Buying jewelry can be tough, especially for Valentine's Day.
Not only does the holiday require a balance of romance, planning and spontaneity, it also brings with it pressure to find the perfect gift to express how you feel.
A stunning necklace or promise ring has a good track record of doing the trick, but which one should you choose?
Luckily, jewelry experts in Maplewood and Brentwood are happy to offer advice to guide you on your way.
For new relationships and family members
, 7312 Manchester Road
Charm Boutique owner Kari Kraichley has seen enough panicked last-minute shoppers to know exactly how to help first-time buyers.
"Buying for a new person on Valentine's Day is always tough," Kraichley said. "You don't want to spend too much or go too crazy. I always suggest a very nice, simple pair of earrings."
This concept also works as a gift for a family member. Either way, Kraichley highly recommends a hand-stamped necklace with the letter of a loved one's first name, or a unique love saying—basically anything that is more personal.
Kraichley also suggests buying a piece that incorporates other colors besides red and pink to make it fashionable all year.
- Price range: $50 and under
- What else can I get?: Look for more pink, red and heart jewelry coming into the store by Valentine's Day.
- Added bonus: Designs in Charm Boutique are crafted by local artists, so you will be buying something truly unique.
Are you ready to get engaged?
, 8468 Eager Road
It might be cliché, but no one can dispute the fact that getting engaged on Valentine's Day is hopelessly romantic.
Owner Tom Adler keeps a large selection of loose diamonds in stock to assist you in finding the perfect ring. "You can put pretty much anything you want in one of our ring settings," Adler said. If you want to create your own dream ring, Adler's also does custom designs and engravings.
How much should you spend? Adler says the general rule of thumb is two month's salary for an engagement ring.
- Price range: $3,500 to $7,000 (on average)
- What else can I get?: Not much, but that's a good thing - Adler's has been family-owned and operated since 1909, and has always specialized in engagement rings.
- Added bonus: Adler's will work with you in creative ways to get the ring you want. For example, you can choose a more expensive design, but change the type of gold it's made with to make it more affordable.
, 7348 Manchester Road
Walking by the window display at Paramount Jewelers, you can see the wide range of earrings, necklaces, broaches and rings. There are several options for an anniversary gift.
Owner Paul Buenger has some recommendations.
"A lot of people will choose a signifigant number to commemorate an anniversary," Buenger said. "For example, for 10 years, a man might get 10 small diamonds, designed for a ring, necklace or broach."
Paramount Jewelers also has sterling silver Valentine's Day pieces at affordable prices for those looking to pick up a little something extra while still being able to afford dinner and flowers.
Price range: $100 and above, depending on your need.
What else can I get?: Buenger said watches are a perfect Valentine's Day gift for men. "The watch has to reflect who the man is," Buenger said. "It's just as unique as any other piece of jewelry."
Added Bonus: Paramount has been known to stay open late on Valentine's Day for the last minute shoppers.