Cecile Raley Holiday Buying Guide

My assistant Debbie actually put me on to this blog entry.  She thought it would be a good idea to suggest to my customers what they might get from my shop for the holidays.  But I am such a bad gift buyer – I mostly get useful things for people, not gifts with symbolic value.  So my advice may be terrible, lol.  Still, I am going to give it a try.

1. Birthstones: this is the old standby for all holiday jewelry buyers.  But several of my pendants and rings would lend themselves to combos of say, mother’s birthstone and child, or three children, or even mom and dad only.  I prefer designs with uneven numbers of stones (actually everyone does) so I usually end up suggesting that we repeat one birthstone if there are just two people (i.e. mom is the center, and the child goes left and right).  Certain months have a lot of birthstone variety, like January for instance, because there are so many different types of garnets.  Other months (February, which is amethyst) doesn’t leave a lot of choice.  For those months one can just choose different purples (purple spinel, tanzanite).  For birthstone necklaces, I suggest the hexagon designs which I have for one stone, three, and four stone combos.  For rings, any multi-stone ring is good, not so much the halo rings.

5mm Tanzanite in 14K Rose Gold Hexagon Bezel 

Four Stone Rose Gold Hexagon Bezel Pendant with Tourmaline and Apatite $299.00

3 Stone Hexagon Eternity Pendant in 14 K Rose Gold with Spinel and Color Change Garnet $499.00
2. Proposals, friendship rings, etc: men often use holiday gifts to mark a special occasion with their loved one.  Rings are the most standard purchase for that, and I often have to give advice to male buyers (mostly last minute) on those.  I often recommend halo styles, though I ask them to describe their person with words that I can use to suggest jewelry designs: modern, natural (nature), antique, blingy, simple, colorful, etc.  Thinking of someone you buy for in those terms will help you single out what is best for them.
Platinum Silver Cocktail Ring with Tanzanite and White Zircon $379.00


Iolite and Sapphire Halo Ring in Argentium Silver $289.00


3. For the idiosyncratic person: some people just like their gifts their own way.  I am one such person, which is why for this year, I asked my family to buy me a toaster oven.  That way, there are no surprises.  For recipients like me, keep it simple.  Browse through their favorites and buy what they marked, or an ETSY gift certificate (which will be available in my shop this season) - I always have a sale on the 25th of December so that people can buy something together when they’re sitting “under the tree” so to speak.  Or pick out a pair of gems for them (remember I have a return period too).  And then play together to develop a design. 

4. Cheap: well, as many of you are noticing, my shop isn’t so cheap anymore.  There is a lot more gold inventory for instance.  The reason I make more things in gold is that I simply cannot compete with the overseas market, where assembly, soldering, setting and polishing cost nearly nothing.  I have all my stuff locally made, I supervise every step, and I love working directly with the people who make my ideas into actualities.  Also, interestingly, more of my buyers now buy gold over silver.  But as I phase out of the items that don’t work for me or for my line, I put more things into clearance.  Some of my silver studs and necklaces also cost less (the filigree studs for instance), and I am still addicted to beads, so I am going to try to stock up that section more for the holidays.

Blue Ceylon Spinel 4mm Stud Earrings $68.00


Beaded Turquoise Necklace with Thai Silver Accents and Free Earrings $79.00


Argentium Silver Bypass Ring With Rhodolite Garnet $89.00


Art Deco Reproduction Filigree Ring in Argentium Silver with Purple Spinel $89.00


6mm Rhodolite Garnet Stud Earrings in Argentium Silver $88.00


Simply Apatite, Peridot, Tanzanite, Prehnite and Tsavorite Necklace with Free Earrings $99.00


5. Personal favorites: last but not least, let’s talk about what I would personally recommend.  I love love love the pendants I created that combine hexagon and kite designs.  They look like they’re right out of a 1920s movie except that they’re in color, and they sit beautifully on the neck.  I also like the two half moon pendants I made, the rings on either side of the top of the stone make them sit more securely than the other channel wrapped items.  In terms of rings and dangly earrings, the Gotham line is my favorite, because I like art deco more than art nouveau and I love the old fashioned yet modern look.  I also enjoy that you can get more ring out of those without having to splurge on the expensive halo designs.  My engraver, Alex, continues to amaze me with what he can do with those pieces.  The Gatsby line is now also fully engraved.  And the petal line (with all the sunflower rings) is getting there.  Oval petal pendants and rings are coming out soon, hopefully in time for the holidays (I know I will have one ring with a 9x7 center and 2mm side stones ready in about 10 days).
I’ll leave you with a photo of my “to date” all time favorite piece that I am (with great regret) willing to put up in my shop – mainly because I already splurged on my own Christmas gift which is still in production but I’ll share when it’s done.  This ring features a 2 carat plus Mahenge spinel, 2009 mining date, trillion cut, in a white gold Gatsby design, diamonds on the side, millgrain.  Still thinking about engraving it too. 

Trillion Flower Gatsby Ring in 14 K White Gold with 2+ Carat Mahenge Spinel and Diamonds $2,799.00


Hexagon and Kite Pendant in 14 K Rose Gold with Mahenge and Burmese Spinel $699.00



Trillion Flower Gatsby Pendant in 14 K Rose Gold with Morganite and Diamond $449.00


Half Moon Garnet Pendant in 14 K Rose Gold Channel Setting and Mint Garnet Kite Dangly $599.00


3 Stone Hexagon Eternity Pendant in 14 K Rose Gold with Spinel and Color Change Garnet $499.00


Gatsby Studs for 5mm Trillion Stones, Argentium Silver with Rhodolite Garnet $119.00


Kite Style Aquamarine Earrings in Sterling Silver $119.00