Subscribe for 33¢ / day

What’s the perfect gift alternative to perfume, fruitcakes, ugly sweaters and neckties? This year, personalized jewelry just might be the way to take the “Bah, humbug!” out of the holidays and several jewelers in the Region are ready to oblige.

You Name It

At Brad’s Designs & Jewelry, 146 North Main Street in Crown Point, owner Brad Belush says personalized I.D.-type bracelets in gold, silver or stainless steel are very popular. “They’re not like the I.D. bracelets of the past,” Belush notes. “There are some different types that are newer and more modern.” He adds that cutout initials, which can be ordered, as well as names or monograms engraved on a disk make a nice gift. They can be worn on a necklace or as a charm on a bracelet. Some include birthstones or diamond accents.

Belush says pendants are also a big seller. For women that means bar shapes in all sizes and metals, with or without stones, and for men that means dog tags, both of which can be engraved. The jeweler also does hand engraving on some materials, such as gold and silver. The process is more costly, but it results in a deeper cut and a unique look.

If your gift recipient doesn’t mind waiting until after the holidays to receive his or her gift, Brad’s Designs & Jewelry specializes in designing and creating custom jewelry pieces, which require a somewhat longer time frame for delivery.

Wrist Factors

Ashley’s Jewelry by Design, located at 221 Broadway in downtown Chesterton, offers a wide array of personalized jewelry selections. Owner Craig O’Brien says he’s had many requests for what he calls “name plates” or small bars in varying sizes and in yellow, white or rose gold that are engraved with monograms, names or personalized words. There are also name plates with cutout monograms, as well as cutouts on disks, pendants and rings, O’Brien adds, but those need to be special ordered.

O’Brien says bracelets of all types are particularly hot this year. In addition to the well-known Pandora label, famous for interchangeable charms including initials, the store carries the Intuition line, with a multitude of personalized expressions such as “Love,” “Peace,” “Born to be Wild” and more. “They’re perfect for friends and family, and they’re affordable,” O’Brien says.

There are bolo bracelets (similar to a bolo tie necklace) with plates that can be engraved and pendants that hold interchangeable sparkly disks that may be worn on a necklace. The disks include initials, cutouts, colors, stones, crystals and symbols. O’Brien adds that Ashley’s Jewelry by Design can engrave many items for men, as well.

“Everybody does engraving on various items and we’ll do whatever the customer wants. Customer service is very important to us,” says O’Brien. “Rings purchased here are cleaned free, we include gift wrap and we’ll do whatever it takes to make the customer happy.”

Versatile and Personal

Martin Binder Jeweler, 650 Morthland Drive in Valparaiso, is another business that stocks a large Pandora assortment. In addition, they carry Alex Woo, an affordable and fun sterling silver line. According to marketing and merchandising manager Markie White, “Alex Woo’s signature is heavyweight, beveled-edge charms with all lowercase letters that are really fun and popular to wear.” She says that the line has a young look, but it’s very versatile and that customers from ages 8 to 80 have purchased them. There are also symbols, sports teams, animals and little cities (Like the Bean in Chicago), which “definitely have a personal meaning to people.”

Another popular designer that offers personalized jewelry is Alex and Ani. Charm bracelets display initials as well as other shapes and symbols. Each bracelet comes with a “meaning card” that tells a personal story about that item. Alex and Ani is also an environmentally friendly product which uses recycled material. All items are made in the USA, with all metal sourced and made in the USA. In addition, White says Alex and Ani touts that they are “infused with positive energy” to give the wearer a positive feeling.

White adds that a brand new, exciting line is the Monica Rich Kosann collection, which is known for lockets and other meaningful, personal jewelry. Sterling silver lockets—gold must be special ordered—hold personal photos provided by the customer after choosing a particular template. Some of the lockets can also be engraved, which takes three to seven days.

Necklace or bracelet charms, such as those in the Rembrandt line, can be engraved, as well as the inside of rings if the surface area allows, says White.

Martin Binder Jeweler has a variety of gifts for men that can be personalized, including sterling silver or stainless steel money clips and stainless steel flasks. There are also pens made by Faber-Castell, and White points out that almost any watch case back can be engraved, as long as it is not covered with a logo.

With all of these choices and more, there’s no excuse for giving a ho-ho-hum gift. An added bonus? Rest easy knowing that personalized items can’t typically be re-gifted!