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Holiday Jewelry Buying Basics:

Jewelry can be a great holiday gift to receive, but for many, buying jewelry to give is intimidat?ing. Here’s what you need to know so you can buy just the right gift for that special someone.

Determine your budget.

While some save for months to make a jewelry purchase, buying a bauble for that special someone doesn’t have to be expensive.

Your budget will determine if you can purchase an entire jewelry “look,” including a necklace, bracelet and earrings, or just one piece that can be built upon later. For those on a modest budget, consider buying a great pair of earrings now and the accompanying necklace or ring for a future gift-giving occasion.

Bonnie Kelly and Teresa Walsh, co-founders of Silpada Designs, a direct sales company specializing in handcrafted sterling silver jewelry, say it’s possible to find something to fit every budget.

“You can buy without breaking the bank by investing in a few quality pieces of jewelry that she can wear in a variety of ways,” says Kelly. “The easiest way to get that ‘wow factor’ is with a classic statement piece of jewelry that she can wear with a little black dress or a fitted T-shirt and jeans.”

Get to know her personal style.

Take cues from her personality and wardrobe to select jewelry that is sure to please. Use the style categories below that take her indivi??duality into account.

Sporty: Casual and comfort?able are the hallmarks of sporty style. Simple jewelry, such as small earrings on posts or short chain necklaces make perfect gifts for the sporty woman in your life.

Trendy: A person with a trendy personality has the latest looks and likes to stand out in the crowd. Striking accessories, such as bold statement neck?laces and layered bangle bracelets, will please her.

Classic: Elegant, traditional and timeless are the fiber of a classic look. Trends may come and go, but elements like pearls and sterling silver will always be in style, making them an exquisite gift for someone with a classic look.

Romantic: A soft, feminine and glamorous wardrobe could mean she has a romantic style. Therefore, she may love sparkly jewelry such as a cubic zirconia necklace or feminine dangling earrings.

Pay attention to the favorite pieces she wears over and over — they’ll be a big clue as to the kind of jewelry she loves already.

Still stumped?

Ask her friends and family if she’s got her eye on a particular piece of jewelry. They may even be able to tell you her favorite brands she’s been eyeing.

Kelly also recommends having her create a wish list. “Show her pictures or a jewelry catalog and ask her to identify her favorites,” she says. “Keep the list — then when a jewelry-buying occasion comes up, you’ll know exactly what will make her happy.”

If you’re still stumped, pick a great pair of earrings or necklace that she can mix and match with a variety of outfits. Sterling silver jewelry is always a good choice because of its timeless nature.

“Sterling silver jewelry is classic and timeless and will always be in style,” says Walsh. “It has a crisp, classic look that brings out the best in any outfit.”

Do your homework.

You want your jewelry gift to last. Be sure to shop around to find a jewelry company that stands behind their product.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a Jewelry Shopper’s Checklist to help you make good purchasing decisions.

—Ask about the refund and return policy before you buy.

—Check for the appropriate markings on metal jewelry. For example, .925 on a sterling silver piece of jewelry means it’s the highest-quality silver you can purchase.

—Shop with companies you know or do some home?work before buying to make sure a company is legitimate before doing business with it.

—Get the details about the product, as well as the merchant’s refund and return policies, before you buy.

—Look for an address to write to or a phone number to call if you have a question, a problem or need help.

Now that you have the basics, you can shop with confidence and pick out something that you know she’ll love.

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