does poking a needle through my ear lobe have to do with marketing my jewelry brand?

In this post I’ll show you what ear piercing can teach you about increasing your jewelry brand’s strength and presence.

I recently stumbled across a fascinating history of ear piercing, focusing mostly on the Western cultural relevance of basic earlobe piercing from the 1990s to today. Though not as comprehensive as it could be, the article shed light on the fashion jewelry store Claire’s, an American shopping mall mainstay that nearly any American girl would recognize.

You know Claire’s too. Walk into any Claire’s location today and receive free ear piercing services (a.k.a. get your lobes clamped by a teen wielding a staple gun) with the purchase of a pair of starter earrings.

Here a few interesting facts about Claire’s:

  • Claire’s “has been in the ear piercing business since 1978”
  • “The chain does 3 million piercings a year, and its global piercing number recently hit 94 million.”

And here’s the most important one…

  • “So famous is Claire’s for its ear piercing that the accessories retailer historically hasn’t done much to promote the service…”

What? Imagine being so famous for your jewelry or jewelry-related service that you don’t even need to do anything to promote yourself.

Theoretically, a person can get an ear piercing at a number of places: a clinical ear piercing business, a doctor’s office, a tattoo/piercing shop, in your friend’s bathroom during a sleepover (not recommended), or a mall fashion jewelry store like Claire’s or Piercing Pagoda.

Why Claire’s?!

Claire’s discovered how to make a near-mythical rite of passage accessible to the audience undergoing that rite of passage, mostly 10-year-old girls. No 10-year-old girl wants to visit her doctor or a tattoo/piercing shop, and I’m sure few parents want to bring her to the latter. 

But Claire’s? At Claire’s the 10-year-old can choose from hundreds of bright, happy, playful starter earrings, and she can flaunt her newfound maturity to anyone who happens to be browsing the store or gawking through the window.

Sure, 10-year-olds aren’t Claire’s only audience. But the same principles apply to everyone else: the process is easy. You don’t need to know any special lingo or mentally prepare yourself for the ear piercing process.

Getting pierced at Claire’s is transparent, literally. For former CEO Beatrice Lafon to assert that the company hasn’t done much to promote the process is completely untrue. The thrilled little girl getting pierced in the store window is all the promotion Claire’s ever needed.

So what can ear piercing teach you about marketing your jewelry brand? Ask yourself:

  • What intimidates my target customer about the jewelry-buying process?
  • What can I do to make the experience more breezy for them?
  • How can I simplify the experience so that they walk into my store or enter my website without any fear and with the knowledge they’ll leave feeling transformed?

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, go ahead and tell me about your first piercing experience in the comments below.

Featured photo by William Rafti

Three Artists Who Can Paint Diamonds

As a fellow jewelry lover, you probably understand what I mean when I say that gazing upon a clean, white diamond is its own type of high. Maybe I like working in the jewelry industry so I can get my fix without committing to any one stone.

I started to wonder, could I surround myself with the beauty of diamonds but not buy them?

Browsing Instagram, I stumbled upon one artist who exclusively paints portraits of diamonds. Intrigued, I found two more artists who do the same, and I want to share their talents with you.

Angie Crabtree

Angie was the first artist I found through her Instagram account, which showcases photos of her process, her studio, her cute dog, and the diamonds that she tries to capture on canvas. In a recent interview with Gem Hunt, Angie described a problem we’d all like to have, “Choosing diamonds to paint isn’t easy because I see so many beautiful ones on a daily basis.” Sigh.

What I love the most about Angie’s Instagram account and website is how consistent she is with her color scheme. Talk about branding! Everything, from her sneakers to her paintbrushes, matches her signature color palette, which includes grays, blacks, and various shades of blue. The Instagram photo above depicts one of Angie’s emerald-cut diamonds paired with colorful cookies by Holly Fox.


Kurt Pio

Kurt Pio is an artist living and working in Cape Town, South Africa. Though he doesn’t exclusively paint diamonds, he has done an entire series featuring gemstones.

When asked about his reason for choosing diamonds as his subject, Pio explained, “It’s one of my connections with South Africa. We have major diamond mines. One of them is located at Kimberley…I would go there often as a kid and be fascinated by this big man-made hole…I guess I instantly fell in love with it.” It’s no surprise that he had the opportunity to exhibit his diamond paintings in Antwerp, Belgium, a major hub for diamond trade.

