How to Choose Jewelry Gifts for Her

There is no more attractive choice than jewelry. Girls like the sparkle and luxury of precious stones and metals, and, as a rule, such gifts certainly do not languish on shelves. So, if you have a budget and want to conquer your girlfriend with an elegant and truly memorable gift, then it’s time to study a jewelry buying guide.

Why Do Girls Like Jewelry So Much?

Women have been created by nature to bring beauty to the world. It’s better to start with the fact that ladies, in principle, tend to be enthusiastic about everything bright and beautiful. A woman wants to look good not only to attract men, as is commonly believed but also to feel comfortable in the company of friends and other women. It has long been proven that the better a lady looks, the higher her self-esteem is. And it is simply impossible to “complete” the image of a woman and look gorgeous without jewelry. Besides, it can emphasize her social and marital status (a wife finger is usually decorated with a wedding ring) so, women carefully decide on what jewelry to wear.

Types of Jewelry for a Gift

When you give a jewelry gift, you as if say that you care about the person to whom this gift is intended. You want your gift to always remind the woman of you. And that it is important for you to please her. How to choose jewelry?

·        Earrings

Almost any girl cannot do without earrings. They choose them according to their style of clothes and occasion. Earrings are a neutral gift, which does not carry a sacred meaning and is always appropriate. The choice of earrings depends on the age of the girlfriend, type of her face, hair length and style.

·        Bracelets

This is already a more delicate gift, and not all girls love this type of jewelry. You should pay attention to whether there are any bracelets in her jewelry box and whether she likes to wear something on her hands beside a watch.

·        Necklaces

It is not casual jewelry, so you should better think twice before buying such a gift. Usually, men present it as a declaration of love or as a gift for an anniversary. So, if there is no special occasion, choose something else.

·        Rings

It is the most optimal choice. Many girls wear rings, but you should consider the material and appearance of this gift. Choose a minimalistic design that will be suitable for any clothes if it is not a proposal ring.

·        Sets

A typical set includes earrings, a pendant/ necklace, a chain, and a bracelet. Everything should be in one design to eliminate the incompatibility. However, there is a chance that she will not wear the set if it does not suit her style, so don’t ignore buying jewelry tips.

What to Look for When Buying 

The most common mistake made by men who want to present jewelry to their women is related to the difference in tastes. You can pay attention to the size, price, material from which the item is made, and think that these earrings, for example, would look great on your girlfriend. However, in a burst of enthusiasm and pride in yourself, you can miss the most important thing – whether the gift will be liked by the person for whom you choose it. Girls are very selective about jewelry. Even though diamonds will undoubtedly make anyone happy, the way they are decorated does matter. If you don’t know how to buy jewelry and what to look for, you should study jewelry tips and reflect on what your girlfriend would really like to get. Don’t choose jewelry that you would like to see on her if you don’t want to spoil the present.

Gift Etiquette When Buying Jewelry      

Jewelry is a luxurious, elegant and, of course, sensual gift. Choosing a necklace, ring or bracelet for your sweetheart, you already speak and show how much you appreciate her because girls know a lot about jewelry.

·        Take care of the packaging

Cases of velvet and special boxes for jewelry are the essential part of the gift. You should neither save on them nor ignore. After all, when you choose candy, you pay attention to the wrapper as well because it’s no less important. Nowadays, there is a huge choice of boxes for different tastes.

·        Decide on the occasion for such a precious gift

Jewelry is an expensive and memorable gift. It will remind the girl of you if not all her life, then a significant part of it. If you adhere to jewelry advice, then putting it on, a girl will remember about you and the event in honor of which she has received such a precious present.

·        Be sure that a girl is ready to get it

One of the most important jewelry fashion tips sounds like that, “You should present jewelry only if you are 100% sure that a woman will be happy to receive such an expensive gift from you.” If you are not sure, it is better to limit yourself to semiprecious jewelry or choose something else.

