6 Tips for How to Buy Jewelry for Valentine’s Day from Adam Neeley

adam neeley
Adam Neeley

Photo Credit: Courtesy Adam Neeley Fine Art Jewelry

Because roses only last so long and chocolate goes from the lips to the hips, the Valentine’s Day gift you really want to give, or receive, is jewelry. Buying jewelry for another person can be tricky though. Therefore, we called on California-based jewelry designer Adam Neeley, whose Union Street store in San Francisco is haute, to answer our questions (and probably yours too) on how to buy jewelry in regards to the latest trends, the length of a relationship and the person’s size (does size matter???) and what to avoid altogether.

Neeley is breaking down the barriers between fine art and fine jewelry. At 31, he’s been creating jewelry for over half of his life and embraces the sculptural possibilities of his medium with inspired design. He’s distinguished himself as a jeweler and designer by always pushing boundaries, in style and technique. As the youngest member of the American Jewelry Design Council, he is one of contemporary jewelry’s tastemakers. His work has been honored by many industry authorities including the Manufacturers and Jewelry Suppliers of America (MJSA) and the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA). In 2013, his pendant “South Sea Glow” was inducted into the Smithsonian Institution. Today he’s the owner of two California galleries. The flagship Adam Neeley Fine Art Jewelry store in Laguna Beach (352 North Coast Hwy) has been a staple of the Southern California jewelry and art scene since 2006. In 2012, he opened his second gallery in San Francisco (2030 Union Street), which hosts a curated selection of work by guest designers in addition to his own jewelry.

Here’s what Neeley has to say:

HL: What are the latest jewelry trends?
AN: Jewelry trends of the moment include delicate pieces dripping with diamond pave, fringe shapes, and bold, sparkling, statement necklaces, including bib styles. Another trend I’m excited about is the use of natural gemstones with interesting textures and patterns. Forgoing faceted gemstones for these unusual cabochons and scintillating druzy surfaces can be unexpected and breathtaking. And of course there’s rose gold—It’s very in style and a flattering tone on most people. I especially love rose gold with champagne diamonds.

HL: What should someone avoid when buying jewelry for someone else?
AN: I advise clients not to feel locked into selecting a trendy choice or birthstone jewelry. The most important thing is to think about the recipient’s personal style, their coloring and their personality. Let those factors guide your choice.

HL: What jewelry gift is suitable for a new relationship? For a longer one?
For a newer relationship, elegant earrings or a gemstone necklace make wonderful gifts. As your love grows, so will your intuition about your partner’s style. For deeper relationships, selecting a bigger statement piece for your partner is meaningful and shows how well you know them.

HL: What piece of jewelry do you get for the person who has everything?
AN: For the person who has everything, I recommend something that is truly unique. My couture collection is comprised of exclusively one-of-a-kind jewelry featuring rare and exceptional gemstones. I also think that jewelry with a story behind it is romantic, so think about where you shop. When you’re buying shoes or tech goods, online shopping is fine, but when it comes to jewelry, where you buy matters. Shopping the collection of a local artist or finding a jewelry gift while traveling together adds extra charm.

HL: How does a person’s size/stature play a part in what kind of jewelry they should wear, or does it?
AN: I love this question. Some of my most petite clients wear really large, show-stopper baubles and they look marvelous doing it. I think the right sort of jewelry has more to do with personality than body. Whether subtle or extravagant, the right jewels make you feel confident and gorgeous. I always encourage clients to try on pieces of all size and scale to find out what suits their taste.

HL: What once hot jewelry item is so out of style that no one should be caught in these days?
AN: There are a lot of things I love about 70’s style, but I’m ready to say goodbye to bulky, gold nugget jewelry for good.

Check out why Adam Neeley’s designs are considered works of art: