Shopping for jewelry is a fantastical proposition, but it can be overwhelming in a market filled with precious metals and gemstones galore. Even seemingly simple purchases like stackable rings or layered necklaces become daunting if you don’t know your stuff—especially if you’re planning to drop more than a couple hundred dollars on an investment item. And since we’d never advise you to shop willy-nilly for such meaningful accessories, we tapped jewelry designer Aurélie Bidermann to help guide the process, whether you’re in search of delicate pieces for every day or craving a bigger statement. Here, seven rules to live by when shopping for your next piece of jewelry.
Shop Like A Jewelry Designer
Flower Gold-Plated Drop Earrings
Buying Precious Metals
"The majority of precious metals bear three compulsory marks: the sponsor's mark, the millesimal fineness mark and the town mark. Make sure each one is present before buying. And always buy from reputed jewelers—whether you've done your research on the jewelry or it's been recommended by a friend, buying from a trusted source is essential."
Shopping For Diamonds & Gemstones
"Choosing a stone—particularly a diamond—means identifying four criteria: clarity, color, carat and cut. Ask to see official grading supports such as GIA or HRD, and select the best and most reliable retailer only, as trust in the vendor is more important than the best deal."
18-Karat Gold, Sapphire And Diamond Bell Earrings
Diamond, Tourmaline & Yellow-Gold Ring
Dentelle 18K Yellow Gold Diamond Cuff Bracelet
Understanding Jewelry Trends
"Jewelry trends don't fade as quickly as fashion trends do, and when they fade, you can almost be sure they'll make a comeback. If it's clear that the piece you're coveting is too trendy, buy the gold-plated version instead of the solid gold."
Chain Choker Necklace
Lyle Hand Bracelet
Crystal Climber Earring
Investing In Everyday Essentials
"You can never go wrong investing in something that's special to you, because you'll wear it forever. I wear eight thin gold bangles on each wrist and never take them off. A charm bracelet is a unique addition to any jewelry box since it can be added to over time and becomes a wearable good-luck charm. Another great investment is a pair of everyday earrings. Diamond earrings never go out of style or lose their value. The same can be said about a collection of gold rings. I like to mix and match stones and metals and stack them and wear them all together."
White Diamond Stud Earrings
Jewelry Shopping Online Vs. In Store
"Do your research! Sometimes it can be hard to determine the scale of a piece online, so look for a flexible exchange and return policy. It's important to purchase from a reputable site, such as the designer's own site or a well-known online retailer."
Tip For Layering Jewelry
"More is more for me—maybe it's because I design jewelry for a living, but I don't think you can ever wear too much. I like to mix my fine pieces with my costume pieces—it’s something my mother taught me and I see a lot of Parisian women doing."
Takayama Wrap Bracelet
Best Summer Jewelry Trend
"I like the bohemian style everyone adopts during the summer months—bright, colorful threaded bracelets and necklaces, lots of bangles, mismatched earrings. I have pieces in both my fine and costume collections that adhere to these trends and can't wait to see how people dress them up and down."