·        Do some research

To please yourself and the future owner of the jewelry, you should turn into Sherlock Holmes when deciding on a gift. If you consider the tastes and character of a woman, then it will be doubly pleasant for both. By the way, on the Internet, you can find tips on how to shop for jewelry.

·        Be sincere 

When a man buys woman jewelry, he should choose a gift sincerely and from the soul. After all, the main thing is not even a gift, the main thing is attention and feelings. If you show a sincere desire to give this gift, then you and the woman to whom you make a surprise will be truly pleased.

Tip How to Impress Her with Your Gift 

You can and should give gifts to your woman both with and without a reason because you don’t need a reason to make your loved one happier. Moreover, with the help of jewelry guide, you can choose the best gift that will help you express your feelings in a special way.

·        Add sentiments

If you don’t know which jewelry to choose, or if you want to give your girlfriend a special surprise, then try to add more sentiment, they always save the situation.

·        Buy a set

To not make a mistake with the choice and buy jewelry that will subsequently fit her style and image, you should pay attention to things that your girlfriend is already wearing. Besides, it is best to buy her a set of jewelry.

·        Go shopping

Girls hint at what kind of gift they would like to receive very often. However, if she does not say anything like this and does not hint at all, you can use a trick. Go shopping with her. Watch which shops draw her attention and what she pays attention to. So, you will know what she likes.

·        Trust well-known and famous brands 

Well-known companies very rarely produce unsuccessful and not stylish collections, and just the fact of owning such a thing is already a cool gift. In the world, there are hundreds of jewelry houses, but only some of them have got cult status.

·        Consider her preferences

You should be interested in the assortment of jewelry not only to know the size range but also to be aware of her tastes and preferences. It is also useful for your confidence and wallet: buying what is guaranteed to be pleasant to her, you will really please your girlfriend and not waste your money.

Jewelry is a wonderful gift that will suit almost any occasion. The beautiful half of humanity will be especially pleased to get it as a gift. Having chosen such a present, you will show your serious intentions, care, and attentiveness.

Jewelry in Autumn Hues

{Alster Lake, Außenalster, Hamburg}

I’ve been doing A LOT of thinking about this blog lately.  {In part because of a <<FAB>> online blogging course I just finished.  More on that in a future post.}  I’ve realized that I’ve been squandering the opportunity to share one of the coolest things about my life…that I live abroad.  {Duh.}  So I’m going to be doing more posts that reveal Hamburg, my life here, and of course, the places in Europe I’m lucky enough to travel to.

For the past week, I’ve been walking around the city, running errands, and thinking “what am I going to blog about?!”  I feel like crap.  {I’ve been sick.}  What inspiration entertainment piece-of-work-that-won’t-make-people-groan-and-roll-their-eyes can I come up with this week?

I decided on the following:  AUTUMN-TONED JEWELRY + AUTUMN IN HAMBURG = BLOG POST.

{a fall color palette in Alsterpark, Hamburg}

Hope you enjoyed a mini-tour of my favorite park in the city.  And by the way, if you come to Hamburg, you have to experience the lake.  It’s like the beating heart of this town.

Photos: All jewelry is from my personal collection.  Photo 1: Late sunrise.  Photos 2: Amethyst and gold vermeil, pearl and silk necklace, bought in the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul.  Photos 3: purple silk/cotton fabric in gold vermeil frame with amethyst dangles, bought in the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul (left); glass, pearl and gold vermeil (right).   Photo 4: Early row on a clear morning.  Photos 5:  Deep pink quartz, pearl and gold vermeil earrings, bought in the Grand Bazaar, Istanbul.  Photos 9-10: Vintage ART brooch (left), bought at flea market in Minnesota; vintage green rhinestone necklace, bought in flea market in Minnesota (middle); antique Art Deco glass bracelet, bought at antique fair in Hamburg (right).

Future in the Stars

Question: What do you think this object is?

[Indefinitive] Answer:  Hat Stand.  Or random household decoration.  But it was in the “hat stand” section of the Berlin flea market where I bought it, so….

