My favorite jewelry hands down is by designer Ted Muehling. Though hardly a well-kept secret, Muehling’s tiny treasure trove of a store is tucked away in NYC’s Tribeca neighborhood (newly located at 52 White Street – blink and you’ll miss it). Known for carrying much more than just jewelry – his candlesticks are beyond – Muehling has cultivated a simple yet elegant jewelry collection. His earrings vary in price, but start around $200 (going way up from there), and are perfect for every day wear or special occasions.
For the optimistic female, this smiley face necklace by St. Kilda is sure to make her, well…smile. Available online or at the mecca of all female I’ll-take-one-of-everything spaces in NYC, ABC Carpet & Home, this delicate pendant retails for $198, and these celestial star stud earrings will cost you a pretty penny more at $264 (but they’re so cuuuuuute). I know, I know, to New Yorkers somehow that sounds reasonable.
If silver’s not her thing, designer Daphne Olive’s nature-inspired pieces are just adorable. This mini pine cone necklace and also this spiky onion pendant are playful and quirky. Contact the designer for pricing, but boutiques like Table Top in Washington D.C.’s swanky Dupont Circle neighborhood carry a large collection of her pieces.
For some slightly more mainstream finds, designer Lulu Frost has been contributing some amazing vintage-inspired pieces to J.Crew stores around the country lately. These earrings retail for a more modest $65, or you can opt for one of Frost’s bangles, like this lovely $45 art deco bracelet. Reminiscent of something she’d rescue from her grandmother’s jewelry box, Lulu (and J. Crew) almost never miss.
For the girl who loves a good chunky cocktail ring, designer Alexis Bittar (despite the name, Alexis is a dude) sure has a knack for giving good hand. This crystal-encrusted sparkler is a fun addition for a night on the town ($225), or else Bittar’s lucite pieces are a favorite of mine, like the ring featured here (available in many colors). He occupies some space in Soho/the West Village/the Upper East Side, but his jewelry is also available at several retailers as well as online.
For the girl who is decidedly less girly, another one of my all-time favorites is anything by Giles & Brother (above bracelet $125) . Their edgy collections are the companion offshoot to the equally badass (yet WAY less affordable) Philip Crangi line. I would pretty much commit murder for several of Crangi’s pieces, but Giles seems to capture the same industrial aesthetic without breaking the bank. By using things like rail road spikes, fish hooks and tiny nails as inspiration, G&B is a solid choice for the girl who isn’t afraid to wear it. *Note, considering my site design, Miss Wingman should probably find these under the tree this year.
And finally, a fun twist on a traditional retailer is brought to you by the collaboration between Frank Gehry (yes, that Frank Gehry) and timeless jeweler Tiffany & Co. Though many of this architectural giant’s pieces are uber-pricey (even more than the above $525 option), I’ve long been a fan of rose gold, so perhaps your lady is, too. Just be careful, when pulling out one of Tiffany’s signature light blue boxes (in ring size, no less) her heart may start racing. You might want to clarify your intentions, first.
All of these choices pretty much say the same thing, “I get it, you like jewelry.” But also, “I carefully considered your taste when choosing this,” (an obvious lie, since this site tipped you off; it’s our little secret, promise).
The dating timeline appropriateness for these is obviously for anyone who has been together long enough to give the gift of jewelry, which is a pretty clear sign that you’re into her. Take into consideration that most of these aren’t cheap, and that also plays into how serious your feelings (and retail intentions) are – or what your budget is, which is an understandable limitation.
Whatever you choose, just remember that jewelry is personal and subjective, so don’t be offended if your choices miss the mark. I’ve always believed that if a man is going to spend the money, you might as well make sure she’s going to like/wear it, even if that requires allowing her to exchange it for something that’s more her style.
That said, I don’t know that I’ve ever actually swapped out anything a boyfriend has bought me, since I didn’t want to diminish the effort he put into carefully choosing the gift, but I can certainly understand the inclination.
Pay attention to what she wears every day, what hints she drops about pieces she’d like (girls do that), but most importantly, just go with your gut. And make sure it’s the girl who shines more than anything.
Have any great gift ideas for Miss Wingman? Share the wealth. Email me at email@example.com and maybe your idea will be featured in an upcoming 12 Days of Fail-Safe Girl Gifts alongside other standout lists and suggestions. Either way, keep it right here for much more gift giving wisdom.