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A Gentleman’s Guide to Relationship Milestones

A guide to the gifts to give when you go from “like” to “love”— and beyond.

You’ve gone from hanging out to actually dating. Or you’re dating and are comfortable with being “the boyfriend,” but it’s way too soon to be a “fiancé.” When you’re in a relationship, there are occasions that call for a gift — and non-occasions too — those times you just want to give something special.

Your instincts say jewelry is always a great gift, but what type of jewelry? Different jewelry sends different messages, and when it comes to your significant other, you want to make sure that message is clear. Here’s a handy guide to the right jewelry gift at the right time.

In the beginning

You’re a couple, but it’s still pretty new. That doesn’t mean that things like birthdays, holidays, graduations or Valentine’s Day are going to wait for your schedule. If a gift-giving occasion happens to come up in the first couple months — and things are good and you want them to be great — think simple:

  • Metal stud earrings in sterling silver, 10K or 14K gold.
  • Stud gemstone earrings — if it’s a birthday, go for her birthstone or her favorite color (knowing her favorite color will earn bonus points).
  • A watch.
  • A pendant in a special shape or a sweet heart.
  • A charm bracelet. If you’re not sure what charms to get her, think about some of her favorite hobbies. There are a huge variety of charms available that speak to a wide range of hobbies and interests.

These are also great gifts for events that are special to only the two of you, and she’ll be amazed if you give her something on the 6-month “anniversary” of your first date or kiss. This kind of gift says she’s special to you.

Settling in

You’ve been together for a while — long enough to know each other’s tastes. You may notice what color metals she prefers, but maybe not. If not, there are plenty to choose from, depending on her style. Yellow gold is classic and traditional, but is also trending. White gold and platinum appeal to those with modern tastes. Rose gold is warm, romantic and a fashion favorite.

Jewelry gifts can be more personal, and if your budget allows, a little more of a splurge. Show your love on traditional gift-giving occasions like birthdays, holidays and Valentine’s Day. Mark milestones like a new job or promotion or anniversary with:

  • Diamond stud earrings or small hoops.
  • A diamond necklace or pendant.
  • A fashion ring set with her favorite gem.

This may also be the time for a promise ring or a Claddagh ring. It says you’re serious, but neither of you is ready to get engaged. Engraving on the back of a pendant, inside a ring or on the back of a watch can make a special present even more treasured.

A friendly safety advisory

It can be tricky when you’ve been together, want to stay together, but aren’t ready to take that step into engagement. While it’s a myth that every woman just can’t wait to get married, rings — especially diamond rings — are so closely associated with engagements they can actually disappoint as a gift if not accompanied by a proposal. There are plenty of other spectacular jewelry styles, with diamonds and without, to dazzle her.

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