What I like about his work is that the canvas itself matches the shape of the stone, so a round diamond has been painted on a circular canvas, for example.

To all travelers & wanderers! ☀”There is great meaning in life for those who are willing to journey.” Sharing with you ‘The Portal of Journeys’! 💎 🎨My diamond painting, where a blue diamond symbolizes a guiding star, a beacon of light that illuminates the path of journeys. Each portal is a piece of our lives, a journey, a flight to known or unknown, one that we have chosen to enter. The legacy of journeys is new discoveries, some answers, but also finding more questions that enrich our souls. After all, we all are seekers… and the reward lies in the journeys we take. 😊 ❤🌌 Size: 30×30 inches. info@reenaahluwalia.com | #JewelerWhoPaints #ReenaAhluwalia #DiamondArt #DiamondPainting #Diamonds #RoundBrilliant #RoundDiamond #Art #Artist #wanderlust #travel #traveler #journey

A photo posted by REENA AHLUWALIA (@reenaahluwalia) on

Reena Ahluwalia

Reena Ahluwalia is not only a painter of diamonds but also a jewelry designer and educator. I was wowed by her bragging rights: awards like the De Beers Diamonds-International Award and the Rio Tinto Diamonds Global Design Competition.

She has two series of paintings. One series features diamond portraits, while the other depicts abstract emotional landscapes seen through the lens of diamonds. I absolutely love the way she mixes faceted stones with trippy abstraction!

Inky gems for an upcoming project! #Diamondlessdoodles #WinsorAndNewton #lefthanded

A photo posted by 💎 Putting Gem To Paper 💎 (@diamondoodles) on


Bonus: After researching and writing this post, I came across the work of Hannah Becker a.k.a. diamondoodles. Hannah makes pins and stickers out of her gemstone doodles, and they’re available for purchase on Etsy. I absolutely love her use of color.

What are you favorite depictions of jewelry in art?

Visiting Jewelry Television’s GemStore in Knoxville, TN

As a jewelry marketing specialist, I can’t tear myself away from jewelry, even when I’m on vacation. You’re probably wondering what “jewelry tourism” is. Well, jewelry tourism basically means I drag my companion(s) into every jewelry store I see when traveling to a new place.

Recently, my fiance and I drove across the country, from New Jersey to Los Angeles. On the way, we passed through states like Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. I couldn’t ignore all the unique jewelry along the way.

In Knoxville, TN, we visited one destination I’ve been wanting to check out for some time: GemStore by Jewelry Television.

For the uninitiated, Jewelry Television is a television network and online shopping destination. They’re the largest retailer of loose gemstones and one of the top four electronic jewelry retailers in the United States.

I’ve been watching Jewelry Television for about 10 years. As a result, I’m not sure how I got away with ever only ordering a handful of items. I’ve learned so much about jewelry and gemstones from the knowledgable and passionate hosts.

When we arrived on a rainy afternoon, I was drawn to locally-inspired merchandise like orange crystal and sterling silver jewelry to support the Tennessee Vols. I was also excited by the selection of animal-shaped pins, especially a unicorn adorned with clear and multi-colored crystals.

Jewelry Television is well known for the Bella Luce collection, an exclusive line of fine jewelry that features dazzling, man-made gemstones. The diamond simulant is sparkling and eye catching. I was impressed by the quality of the Bella Luce tennis bracelets on display.

What I love most about Jewelry Television is that they feature colored gemstones – like natural chrome diopside, black spinel, and larimar – that aren’t found in most retail stores. Most brick-and-mortar jewelry stores only carry usual suspects like blue topaz, amethyst, and lab-created sapphire. A customer could spend an entire day at the GemStore just learning about all the stones!

In addition, the GemStore carried some designer jewelry. Pieces by Bellarri were striking, well-crafted, and made with a variety of colored gemstones. One tennis bracelet resembled a rainbow pulled down from the sky; it cheered me on a cloudy, rainy, and chilly day.

Overall, the staff at the GemStore were extremely friendly and accommodating. The gentleman assisting me was eager to help me find something to suit my taste. Though I wanted to buy many pieces, I ended up leaving with the simple yet striking and unique unicorn pin, which also came with a gold-plated chain so that I can wear it as a necklace.

I would definitely recommend GemStore for anyone who lives in the Knoxville area or is passing through on a trip. Have you ever participated in jewelry tourism or can recommend a jewelry store that’s worth a trip?

