Most women would agree that you can't go wrong by giving jewelry. But, if you really want to score points there are a few things you should consider when deciding which piece of jewelry is perfect for your lady. Let's talk about comfort, durability, style, trends, and matching sets.

1) Comfort

You may think there is a rule that says women are willing to sacrifice comfort in the name of fashion. What she doesn't tell you is this: That only applies to things that she buys for herself ! Jewelry that is uncomfortable can be downright painful. She will wear it once or twice to make you happy, and then it will be relegated to the back of the jewelry drawer.

Things to consider:

Are the earrings too heavy? You are not buying a hammer. Heft does not connote quality. This is especially true if the earrings hang down and swing a lot. Women tire of this quickly, and they will let you know about it. Note: There are large earrings that are lightweight, so a larger earring is not necessarily out of the question.

Are the stones set too high in the ring? It may grab your attention at first glance, but a setting that is too high can cause all sorts of trouble. It is more likely to get banged against doors and cabinets, and it will snag on sweaters and pockets. Also, a ring that is set too high is more likely to flop from side to side on a lady's finger, which can be annoying.

Does the band have sharp edges? Most quality rings will not have this problem, but sometimes a company will try to save money by making a band extra flat or by hollowing out the inside. Be sure that a ring has comfortable edges that will not dig into her fingers.

Is the band too wide? Unless she has very long fingers, we don't suggest you go over 8mm wide when buying a band. Our experience tells us that this is about the limit. Once you move up to 10mm (about 1/3") most women will feel some discomfort when opening and closing their finger.

Does the clasp require two people to operate? The idea of helping your lady put on her new necklace is romantic...the first time. Over the long haul, you want to make sure that the clasp is not some exotic feat of engineering that requires two people to operate. Just because it is difficult to open and close does not mean it is more secure.

Is the necklace the correct length? You need to take note of how she likes to wear her necklaces. Every woman has her preferences, but here are some general guidelines: Younger women tend to wear their necklaces shorter (16-18 inches). Our experience tells us that older women do not want to accentuate their neck quite as much, so they wear their necklaces a bit longer (20-24 inches). There are no hard and fast rules here (sorry about that), but you should take this into consideration.

Is the jewelry proportional to her size? If you buy a petite woman a giant rock of a ring, odds are she is going to look like a little girl who snuck into her mother's jewelry collection. On the other hand, if there is a lot of your woman to love, don't be afraid to buy her something substantial in size. She will love it and it will look great on her.

2) Durability

One of the great things about jewelry is that it can last for generations. Indeed, if treated well, most jewelry will be around for a very long time. But, you have to buy quality jewelry if you expect it to be durable.

Things to Consider

Is the necklace too lightweight? You don't need anything too thick, but a chain should have a certain amount of heft to it or it will snap. Because of high metal costs, many chain stores are making products lighter. If they can shave off 1 gram from a necklace, when multiplied by the thousands of necklaces, they can save substantial amounts of money. The problem is, what they are trying to pass off as "dainty" is really "dinky". The advantage of dealing with smaller jewelers, like Ferbers, is that we don't cut corners like this to save a buck.

Are the prongs sturdy? Sometimes in an effort to make a design look "clean" a jeweler will set a stone with small or insufficient prongs. If we are talking about earrings, four prongs is enough because earrings don't take much of a beating. But, if you have a large diamond ring, you should consider a setting with six prongs. With six prongs, if one breaks, the stone is still held firmly in place, which is not always the case with a four prong setting. It is also worth mentioning that you should have your prongs checked by a jeweler every six months. As with most things, a little maintenance can prevent major headaches down the road.

Is the gemstone durable? Ever heard of the Mohs Scale? (It has nothing to do with The Three Stooges) The Mohs Scale basically tell us how hard a certain gemstone is. Some gemstones are very pretty, but not so durable. If a piece of jewelry is going to be worn often, you should probably avoid emeralds and opals. These stones are very soft and prone to scratching. Sapphires and rubies, the hardest gemstones next to diamonds, hold up very well to everyday wear.

Are your pearls strung correctly? A lot of time-consuming work goes into making a simple pearl necklace. The knots in between the pearls must be tight and snug up against the pearls. Most importantly, be sure that the strand of pearls you are purchasing has been strung on silk. Silk is an amazing material that has just the right amount of elasticity to prevent the cord from snapping if it gets tugged by that beautiful newborn baby that likes to play with all things pretty.

Will the necklace kink? I'll let you insert your own "kinky" joke here. When it comes to necklaces, kinks are always a bad thing. Once a necklace gets a kink, it is almost impossible to repair it completely. Some types of necklaces are more prone to kinking than others. Unless a necklace is only going to be worn for special occasions (and treated with care), you should avoid all of the flat varieties like the herringbone chains. The most durable necklaces are those that have many smaller individual links that allow for freedom of movement. A simple box chain is an example of a durable chain.

Are the earring backs large enough? Again, large chain stores will try to save money by providing you with tiny little earring backs. The problem is these backs (also known as catches) rely on friction to work. Think of them as brakes on your car. The more surface area, the more effective. Ok, gentlemen. We have covered the relatively straightforward topics of comfort and durability. It is time to delve into the murky waters of taste and style. Let's see if your man mind can avoid the landmines. We'll try to keep it simple.

3) Her Personal Style

Don't overthink this, but you know your girl, and her jewelry needs to match her personality. Is she a business professional who often wears suits? It's probably best to avoid that bohemian earring made from peacock feathers. Does she have a granola streak? You might think twice before giving her a cocktail ring. It won't go with her Birkenstocks. Is she into goth? Avoid pink flower pins. You get the idea. The point is that jewelry does not exist in a vacuum. Once it's taken out of the box and put onto her body, there will be some sort of reaction, for good or bad. There are many types of pretty, and you have to make an effort to know her type. Otherwise you run the risk of the dreaded "Do you even know me?" conversation.

4) Don't be Trendy

It's not that you won't be able to pick something trendy that she likes. You may get lucky, blind squirrel that you are. The problem with a trend is that it negates one of the things we love most about jewelry, which is that quality jewelry can last a lifetime and beyond. Take for example that lovely "gold nugget" jewelry that everyone had back in the 80's. Today it's worth whatever the gold refinery will give you for it. Trends are great for costume jewelry, but for fine jewelry you have two options: 1) Buy something traditional that will stand the test of time. This would include things like classic pearl necklaces, diamond stud earrings, gemstone rings with diamond accents, diamond bands, and simple pendants. There is tremendous safety in these choices, and every jewelry collection should have a few of these classics. 2) Buy a custom-made piece of jewelry that no one else will have. This option is our favorite. With today's technology, a one-of-a-kind custom piece can be designed and made for very little more than over the counter jewelry. A quality jeweler with many years of experience can make custom jewelry that has the right balance of originality and class. And because she is the only one of her friends that owns that piece, there will be more meaning in it. In the end, jewelry is about expressing an idea, and custom jewelry does it best.

5) Buy the Set

Some pieces of jewelry can stand alone, but most women love to have the complete set. You don't necessarily have to buy a matching ring and bracelet, but if possible get the necklace and earrings together. And don't think you can wait until next year to complete the set. It probably won't be available. You don't have to give her the complete set at one time. It's always nice to have a gift "in your back pocket" if the need arises. We have one customer who always has a piece of jewelry in his glove compartment, just in case he is wrongly accused of loving football more than his wife. Remember, if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!