Ok, but why am I even asking you this question?  [In and of itself a good question!]  Here’s why:  the other night, my husband and I had some Italian friends over for dinner.  Just before they arrived, I was scrambling to decorate the dining room table.  So I grabbed some of my vintage mirrors [I have quite the motherlode!] and was looking for something else to add some ‘height’ to the table display.  I grabbed this [see: the object pictured above].  I didn’t think much of it until our friends began discussing something in Italian [the girlfriend of the pair doesn’t speak very much English] and pointing at it.  After a minute, her boyfriend said to me [in English; he’s fluent], “that’s the Star of David, right?”  And then they spoke a bit more and he said, “you’re decorating for Christmas?  Very nice!”

Religious emblem?  Hat stand?  Whatever.  I politely told our guests that it could, in fact, be a Star of David.  And yes, I’m already thinking about Christmas decorating.  [Right…because I haven’t started decorating for Halloween yet…]

But this whole scene made me start thinking about SHOOTING STARS.  And the fact that maybe I have a small obsession with them??   This all comes back to jewelry because it was, in fact, a shooting star necklace that perhaps launch my infatuation with jewelry.  One of the first pieces I bought when I started getting really serious about jewelry as a passion/business was a necklace that I found in Essaouira, Morocco in 2006.  It’s sterling silver with bits of rhinestone [which make the “stars” glimmer!], and lapis lazuli to add color to these beautiful ‘shooting stars’.

Well, I’m off to start my weekend…I hope there’s lots of jewelry in it ; )

-k.

Note: This necklace is NOT typical of Moroccan jewelry, which tends to be Tuareg-made or influenced.  More tribal looking.  But when I saw this, I loved it, grabbed it and didn’t ask questions!

PROFILES IN JEWELRY: PICTOFACTUM, A BERLIN ORIGINAL

{PHOTO COURTESY PICTOFACTUM}

If you follow the international press, you’ve heard that right now Berlin is the epicenter of artistic creativity in Germany – if not in all of Europe.  (I’ve heard tales of creative geniuses working alone for days in basement cellars of old East Berlin factories.  Maybe you have, too?!)  Full of curiosity about the creative scene in Berlin, I was anxious to dig deeper.  So when I met artist and jewelry designer Gitte Nicolaus of Pictofactum at last month’s Blickfang design shopping event in Hamburg, I asked her if she would do an interview for this blog.  (She said ‘YES’!!)

RUMMELSBURG, EAST BERLIN

It’s a dreary, cold afternoon in early October and my husband (and this story’s photographer!) and I are headed to the Pictofactum atelier.  It’s located in a new neighborhood, one built years after German reunification.  Rows of 4-story red brick apartment buildings line the main drag.  The taxi stops in front of one such building along the backside of the neighborhood.  Beyond it, there are trees, trails for walking and biking and finally, the Spree River.   We pay the cab driver and are quickly buzzed through first a gate and then the front door of the building that’s home to Pictofactum.   Following Gitte’s directions, we descend a dark staircase and I think ‘a-ha!  Just as I expected!’  As we reach the bottom of the stairs, Gitte welcomes us and leads us into the studio.

Upon entering the workspace, I’m pleasantly surprised to find a warmly lit studio with several artists at work and even the studio dog, Banjo (a Carling-Terrior mix – looks like a sweet pug to me!).   Note: the studio is only half a level below ground, so there are several windows to provide natural light.  No dungeon workspace here!  But there’s certainly something that I was hoping for: jewelry.  Lots of jewelry.  And the tools and materials for creating it.

‘LUCKY’ BREAK

Gitte Nicolaus is Pictofactum – she’s the founder, owner, designer, craftsperson, marketing and salesperson of the business.  Originally from Rostock, a medium-sized German city just off the Baltic Sea, Gitte moved to Berlin fifteen years ago to attend school for industrial design.  She loved the city (who wouldn’t?!), so after graduating, she went to work for a music company, where she stayed for six years. She enjoyed the industry, she tells me, “but I missed working with my hands.”

