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how to buy jewelry

whether you’re a seasoned collector or just dipping your toe into the world of fine jewelry, consider this guide your go-to for all things bright and beautiful.

jewelry should be fun and bring you joy

from karats (and carats) to sourcing something truly one-of-a-kind, we’re here to help you find that standout piece, curate the perfect stack, and feel confident in your investment. there are no hard and fast rules, so experiment, have fun, and find pieces that speak to your unique style and personality. read on for expert tips on what to look out for along the way.

material matters

first things first, what’s your metal?

the most popular choice for fine jewelry is gold. when shopping for gold, karat weight describes the purity of your gold. 24k is the purest (but also the softest). for daily wear, 14k or 18k are your best bets.

finishing & techniques

hammering, etching, and carving add character and make each piece unique. consider a matte finish for a contemporary style or look for pieces that can be personalized with engraving for an extra dose of sentiment.

let's talk rocks

go au-natural with earrings, rings, necklaces and pendants featuring nature’s stunning gemstones and pearls.


if diamonds don’t go with everything, we don’t know what does. a classic choice, diamonds (as well as other precious gemstones) are measured by their carat weight (not to be confused with karat) as well as their hardness on the mohs hardness scale. diamonds (the hardest natural material) are a 10 on the scale.

precious stones

rubies, emeralds and sapphires are some of the rarest gemstones. their hardness ranges from 7.5 to 9, and they command a higher price than their softer, more common semi-precious counterparts.

ps— sapphires, typically known for their blue hues, actually come in a stunning spectrum of colors. from delicate pink and fiery orange to sunshine yellow and deep purple, sapphires wear every color except red (that's a ruby's territory!)

semi-precious stones

semi-precious gems bring a unique charm and kaleidoscope of hues to your jewelry box, allowing for playful combinations and creative expression. with hardnesses ranging between 5 and 7, these stones are a collector’s favorite thanks to their lower price point and wide variety of colors. a few of our go-to semi-precious gems are tourmaline, aquamarine, amethyst and opal.


from classic white to exotic blue, black or pink, pearls add elegance and timeless beauty. think beyond your grandma’s classic strand, and opt for a modern pendant or bold, statement-making drop earrings. a rule of thumb– the older you are, the bigger your pearl should be.

more than meets the eye

explore stories

jewelry can be a conversation starter, a symbol of values, or a reminder of special moments. each piece tells a unique tale, infused with the personal journey and artistic style of the designer. stop by the store (or reach out via the chat icon) and we’ll share the exquisite stories behind the work of artisans we carry and help you pick out something special that resonates with your own journey.

shine bright & do good

recycled gold and ethically-sourced diamonds? yes, please! by supporting ethical practices, you can ensure your sparkle doesn't come at the cost of the planet or its people.

a cut above

the way a stone is cut can totally transform its appearance. learn about some of the more common cuts below, or browse our jewelry lineup to discover more cuts than you ever thought possible.

brilliant: traditional cut for maximum brilliance and fire.

rose: vintage-inspired, with a dome-shaped top and delicate facets.

freeform: forget rules! freeform cuts embrace the natural form and unique characteristics of each gemstone.

cabochon: smooth and polished, with a rounded top, a cabochon cut showcases a stone's natural beauty and color.

setting the stage

the setting style – be it prong, bezel, pave, or something more unique – sets the stage for your gems to shine.

bezel: like a snug hug for your gem, a bezel setting is secure and modern.

prong: tiny claws lift your stone, maximizing its brilliance. we love this setting to showcase large semi-precious solitaires.

pave: tiny stones create a dazzling, eye-catching surface.

flush: smooth and subtle, nestling the gem within the metal.

find your sparkle

we believe jewelry should be more than just adornment. it should be a meaningful reflection of your unique story, a modern heirloom that sparks joy and confidence for years to come. finding the perfect piece is an adventure, and we're here to guide you every step of the way. we're happy to share our tips on mixing and matching, help you discover the ideal statement piece, or even facilitate a bespoke commission to create something truly one-of-a-kind.

visit our charlottesville storefront or reach out online to connect with a jewelry expert and let us help you make your story sparkle.