For the holidays, sometimes bling is the thing

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By Steve Dinnen

My plan for today was to write something about watches you might buy as a gift this Christmas time. But on the way to the watch counters at Josephs Jewelers in West Des Moines, I got sidetracked by all the sparkle coming off the jewelry cases. So this year, dsmWealth’s holiday gift ideas are all about gold, silver and diamonds.

“Diamonds are always a good thing,” Trisha Joseph, the company’s vice president, said as she offered up a tray of diamond bracelets. I liked a simple little 14-karat white gold diamond station bangle bracelet. A yellow gold version worked well, too. But then my eye wandered to another bracelet with diamonds and a pastel blue sapphire. More bling, to be sure.

In general, Joseph noted, anything with an animal will work. “Bees always will do,” she said, showing off a pendant fashioned by Simon G. that looks like a bejeweled bumble bee (or honeybee; I can’t tell the difference). There are two versions; the larger with emerald eyes and the smaller with ruby eyes.

Moving toward the seven seas, Joseph herself was wearing a silver pendant shaped like an octopus, designed by Monica Rich Kosann, that happened to match the octopus on her sweater. Just as there are designer watches and clothes, there is designer jewelry, too. Designs by Monica Rich Kosann and Simon G. are popular, and Roberto Coin “has a very big line,” Joseph said. These lines run the gamut — pendants, brooches, rings, necklaces and earrings.

Speaking of earrings, Mr. Coin (yes, he’s a real person, the head of an Italian jewelry design house) currently offers some trendy “huggie” earrings. They’re smaller versions of hoop earrings, but they stay closer to and “hug” the ear.

So maybe this is useful advice, especially if you don’t buy jewelry very often. Consumer research from GWI indicates that married women between the ages of 25 and 34 buy the most jewelry — for themselves, friends, spouses or other relatives. But Joseph said that when the holidays approach, most of the buyers she sees tend to be men over 50. Year after year, jewelry routinely ranks among the list of gifts women most want to receive during the holidays, and earrings seem to be the favorite option.

As we wrapped things up, I did manage to peek at the watches and saw some beauties from Baume and Mercier, Tag Heuer, Omega, Rolex … Hmm, maybe next year.

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