Holiday Shopping

By Sharon Naylor

August 5, 2013 5 min read

If you plan on giving jewelry as a winter holiday present to your loved one, remember that as precious as a precious stone may be, what's more precious is the sentiment of the gift. While every present is given from the heart and with love, you can take the idea of "sentiment" to a new level by giving a piece of jewelry that has a special meaning to the recipient.

When most people think of jewelry with sentiment, they think charm bracelets. One of the most well-known brands is Pandora, with its 600-plus different charms, many of which are best-sellers for commemorating a milestone moment in a person's life. A charm might symbolize the birth of a first child, a marriage, a new home, even dreams coming true -- for example, finally getting your new garden designed and planted. (Pandora's "My Garden" charm is among its best-sellers.) Pink ribbon charms celebrate your breast cancer survivor's getting the "all clear" this year, and a songbird charm might commemorate your child's first solo at a choir recital.

Pandora charms come in gold, silver, glass, enamel and pave, at many different price points. Many gifters shop from their loved ones' wishlists to help fill in their existing charm bracelet -- or they might start their loved one on a collection with their very first meaningful charm.

Another option for a winter holiday jewelry gift with meaning is Dune Jewelry necklaces, rings, earrings and charm beads made using sand from the recipient's favorite beach, ballpark or golf course. Dune Jewelry keeps a "SandBank" of sands from more than 1,400 locations all over the world. If your loved one's favorite beach or golf course isn't on the list, you can send in your own collection for the company's artists to use in custom-making your jewelry gift -- and you get a discount for sending in the sand.

"Almost everyone I know has a strong emotional attachment to a specific beach or place. Think honeymoons, first kisses, family beach homes, the sprinkling of ashes; the list goes on and on. Dune Jewelry allows you to have a tangible reminder of those precious moments," says Holly Daniels Christensen, owner and creator of Dune Jewelry.

Giving jewelry made with sand from a memorable beach or location in your loved one's life will be extra-special if you haven't been able to get back to your exotic honeymoon spot yet. It's a little bit of the beach coming to your loved one, bringing with it all the wonderful memories of your time there.

And if your loved one's big gift this year is a trip to a long-awaited vacation destination, giving a charm or pendant made with sand from that locale is the perfect way to announce, "Guess where we're going this year!"

Sand-inclusive jewelry made from a revered ballpark is the superfan's dream come true. For instance, one of the ballparks in the Dune Jewelry SandBank is Fenway Park, for Boston Red Sox fans who would delight in the gift of a key chain, cuff links, tie bar or bead for a collectible charm bracelet. And for golf fans on your gift list, cuff links made with sand from a legendary golf course is a big step up from your usual golf-themed gifts.

And of course another kind of jewelry gift with meaning is one that has been handed down through the family -- an heirloom with a beautiful history, such as a grandmother's ruby pendant necklace, originally a gift from the grandfather. While many people keep these heirloom sparklers in a lockbox for safekeeping, many prefer to see that precious family piece worn and enjoyed by their children while they're still here to appreciate it.

If you plan to give an heirloom jewelry item, first bring it to a reputable jeweler to be cleaned and have its prongs secured, and also to have it appraised for insurance purposes. Then wrap it in a special container, such as an ornate jewelry box -- maybe also an heirloom from a grandmother or great-grandmother -- to make your presentation extra-special.

When giving a meaningful jewelry gift to your loved one this year, remember that it's not just the gift that warms the heart. It's also what you say when you give it. Explain why the gift has so much meaning in your family, or why you know this gift has so much meaning to the recipient. It is very much the thought that counts, and whoever gets this beautiful jewelry piece from you will adore not just the gift itself but everything you put into picking it out or having it made. That's the story behind the jewelry, and that's what makes a jewelry gift stand out this holiday season.

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