So after what she calls a “stroke of luck”, the music company she was working for folded, and she lost her job.  Many a person would have despaired.  Not Gitte.  “I thought, this is my chance!”  That chance was the opportunity to start her own business – one in which she could once again create with her hands.

A year later, Gitte is hard at work realizing her dream.  The challenge at the beginning was to figure out precisely what her business would be.   As a trained industrial designer, Gitte started experimenting with paper and other materials.   Eventually Gitte had her pièce de résistance, and what she thought would be her final product: geometric wall art.

“I love geometric shapes,” she says.  So Gitte began experimenting with grey ceramic powder to create her 3-dimensional figures. Next, she experimented with adding colored pigment to the ceramic mix to add further depth to the objects.  She then began gold leafing the forms.  One of my favorite things about Gitte’s pieces is the fact that they’re multi-colored.  Maintaining the natural grey of the ceramic and adding color only to some of each object’s facets emphasizes their geometric quality, and keeps them interesting!

One creative challenge mastered, Gitte then had the difficult task of choosing a name for her business.  As anyone who has started a business knows, this is no small undertaking.  Today, one must compete for a business name not only locally, but thanks to URLs, globally.  “First, I had a list of 50 words and I googled each one to see if someone else had it,” Gitte says.  In the end, she selected Pictofactum, which she calls a “fantasy name,” something that came about by combining various words. Picto is derived from Latin for painting; and factum from the German word manufactum meaning “good stuff that you have for life,” as Gitte puts it.  Gitte’s Google strategy has certainly been successful: when doing a Google search for Pictofactum, Gitte’s business is the only thing that comes up.  Quite a modern miracle!

TO MARKET, TO MARKET

As Gitte began selling her geometric creations, she quickly realized that the market for wall art was relatively small and difficult to capture.  So she did some brainstorming.  How could she re-interpret her art to be more, well, sellable?  Perhaps the inspiration came from sharing a studio with a jewelry designer, but Gitte decided that she would try making producing her three-dimensional shapes in sizes small enough to be rings, earrings and necklaces.

One year later, here I am interviewing Gitte about her small but growing jewelry business.   Pictofactum is for sale in several shops in Berlin and Hamburg, as well as on Copenhagen-based e-store Parcellet and worldwide on Etsy.  Gitte also shows her jewelry at carefully selected, high-quality design shows around Germany, such as the show where I met her.  Gitte is eager to expand further but says, “ I want to sell internationally, but right now I don’t have enough time to expend on this [part of the business].”

Despite the work involved, Gitte tells me “every day I get up and I’m happy because I work for myself.  It’s really so much fun, I don’t want to work in a ‘normal job’.”

{Note: Although she has expanded into jewelry, Gitte still sells her geometric art.}

ICH BIN BERLINER(IN)*

As a visitor to Berlin, I’m curious to get Gitte’s take on the German capital.  “I love the city.  It’s so full of life.  So many different people,” she tells me.  When I ask her if she has considered living anywhere else her response is swift.   “No.  Berlin is the capital and there’s always something going on.  But I’m still only 300 kilometers (186 miles) from [my childhood] home.”  She does, however, tell me that she enjoyed her time in Copenhagen during design school.  And later Gitte concedes, “I would like to live in New York [City]….for a year,” she says with a smile.

Then I ask a tough question: “if you had to pick one symbol that most represents Berlin – a person, logo, landmark, neighborhood, type of food, whatever – what would it be?”  Gitte thinks for a bit then says “Berliner Fernsehturm [the 1,200 sq. ft. tv tower located in the center of town].  Whenever you come into the city from the autobahn [freeway], the first thing you see is this!”