Jewelry Television’s GemStore In Knoxville, TN

Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: Weblizar

Highlights from JA New York Jewelry Trade Show Spring 2016

In order to network with jewelry retailers and designers who might need jewelry marketing services, I recently attended the JA New York Spring 2016 show.

Have you ever been to a bazaar or seen one depicted in a movie? Attending a jewelry trade show was more like spending an afternoon at a bazaar than I thought. Vendors eager to make a sale called to event attendees, and I witnessed some expertly-performed wheeling and dealing.

JA New York is a major jewelry trade show organized by the Jewelers of America and showcases more than 500 designers, suppliers, and brands. I was surprised to learn that JA New York is the only jewelry trade show that takes place in New York City. Unfortunately, the show is only open to those in the jewelry industry and not to the general public.

I was lucky to see stunning finished jewelry, gold, and gemstones, and I wanted to share my finds.

Bespoke, Upcycled Jewelry

First, I was completely charmed by Alan Anderson‘s bespoke and hand-signed couture pieces made from vintage crystals and stones. I exclaimed “Wow!” when I approached his booth. I was impressed to learn that Dame Elizabeth Taylor owned one of his amethyst cuffs. The necklace in my featured photo, as well as the cuff pictured in my Flickr photo album below, are from Alan’s collection.

Lovely Larimar

Next, I loved the larimar from Aziel. If you’re not familiar with larimar, it’s a light-blue stone mined in the Dominican Republic. It was discovered in 1916 but not marketed and sold until the mid-70s, when miner Miguel Méndez named it after Larissa, his daughter, and “mar,” the ocean. A high-quality piece of larimar will look like the surface of the rippling blue sea. The picture in my Flickr album below shows strands of larimar beads that could be made into bracelets or necklaces.

Jewel Tones and Unconventional Shapes

You’ve probably guessed that I’m attracted to bright colors. Angelique de Paris caught my eye with their bright and bold use of jewel tones and unique shapes. Designer Angelique writes on her website, “Jewelry is an art form that reflects the wearer and the uniqueness of natural gems. I seek the most flattering colours, cuts and gemstones to bring out a woman’s beauty.” Her jewelry makes me want to travel the world and enjoy many cultures and traditions.

In general, I was excited to see an abundance of beautiful tourmaline, one of my favorite colored gemstones. Have you ever been to a jewelry trade show? Do you think you’d brave the crowds to see the beautiful offerings?

JA New York Spring 2016

Flickr Album Gallery Powered By: Weblizar

What Do the Terms “Precious” and “Semiprecious” Really Mean?

The word “precious” recalls images of Gollum saying “my precious” when referring to the Ring in The Lord of the Rings. I can hear the creepy Hobbit’s voice echoing in my head.

What do you think of when you read the word “precious”? Merriam-Webster’s definitions include “worth a lot of money” and “greatly loved,” two qualities that aren’t always mutually exclusive.

In gemology, “precious” and “semiprecious” have nothing to do with creepy fantastical creatures. For many years, the term “precious” referred to:

  • Diamonds
  • Rubies
  • Sapphires
  • Emeralds
  • Pearls
  • Opals.

These gems, prized for their colors and physical properties, were often worn by royalty (think about the colors associated with kings and queens).
On the other hand, semiprecious stones are all other cut and polished gemstones that aren’t considered precious. Here’s an excellent guide to semiprecious stones.

In retail, the terms “precious” and “semiprecious” are being used less frequently, but a shopper still might encounter them. As you can imagine, calling one product “precious” and another product anything less than precious isn’t the best jewelry marketing strategy.

In many progressive retail settings shoppers will see stones separated into two categories: “diamonds” and “colored gemstones.” Pearls may also comprise another category. Given all the confusing terminology, shoppers should reinvent the terms for themselves. Save “precious” for the Hobbits and own the idea behind the word.

Until very recently, I considered amethyst to be the most precious gemstone (until the 19th century, when amethyst was discovered in bulk, it actually was considered a precious gemstone). Amethyst is my mom’s birthstone, and the deep purple color is calming.

Now the stones I consider to be precious are my quarter-carat emerald-cut diamond, my half-carat tanzanite (my boyfriend’s birthstone), and my eternity band with almost all the colors of tourmaline. I’m sure that one day another precious stone will enter my life.

What stones are most precious to you, and what are the circumstances that make them so well loved?

