Northwest Woman

Valentine’s Day: Nothing Says ‘I Love You’ Like Jewelry

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It’s the time of year to say ‘I love you’ to that special someone in your life. Candy and flowers are popular gifts, but jewelry can go a long way toward making a lasting impression. Experts say the key is finding the most suitable piece for your particular loved one. Select gemstone jewelry that’s comfortable and fits her style and personality. Will she wear it to work, or is it intended for a night on the town? Budget, versatility and durability should be considered.

Also, keep in mind that quality determines the value of a stone. Like diamonds, gemstones are judged by the four Cs: color, clarity, cut and carat weight. The better the color, the higher the price. Better clarity and cut cost more, and generally, the larger the stone, the more it will cost per carat. Regardless, experts advise customers to shop from the heart.

“Jewelry is lasting because it creates memories,” says Linda Brantley, owner of Trein’s Jewelry in Dixon, Ill. “When you give a piece of jewelry, it doesn’t have to be significant in terms of value. It’s special because it says ‘I care about you,’ and she will remember it forever.”

Diamond Earrings, Mincemoyer Jewelry

What woman doesn’t love a pair of diamond stud earrings? Christy West and Heather Foster, third-generation managers at family-owned Mincemoyer Jewelry, 6585 Lexus Dr., Rockford, say their store is visited mostly by women.

“They make a woman feel beautiful,” says West. “Diamond earrings are something you can wear casually or when you dress up. We see so many trends for earrings. Some will buy small earrings and upgrade to larger ones. They’re a timeless classic.”

When looking for the perfect pair for your loved one, West advises examining a diamond stud earring as you would a ring or loose stone of substantial carat weight. Look closely at both stones in the pair, for color, clarity and cut, and on how closely they match.

“Diamonds are the strongest universal symbol of love in the world,” says West. “They’re memory makers and a sign of commitment. Diamonds deal with feelings and emotions. They’re generational, forever and timeless.”

Price can vary. “Quality is so important and affects budget,” West says. “Our diamonds are hand-selected to find the finest cuts, clarity and colors and to find the best quality at the best prices. We offer the confidence and education you should have when purchasing diamonds, which will help you to create your special moment in time.”

Frederic Duclos Silver, Trein’s Jewelry

Trein’s Jewelry, 201 W. First St., Dixon, is an exclusive dealer of the Frederic Duclos line. Duclos is a French designer of contemporary sterling and 14 karat combinations of jewelry and gifts.

“It’s popular because the price of gold is so expensive,” says Linda Brantley, owner. “It’s a higher-end line of silver with pieces that range in price from $65 to $500. It’s the perfect price point for Valentine’s Day.”

Brantley met Duclos at a jewelry show six years ago and immediately liked him. “Duclos is a romantic type of person and you can see it reflected in his line,” she says. “It works perfectly for Valentine’s Day.”

Duclos’ jewelry combines sterling silver with organic combinations including pearl, amber, onyx, coral, and Venetian glass. “His design is varied,” she says. “It can be something small and petite or big and bold. It’s very appealing to a cross section of people. It’s all a matter of personal preference.”

Necklaces, bracelets and earrings are bestsellers. “Frederick’s work is unique from other lines of silver jewelry,” Brantley says.

Steelx Stainless Steel Jewelry, J Kamin Jewelers

Some women experience rashes, skin irritation and itching when they wear certain types of common jewelry. Hypoallergenic jewelry can be a great comfort to them. It’s specially made to be pure and nickel-free.

J Kamin Jewelers, 250 N. Mulford Road, Rockford, carries the Steelx line of stainless steel jewelry, including silver and black hypoallergenic necklaces and matching bracelets and earrings. “We’ve carried this line for several years,” says Jay Kamin, owner. “Anything black is in vogue, especially for women. This set features a rich, high-fashion look. And you can wear stainless steel for years and it won’t wear through. It’s very user-friendly.”