As we’re chatting a bit later, Gitte tells me that, like many Berliners, Gitte rides her bike to work every day.  “EVERY DAY?  Even in winter?” I ask.”  Gitte laughs and says, “yes, it’s very cold, but it’s a short ride.  [Just 10 minutes!]  Last winter I took the train only two days.”   With average highs below freezing and a much lower wind chill, that’s a testament to Gitte’s strength and determination!

*”I am a Berliner.”  Because she’s a female, Gitte is a Berlinerin.  A male resident of Berlin would be a Berliner.  {A little Deutsch lernen!}

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

GITTE’S BERLIN

Favorite neighborhood(s):  Friedrichshain (“where I live!”) and Kreuzberg.

Favorite Street: “Wühlischstrasse [in Friedrichschain].  It’s got lots of bars and is full of life!”

Favorite restaurant:  Schwarzer Hahn.

Favorite site(s):  (1) The Neues Museum.  ”It’s so beautiful – the architecture and the exhibitions.”  (2) The Berlin Zoo.  “The aquarium there is really great.  And to the East is a nice park with lots of trees.”

Favorite shop:  Prachtmädchen in Friedrichshain, which features up-and-coming local designers.

After a wonderful afternoon with Gitte at the Pictofactum studio, I’m giddy after being around such good energy.  And even am enjoying my Pictofactum earrings even more!  THANKS, GITTE!!!

And for those of you in Germany, you can visit Gitte (and check out the Pictofactum collection LIVE) at the Design Gift Markt in Hamburg, Sat & Sun, Nov 9-10!

Cheers,

Katherine

Blickfang: Design Shopping in Hamburg

We had seen (well-designed!) signs all over Hamburg for Blickfang, the International Design Shopping Show.  The show began years ago in Stuttgart, Germany, and has been traveling to different cities in Europe over the last couple of years.  We weren’t sure what to expect, but when I see the words shopping and design in the same sentence, my interest is piqued!

The show included products of all kinds: furniture, rugs, kitchen wares (high-tech cutting boards!), home décor items (vases…), clothing, handbags, jewelry and the new 2-door MINI Countryman in a shade of brilliant royal blue.

It was a design show, but every designer was there to SELL.  Most vendors were from Hamburg and around Germany, but there were vendors from as far as way as Uruguay.  The coolest part about these kinds of shows are that you have the opportunity to meet the designers.  I love hearing about what their works mean to them, what their inspirations are…

How did we do? Well, let’s put it this way, we had to make an emergency ATM run (5 blocks away!)!

My haul included:

* earrings from Pictofactum (read my interview with Pictofactum designer next week!)

* navy velvet coat from Lothar Daniel Bechtold (see above)

* a gift for my mom (so I can’t disclose what it is yet!) from Maria Lasarga

* delicate silver and gold earrings and ring from Charlotte Wooning

* carved wood words to be used as pendants on necklaces

* hand-blown glass bell jars at the Deictorhalledesign shop

Next time you get the itch to shop, see if there’s an independent designers’ event going on – you’ll be ahead of the crowd, supporting artists and getting a great value for you money!

Pro shopping tip: if you can, go on the opening day of the show for the best selection. (And the last day for the best deals!)

How to Spend a Weekend in Europe

It’s true that weekends here can be tricky – for the local and visitor alike.  At least in Continental Europe, pretty much everything is closed on Sunday and many small shops close early on Saturday.  (In our neighborhood in Hamburg, everything except the grocery store is closed by 2pm on Saturday –  including all THREE pharmacies!!).

Having lived in both France and now Germany, we’ve learned to adapt my schedule.  Trips to the grocery store (which I try to avoid altogether in favor of the market) and drugstore are carefully planned for Friday or early Saturday.

So, question:  what is one to do on a weekend in Europe??

Answer:  Shop for antiques and vintage goods!!

My husband and I both enjoy admiring (and sometimes purchasing) antiques and vintage pieces, so we have very full weekends here in Europe.  And, of course, as a lover and collector of all types of jewelry – from European couture vintage jewelry to contemporary fashion jewelry to ethnic and tribal jewelry – the antique markets and flea markets of Europe are ‘MUST DOs’.