Cover photo by Alakazou1978

My Smart Jewelry Wish List

Many tech and gadget brands have started focusing their attention on fashion and style. Some, like Intel, have even partnered with designers and luxury retailers to produce a more stylish and visually-appealing product. The market for smart jewelry is definitely growing.

Just recently, I was thinking about how my coworker’s plastic FitBit, though a wonderful shade of pink, didn’t seem to match her blazer and professional image. How can a girl appear fashionable while she tracks her heart rate and steps? Curious, I decided to research what smart jewelry products are available on the market.

I was overwhelmed by the unique and innovative options:

  • A stylish, smart bracelet with lapis and pearls
  • fashiony FitBit made in collaboration with Tory Burch
  • pendant that tracks a woman’s menstrual cycle
  • ring that senses hand gestures and movements

Though I was impressed by the functionality of these devices, I wasn’t moved to share my credit card number. I found myself asking – what would I want from my ideal piece of smart jewelry?

First, I’d hope for something made of precious material to blend in with other gold and silver jewelry I wear regularly. The only piece I could find that incorporated precious metal (if you don’t count gold plating) and/or gemstones is Intel’s collaboration with Opening Ceremony. This bracelet features a sapphire touchscreen and is adorned with pearls, lapis, obsidian, and tiger’s eye. It’s more expensive than many of the other smart jewelry pieces I found, but it also seems the most luxurious.

Second, I’d like something more delicate and inconspicuous. I’m not a tech nerd who really needs anyone to ask me about my functional jewelry. I understand that technology might not be advanced enough to fit a computer system inside a thin stacking ring, but most smart jewelry on the market, like Ringly, is big and bulky.

Let’s be real: I spend too much time in front of my laptop and face-first in my iPhone. I don’t need another reminder that I’ve gotten an e-mail or text. What I really want is smart jewelry that tells me where I cans find the best deals on more jewelry (both smart and stupid) wherever I am, even online. A girl can dream.

What’s your smart jewelry wish list? Have you tested any smart jewelry products?

Cover photo by ARMdevices.net

 

How to Find Affordable Alternatives to Designer Jewelry

Recently I was seeking a delicate, gold-and-diamond evil eye ring, but the only options I could find either exceeded my budget or sacrificed quality for a lower price point.

I fell in love with a 14K white gold blue-and-white diamond ring at Lord & Taylor and another worn by Katie Holmes on the cover of MORE. I don’t exactly have an A-list-celebrity budget.

Finally, I found a ring that satisfied my needs: the Carol Brodie .2 carat diamond and sterling silver evil eye ring from HSN. It’s made from a precious metal, it’s set with natural stones, and it’s delicate and simple. Even better, it cost less than $75!

After purchasing my look-alike ring, I decided I’d like to share some tips for finding affordable alternatives to jewelry that’s out of your budget. After all, we deserve to enjoy at least a sliver of luxury for whatever we can afford.

1. Search eBay

What I like most about eBay is that I can filter searches by price points. Then, the search results won’t tease me with items I can’t afford.

Using this search feature, I’ve found great deals from international eBay sellers. In some other countries like India and China, the markup for jewelry is not as high as in the United States, and a few savvy international entrepreneurs have learned how to market themselves to American customers by undercutting local competition and charming buyers with beautiful photography and enticing guarantees.

Before purchasing, be sure to read user reviews and ask questions to confirm quality, return policies, and shipping terms.

eBay is also a great source for vintage and pre-owned jewelry, which is sometimes less expensive than a new piece. Slightly worn-looking jewelry can often be polished and refurbished by an experienced jeweler, especially if it was made from high-quality materials.

2. Consider Pre-owned Jewelry

As I mentioned above, you can find pre-owned jewelry on eBay and bring it to a local jeweler for refurbishment. However, some brick-and-mortar jewelry stores and even websites of national jewelry store brands have sections dedicated to pre-owned jewelry, just like car dealerships with a selection of certified, pre-owned cars. You’ll be the only one who knows you’re not the original owner!

3. Build Your Own 

Educate yourself on purchasing gemstones and mountings or semi-mountings (the pre-fabricated metal structures that hold your stones in a ring, pendant, or earrings). Online, many resources jewelry education are available, and one of my favorites is the gem-buying guide at JTV.

Soon, you’ll begin to understand how much your favorite gemstones should cost when set in finished jewelry. You’ll be able to spot bargains and turn up your nose at overpriced pieces. Once you feel comfortable, you can purchase loose gemstones from reputable e-commerce sites and hire a local jeweler to set them for a fraction of the cost of buying premade.

