Monday, July 9, 2012

How to Buy Her Jewelry: Guy-to-Guy Tips from the Gifting Trenches

Buying jewelry gifts for women is about as enjoyable to most men as getting their eyebrows plucked while watching a Real Housewives marathon. It’s intimidating, annoying and – at times- a little painful.

You all know I’ve been blathering on for years about how easy it is to buy jewelry but (like most fellas I know) you listen better when it's one of your own doing the talking. Enter: Michele Giulietti, the Italian ‘Mr. Big’ in Beth Bernstein’s page-turner of a memoir, My Charmed Life.

Michele Giulietti and Beth Bernstein at the book party for My Charmed Life in NYC
A well-known jewelry industry writer/designer/editor, Bernstein writes beautifully of her many loves – her mother, her jewelry and…well…her men (not necessarily in that order) – and without giving away any of the juicy details of her relationship with Mr. Giulietti (go get the book – stat!), I’ll just say that after reading their story, he struck me as the perfect person to interview to get the best dude-friendly jewelry buying tips that guys will actually take to heart.

In short, he’s battled on the front lines of jewelry gifting for years, learned from one of the jewelry industry’s best -  and lived to tell the tale. Take notes, fellas. He's got some great tricks up his well-tailored sleeve.


JEWELRY INSIDER: "I take it you initially found buying jewelry for women to be an intimidating process. What 'scared' you about it at first?

MICHELE GIULIETTI: Let’s face it: Men know more about skirts, shirts and lacey underwear than jewelry - it’s elusive and adds something that is hard to pinpoint to a woman’s allure. It’s something a man (who doesn’t wear jewelry) finds hard to relate to.

My biggest fear was simply ‘failing’. Fear of failing is a dangerous enemy to good taste and success.

JI: What (or who) eventually made you feel comfortable buying jewelry? How did you learn and what mistakes did you make?

MG: I learned more about it by going out with Beth Bernstein - writer/jewelry expert -  and got intrigued by its history.

After being exposed to more and more jewelry, I realized that some of the shy attempts I made in the past were just plain bad purchases.

JI: What tips can you offer to help male shoppers avoid those ‘bad purchases’?

Tip #1: Shop with her. It doesn’t matter what you’re shopping for. You’ll learn how to interpret her taste. Every woman has a style: music, interior design, clothes…jewelry. They generally have something in common. Also, look at the flower she likes: yellow daisies or white roses? Could that provide a hint? I tend to think it does.

Tip #2: Learn a bit about what you’re buying: history, geography, who made it. It will show that when you purchased the gift, it was not just a plastic card operation.

Tip #3: Finally, buy something you like too - after putting yourself in her shoes.

JI. Lots of guys are afraid to buy jewelry because they fear women are expecting a ‘ring’ and anything less will be disappointing. In other words? They chicken out and get something safe like flowers and chocolate instead. What jewelry would you get to let women know they are special without going the distance with an engagement ring?

MG: I just would make her feel that I went out of my way in order to find that piece. Birthstones are a great option since they show her you are making a personal purchase. You are putting more thought into it than just getting her something shiny. Or find that piece that she can really wear - a nice watch, a pair of diamond studs. Something versatile and long-lasting.

JI: Is quality important, in your opinion? Or is it the thought that counts?

MG: Very few people know anything about that. If she sees effort behind the act of giving a gift, she should appreciate it.

JI: Finally, what are the three most important things guys should keep in mind when buying a jewelry gift?

MG: HER. HER. HER. Yes, because I suppose we know her, right? If we don’t, well, maybe then it’s too early to buy stones artistically intertwined with precious metals. You don’t buy jewelry to impress a woman. Never. You buy it because you know SHE will love it. Not because you will look good doing it.

And watch out about your budget! You should never regret having bought jewelry. You can find something meaningful and precious without overspending.


Wise words, indeed. You can find Beth Berstein's memoir, My Charmed Life, in bookstores now - or here on It's a great beach read - especially for jewelry hounds like yours truly - and her romance with Giulietti is quite the cliff hanger (fyi - she refers to him as 'Paolo' in the book). 

Intrigued? Read 'em and weep! And weigh in here with your rants and raves!

And guys? Those affordable-yet-meaningful jewelry gifts are just a click away on - birthstones, diamond earrings, and more! Go get 'em, fellas!
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