Treat Yourself

How to shop (and care) for fine jewellery

WHERE — London
PHOTOGRAPHY — Sam Flaherty

Consider this your definitive guide to the world of oh-so-fine jewellery. My tips on trends, insurance, and – of course – diamonds.

Like most one us, my interest with adoring myself with jewels starting at a young age; although back then said jewels were of the plastic variety. My jewellery box has housed everything from statement necklaces to whisper-thin rings and everything in between, and over the years I’ve definitely noticed that I reach for the same select pieces day in, day out, regardless of the occasion.

I’m a big believer in quality over quantity, and I’d rather have a few incredible pieces I know will last a lifetime, rather than a massive collection of (inevitably) tangled necklaces, rings and earrings.

Jewellery is the ideal way to treat yourself. Finding a perfect piece can often mean you’ll wear it for years to come, so it’s worth making an informed decision. Below are my experiences (it was getting engaged that pushed me head first into the daunting world of fine jewellery) and tips for buying and looking after your investment.

Mulberry blazer, Re-Done t-shirt, Bucherer small rose gold & morganit ring, large rose gold & morganit ring, small rose gold & aquamarine ring, Levi’s jeans and Paul Andrew heels

Do your research

There’s a lot of jewellery out there, and it’s important to find a style that suits you. Are you a minimal, everyday-wearing ring-stacker? Or do you frequent fancy events and want a more formal neck piece? What sort of metal do you want? And finish? Having been through it myself, I can tell you from experience that navigating the world of diamond quality is incredibly specific and scientific – so pays to be well-informed about what you’re actually looking at.

Quality over quantity

The second you start factoring diamonds into the equation it becomes about two things; quality and size. The truth of the matter is that realistically, only you (and perhaps your best friend) will know if you decided to shell-out for a near-flawless diamond. It can be tempting to compromise the quality and clarity and just size-up; but in the long run, a high-quality diamond (regardless of how small) will always be a better investment. Plus you’ve got to ask yourself, who are you trying to impress?

Of course, with a premium brand will come premium quality. That’s why pieces from a heritage company like Bucherer, with a reputable history in jewellery stretching back to 1888 (not to mention an atelier in Switzerland – ooh la la), is a safe bet.

The boring world of insurance

Sigh. Insurance is the worst. Unfortunately – and especially if you’re prone to clumsiness/losing everything like me – it’s an integral part of the world of fine jewellery. Not all insurance companies are equal when it comes to high-value jewellery items. I recommend making sure that you pick coverage that protects you both inside and outside your home. If you travel a lot, look around to see which insurers will provide worldwide coverage, as not all do. And, when you purchase the coverage (or indeed if you decide to add it to an existing policy you may have), make sure that you explicitly request the addition of your piece, along with providing a proof of purchase and retail value. Peace of mind is everything people!

Decide your budget

Thankfully, you don’t have to spend three months’ rent money to afford decent fine jewellery nowadays. High-end jewellers often offer a range of more budget-friendly options that you can treat yourself to without breaking the bank.

Rejino Pyo sunglasses and shirt, Bucherer pearl earrings, necklace and bracelet, Levi’s jeans

To trend or not to trend?

Are you buying a current trend piece, or something that will be more timeless? Both have their merits, although I tend to look for more timeless quality in my pieces. A good way to check if what you’re currently coveting is timeless, have a look on Google images and see if it’s been worn and re-imagined through generations. Save any images you love (or conversely, want to steer clear of) from social media, so that you can get a real sense of what you’re actually looking for. Treat the ‘saved posts’ on Instagram as your very jewellery mood board.

Look after it once you’ve got it

Looking after fine jewellery is actually quite easy, and – I can tell you from experience – is crucial, if you want to keep the piece looking as beautiful as the day you got it. Of course, there are countless tips on the internet/Youtube on jewellery upkeep; my personal recommendation for diamonds (please ask your jeweller if you have only stone or gem!) – is a solution of super gentle detergent in warm water, and leaving the piece to soak for 20 minutes. Then, gently scrub it with a super-soft tooth brush. It will instantly breathe new life into your jewellery. And it goes without saying that you should keep your jewellery in a super safe place should you remove it; don’t just take it off and leave it on the kitchen bench while you have a shower. Consider keeping them in the original padded box at the bottom of a drawer or in a safe place every time that you take it off.

Mulberry jumper, Bucherer bracelet and rings, Maje leather skirt and boots
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