Gift giving is not easy and the stakes feel higher when we’re considering gifting jewellery. jewellery carries high cultural significance and for most of us, also a high price point. These two aspects raise the stakes, amplifying the gifts' effect on its recipient.
In this post we’ll provide you with the framework to help you give the best gift ever received.
We draw from a combination of the psychology of gift giving and over 40 years of experience in capturing the essence of love in fine custom jewellery.
The Problem is The Solution
If gifting were easy, then great gifts wouldn’t be as rare or mean as much. It is exactly because it takes time, a knowledge of the other person, and a monetary commitment that makes a gift great.
The reason most gifts fall flat, is because people don’t take the time or make the effort to truly understand the other person.
The majority of gifts given today are more about the giver than they are the recipient.
But there is a clear path to gifting a heartfelt and memorable gift. The main reason we fall short in our gift giving is because we fail to put in the time, effort, and we don’t have a framework to guide us.
What Makes A Great Gift?
More about the look, it’s about the feelings evoked. This is important both for the initial receipt of the gift and how well it holds value - in emotional terms - over time.
Does the piece of jewellery evoke that special feeling of connection, love, and warmth that represents the bond you have with them? Will meaningful memories arise when the jewellery is adorned?
Your Guide To Selecting The Right jewellery
Here we’ll summarize the latest information on gift giving as it pertains to gifting jewellery. While the love remains a wonderful mystery, the psychology of gift giving actually has quite a bit of science behind it. All of which can help us become better gift givers, and ultimately share the love we want to spread with those we care so much about. (see below for sourcing if you’d like to dig deeper on the science of gift giving)
Here is the expert’s advice, followed by how you should take it into consideration when evaluating jewellery as a gift:
The 3 Most Important Pieces of Advice
Make gifts sentimental and personalized rather than expensive. Gifts with emotional meaning are appreciated more. If you only take away one piece of advice from this guide, this is it. There’s nothing wrong with nice things. We all like nice things. But we LOVE the things that we are emotionally attached to.
Focus on the recipient's interests and preferences, not your own desire to impress.
Yes, the “shock value” of a stunning piece of jewellery is an absolute joy for both the gifter and recipient. But, beautiful gems and metals alone don’t add meaning, which is the real value of the gift. Two tips to match beauty with meaning:
- Give something that matches their taste. If they don’t wear it, it’s not going to evoke the love you wish them to receive time after time. Every time she clasps the necklace it should be a reminder of how much she is loved and valued. Our Advice: How to (secretly) match her taste and style
- Marry the jewellery with meaning, so the sparkle and shine remind them of loving memories. Giving the piece of jewellery symbol adds tremendous value. Every time they see it, it will jog their memory which will bring up the emotions of love and happiness you’re seeking to give to them.
Give experiential gifts like trips and events rather than material items. Research shows experiences provide more joy. If you’re gifting jewellery, tie it in with experiences and memories. This can be done through the gift itself by making it reflect meaning in its design, and also through the delivery. In the delivery you can draw the connection and add meaning.
Give gifts on random "off" occasions rather than expected events. Unexpected gifts show care. Most of us shop for gifts around conventional gifting times like the holidays, a wedding, or a newborn. If you have the opportunity to gift outside of these conventional times, it shows you are thinking about them even when no one else is, which shows how much they mean to you.
Avoid paternalistic gifts meant to change someone. They often backfire. In the case of jewellery, it’s not a good idea to give jewellery in the hopes that it will make the other person like you more or that it will inspire love where it isn’t already present. Great relationships are built and maintained on an emotional level. While a physical gift is a great way to symbolize the relationship, it should not be used as a way to create or make up for a missing emotional bond.
Don't compete with other gift givers. Focus on pleasing the recipient, not out-gifting others. It’s generally not helpful to think about your gift in the context of others. The value of the gift comes from the meaning behind it and the emotions it will stir in the recipient. Comparing your gift to someone else's, bears no value in this context.
Ask the recipient directly what they want rather than guessing. Have an open conversation. In some situations this might be the best way to go. This depends on your relationship with the person you are gifting to and the occasion. Example: you want to gift to someone you love but aren’t close with; an aunt gifting to a niece. Gifting someone their first piece of real jewellery is very generous, but gifting across generations is challenging. It may be best to present the gift as an experience “let’s pick out a beautiful piece you’ll love”. This is one of many reasons to use our design studio to create your perfect piece of jewellery and see it before it is handmade.
Given this curated advice from the experts, here are a few tangible actions to take to help you gift an unforgettable piece of jewellery to someone you love.Get Clear On The Message Behind The jewellery
The clearer you are on the message you want to send by gifting jewellery, the easier your selection process will be, and the more success you’ll have in gifting. What do you want the recipient to feel when they see it the first time? And what emotions do you want it to evoke when they wear it 3-4 years from now?
Define Your Price Point
A higher price point is good for the gift giver because it requires more thought and consideration. This forces us to really think about whether the gift is a good fit, instead of just impulse-buying.Think Ahead
Most thoughtful pieces of jewellery not only take time to find, but also to be made. If you’re considering personalized jewellery, you’ll want to give yourself an extra few weeks for it to be made or modified to fit the recipient.
In addition, this is not the type of decision you want to make in haste. Plan ahead by knowing what date you want to deliver the gift and getting your ducks in a row well in advance.Perfect The Delivery
You may think the hard work is done after you’ve ordered the perfect piece of jewellery… but the final details around how you deliver the gift is equally important.
The surprise factor - The “shock” of an unexpected gift helps cement a lasting memory. Physiologically, the element of surprise releases norepinephrine in the brain, a hormone that among other things, contributes to forming memories.
Surprise can be achieved in many ways and you don’t have to sacrifice matching the gift the person really wants to do it. The key elements are timing, presentation, and value (exceeding expectations).
More on suprises: The Right Way To Use The Element of Surprise
This is one reason why giving in “off” seasons is recommended by the experts.
Messaging - Pairing the beautiful piece of jewellery with a sincere message is just as important. Your message and how you deliver it will depend on your own style. But we do have some helpful do’s and don’ts as well as some ideas that may help you find the best approach.
More on this: What to write when gifting jewellery
In a wonderful walk through the psychology of gift giving, host Shankar speaks with Jeff Galak who studies the psychology of gift giving at Carnegie Mellon University. The well-researched podcast also cites 13 peer reviewed research papers on the matter.