Hypoallergenic jewelry is affordable, although it’s priced slightly higher than non-hypoallergenic. Stainless steel jewelry pieces can be purchased individually or as a set. Earrings sell for about $40, bracelets for $60 and necklaces for $75.

“For a man with a budget of less than $100, any one of these pieces is an ideal purchase,” says Kamin.

Maintenance for these pieces is low, because the jewelry is created out of pure metals. Stone designs are embedded in hypoallergenic metals and will not irritate skin. This line suits all age groups. “We have customers who only buy this type of jewelry,” Kamin says. “It’s an easy piece of jewelry to own. Unlike sterling silver, it doesn’t tarnish. There are many wonderful benefits.”

Le Vian Chocolate Diamonds, Frank Jewelers

When you think of Valentine’s Day, what better combination than chocolate and diamonds? So when picking out the perfect gift for your sweetheart, consider Le Vian, the world’s most renowned diamond chocolatier.

Chocolate diamonds come in natural, fancy brown tones, available in shades from champagne to rich, deep cocoa, and are offered in exclusive designs at Frank Jewelers, 19 E. Stephenson St., Freeport.

“Le Vian chocolate diamonds are a luscious upscale presentation, the perfect gift from a man who wants to wow his significant other,” says Gary Fontana, co-owner, with wife Debra, of Frank Jewelers. “The chocolate designs from Le Vian speak for themselves. Just imagine the rich dark chocolate color of natural diamonds set into a fashion-forward mounting of 14-karat strawberry gold. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? The Le Vian chocolate diamond is the most affordable of all natural colored diamonds, starting at $495.”

Looking for a beautiful Valentine’s gift from $20 and up? Frank Jewelers also carries Pandora jewelry. The Pandora collection offers thousands of unique combinations of charms, bracelets and matching jewelry pieces, allowing the buyer to customize perfectly for irreplaceable moments in the lives of loved ones.

Birthstones, Dubes Jewelers

Looking for another Valentine’s Day gift idea? Surprise your loved one with her birthstone.

“Birthstone jewelry is specific to the month of birth, making it the perfect Valentine’s Day gift,” says Leon Maerz, a gemologist at Dubes Jewelers, 1112 S. Galena Ave., Janesville, Wis. “A simple birthstone is a gift that’s guaranteed to be enjoyed every day.”

The month in which your wife or girlfriend was born is represented by a specific gemstone. For example, the garnet, a rich, burgundy red, is the traditional birthstone for those born in January. Brilliant purple amethyst is the birthstone for February.

The traditional June birthstone is pearl, which possesses beauty and elegance. An alternate birthstone for June is alexandrite, which is yellowish or brownish green, but changes to a red hue when exposed to a glowing light like candlelight.

Ruby, a strong red color, continues to be an eye-catching choice, and is July’s birthstone. Maerz suggests looking for transparency and sparkle with depth of color. The birthstones for April, May and July tend to be most expensive.

“Everyone has their favorite colors,” says Maerz. “The possibilities are endless.”

Diamond Heart Pendant, Venier Jewelers

Rather than target one specific piece of jewelry, Bob Venier encourages customers to browse the store to come up with something that feels right.

“Often times, customers have specific ideas in mind when they come in,” says Venier, an associate at Venier Jewelers, 117 W. First St., Dixon. “But other times, they let us walk them through the entire inventory, and eventually they come up with something they like. It could be anything, from bracelets, necklaces, rings or a beautiful gift item.”

One sure-fire gift for Valentine’s Day is the heart pendant. Available in a variety of designs, heart pendants come in endless different designs, whether made of 14K gold with a diamond incorporated, or sterling silver encrusted with a brightly colored gemstone. The classic heart locket is also a perfect choice for your valentine. Charming “Key to My Heart” pendants are available in white and yellow gold and sterling silver designs.

“The design represents that your loved one holds the key to your heart,” Venier says. “They’ve been quite popular for a few years now.”

In the end, no matter the gift, it’s all about pleasing that special someone.

“It’s a day set aside for love,” Venier says. “Nothing says that more than a distinctive gift from the heart. The sky’s the limit.”

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