Every weekend brings at least one flea/vintage/antique market in Hamburg.  Some are better than others, and we’ve learned which draw the best collectibles vendors.

There are several things that I look for at the markets:  

* VINTAGE JEWELRY – I am always on the lookout for unique pieces to add to my collection.  I look for interesting materials, shapes, colors and pieces with design features that are particularly innovative.  Last weekend I purchased the gold bracelet pictured below (for 2€) because I like its ‘series of spokes’ design, which give it a cage-y look.

There’s often plenty of fine jewelry for sale at the markets, but I’m more interested in costume jewelry – it’s generally bigger, more colorful – and more affordable!  It’s also difficult to distinguish whether the stones are real or fake or are what the vendor claims they are.  The same goes for designer jewelry.  There’s often Chanel jewelry on offer, but I would rarely buy any designer pieces unless I know the vendor.  Finally, although I love American designer vintage jewelry (Weiss, Trifari, Miriam Haskell, etc.), the prices for these brands is generally much higher in Europe, so I wait until I’m back in the U.S. to purchase them.  Unless I see an absolutely amazing piece that I have to have!

* JEWELRY COMPONENTS – I always look for crystals, bells, pendants and other weird/cool objects that could be incorporated into a necklace or bracelet.

* GILDED MIRRORS – I collect (rather, I am OBSESSED with) gilded mirrors.  I have quite a large collection of them at this point, but I will still make a purchase if a mirror is particularly beautiful or has a unique size or shape or if it’s a great price.

* VINTAGE TRAYS – I especially adore the ‘Florentine’ trays that were produced in Italy in the 1960s-70s.  But any tray that has a mirror (of course!) or other interesting handles or pattern on its face is a piece that I will consider purchasing.

Next time you’re in Europe, I would recommend hitting an antique market or vintage market on Sunday morning.  It’s loads of fun, full of interesting characters, coffee trucks (a must-have for us!) and tons of things to look at.  Don’t worry if you don’t speak the local language, many vendors speak English and even if they don’t, you can use your hands to communicate prices.  And don’t forget to negotiate prices – it’s part of the fun!

Happy Shopping!!!

-k.

Lübeck, antique jewelry town

THE CITY GATE OF LÜBECK (TAKEN AT AN ANGLE!) GREETS YOU AS YOU ENTER.

This past weekend my husband and I took a quick day trip to Lübeck, Germany, about 45 minutes by train from Hamburg.

Our first order of business: get to as many of the antique shops and auction houses (Auktionshaus in German) as we could before they begin closing at 2pm! (Small and independently-owned shops in Germany often close early on Saturdays).

Since we LOVE shopping for vintage and antiques in Europe, we headed first to the Lübeck location of our favorite auction house, Auktionshaus Die Eiche.  We looked through all 4 floors of goods and took notes and photos.  We didn’t buy anything that day, but there’s an oriental rug that I am still thinking about…

We next ventured toward Lübeck city center.  The following shopping stop was Auktionshaus Lübeck – antique jewelry specialists:

I managed to contain myself and only LOOK at the wonderful antique jewelry at Auktionshaus Lübeck.

After so much (window) shopping, we managed to do some ‘pausing’, as in taking a “Pause” around 4pm.  Cake and coffee for all!

All in all, it was a great trip – we were only in Lübeck for about 4 hours, but it felt like a much longer escape.  Always a good thing : )

More adventures next week!

-k.

Day 140: So long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye..

Yes, I’m saying bye-bye to The Daily Bauble.  Why the goodbye?  After a year of (almost) daily blogging about a different unique piece of jewelry in my collection, it’s time to move on to another exciting jewelry project.  I’ll still be blogging about jewelry here – but on a weekly basis, and in greater depth.

So stay tuned!

-k.

PS. This picture was, indeed, taken in Paris, outside the Louvre.  Gorgeous, non?!