It’s 2020, which means the days of waiting for someone else to buy you jewelry are long gone. Instead, you want to pick up something for yourself because, well, you can. And you should. The only problem is, you’re not quite sure where to start.

Not to worry: buying jewelry for yourself doesn’t have to be overwhelming. To make things easier, we’ve put together the following guide to help you on your next mission to treat yourself with some new bling. Once you get the hang of it, you won’t look back — you’ll only look down to admire the sparkling gem(s) you’ve picked up for yourself.

Ease into Sticker Shock

Perhaps the most daunting aspect of purchasing yourself a nice piece of jewelry is how much a nice piece of jewelry can cost. If you want to buy a bona fide diamond, ruby or emerald, it’ll be expensive, so perhaps don’t start with such a big purchase. Or, you can prepare yourself by researching the stone you want to buy at length (which we’ll cover next).

These extra-large price tags might be enough to scare you away from buying yourself a nice piece of jewelry right off the bat. To ease yourself into it, try buying a piece of costume jewelry. The term “costume jewelry” makes it sound gaudy, fake and off-trend, but you’ll find so many beautiful baubles at reasonable prices. Shops like Bauble Bar, Stella & Dot and even Forever 21 are known to have trendy, eye-catching costume jewelry at reasonable prices.

Do Your Research

Of course, you might still have your heart set on a piece of jewelry made of precious metals and real gems. If this is the case, do research into the quality of the stone you expect and the price tag it will likely carry.

For example, diamonds can vary in color so slightly that an untrained eye wouldn’t even notice a difference in their shades. However, a jeweler would be able to distinguish a stone’s value just by comparing hues and finding the clearest, purest diamond. If you are looking to invest in a piece, you’ll want it to be as clear and colorless as possible, thus spiking its resale value down the line. You’ll also want to know if the diamond you’re paying for is worth the asking price, so learning more about color and clarity will help you make an informed decision.

Consider Your Own Personal Style

How would you describe your fashion sense? Modern? Minimalist? Glam? Bohemian? No matter what word you just chose, you should make sure the piece of jewelry you buy matches your aesthetic. Otherwise, you’ll never wear it — no matter how beautiful it is on your neck, wrist or finger.

For most people, the right choice for an investment piece is a simple, timeless piece of jewelry. That way, no matter how trends change, you’ll be able to wear your new bling. Things like stud earrings, simple pendant necklaces, bangles, and rings with a basic setting are great first-purchase pieces.

Of course, a different piece may speak more to you and your style and become a staple piece, even if it’s not traditionally timeless. Ultimately, your own tastes will guide you toward the right piece if the go-to jewelry pieces don’t speak to you.

Decide on a Budget

Perhaps the easiest way of all to narrow down the field is to set out a budget for your jewelry purchase. There’s plenty of advice on how to decide on a budget when it comes to engagement rings, for example. Most grooms-to-be expect to set aside the equivalent of one, two- or three months’ salary in order to buy the right ring, though that means everyone’s bottom line is different.

The same goes for your own jewelry purchase: you can’t base your spending on the spending habits of others. Instead, look at your own financial situation and the type of jewelry you want to buy. You have to be reasonable in both regards: you can’t choose a number that’s too low to buy what you actually want, but you can’t set a budget that’s too high in case you overspend and overstretch your overall cash supply.

If you find you don’t have enough to buy what you really want, put together a savings plan so that you will eventually have the cash to pay for the bracelet, necklace, earrings or ring you really want. And, if the price tag is too high to manage even if you put together a savings plan, perhaps look into alternatives to the diamond or gemstone you envision. Chances are, there’s a manmade or otherwise cheaper version that looks just as good.

Start Shopping

After some practice in purchasing costume jewelry, a bit of research, a reasonable delineation of your budget and a look at your own personal style, you’ll be ready to buy the piece(s) of jewelry you dream of. And, once you do it, you’ll realize it’s not as hard or overwhelming as it seemed at the beginning. Instead, you’ll walk away happy with your purchase and proud of yourself for making it happen all on your own.  
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