4. Forget the Brand

When it comes to clothing and accessories, we’re often willing to spend more for a brand name. Some brands are known for high-quality items. However, when it comes to jewelry, brand name doesn’t necessarily signal a better-quality piece. When purchasing a brand-name piece of jewelry, you can expect to find an original design, but inspired designs can be mimicked by generic jewelry makers.

Unless you can afford to pay for a brand or absolutely must have a specific design, don’t worry too much about brand name. Most people admiring your jewelry probably wouldn’t recognize a brand anyway!

5. Google Search Metal and Stone Alternatives

If you find a piece of expensive jewelry you like, try to Google a description of it but substitute other metals and stones. For example, instead of “white gold,” search for “silver,” and instead of “diamonds,” search for “white topaz.” Silver may require slightly more maintenance than white gold or platinum, but it’s still a precious metal that you should feel proud wearing.

If you educate yourself about gemstones, as I suggested above, you’ll be able to seek more affordable alternatives to expensive stones that will still withstand the test of time and wear.

Did you ever find an affordable alternative to an expensive piece of jewelry? Was the find accidental, or did you have a strategy in mind?

Cover photo by Philip Taylor

Is Yellow Gold Old Fashioned?

My boyfriend thought he liked yellow gold better than white or rose until the moment he peeped some gold men’s rings and realized that shiny, new white gold looks slick under the jewelry store lights.

The saleswoman explained that yellow gold tends to be more “traditional,” while white gold is considered contemporary and up-to-date. Anything but traditional, my boyfriend was turned off by yellow gold’s association with old-school beliefs and values.

Most shoppers I encounter who don’t like yellow gold – “anything but yellow,” they say – explain it reminds them of their mom’s or grandma’s dated wedding sets. They would rather be cutting edge, in touch with the times.

What’s Up with White Gold?

White gold gained first gained popularity in the 1920s, when it was introduced as an alternative to precious and expensive platinum. The various colors of gold are made by mixing pure, 24-karat gold with other metals. In the case of white gold, pure yellow gold is mixed with another metal like nickel, manganese or palladium.

Platinum remained the preferred white metal until the 1990s, when consumers turned to white gold as a more affordable option. Pro-tip: These days, the price of platinum is usually about twice that of gold.

I’ll admit that high-quality diamonds can look dazzling when set in white gold. White metal can enhance the rare and breathtaking look of a colorless diamond and doesn’t distract from its clarity.

In recent years, consumers shopping for engagement rings and other bridal jewelry have more access to information about diamonds; they’re more knowledgable about how to purchase a diamond and what to seek. Therefore, they’re seeking the “best,” and the best diamonds tend to look most impressive set in white metal.

When Would Yellow Gold Be a Better Choice?

Yellow gold can mask a diamond’s imperfections and can enhance a slightly yellow diamond, which can emit a calming candlelit glow. In addition, certain gemstones look better set in yellow gold.

In my opinion, blue, purple, yellow, and green gemstones look best in yellow, while pink and lilac gemstones look stunning set in rose gold. I’d never wear a blue-purple tanzanite set in white gold, but it seems that this combination is popular in retail today.

Yellow Gold is “Forever”

If I plan to wear a piece of jewelry forever, I want to purchase something that will look timeless for decades to come. Fashion trends have shown us that what’s no longer in style will most likely come back in style. Though white gold may be more popular today, it may fall out of fashion in 10 or 20 years. For example, I sometimes wonder about diamond halos, which designer Neil Lane has made popular. Will they eventually look dated?

For a “forever” piece of jewelry, I also want something that requires as little maintenance as possible. Gold is mined yellow, and it will tend to turn yellow after time. White gold worn on a regular basis will most likely require routine rhodium plating, a process in which rhodium – a metal in the platinum family – is electroplated to coat a piece of white-gold jewelry. This plating restores the white gold to its shiny, new, white appearance. However, the plating doesn’t last forever and needs to be reapplied every one-to-two years. That sounds like a lot of work to me!

When choosing gold, especially for a piece of jewelry you hope to wear forever, think more about longevity than current trends. Decide how the metal highlights any stones in the jewelry, how the color or metal does or doesn’t complement your skin tone, and how much maintenance will be involved over time.

Personally, I love all colors of gold and think that each has a place and purpose. What’s your favorite color of gold?

Cover photo by epsos