Out of all the love languages, gift-giving may be the most misunderstood. I’ve always craved the intimacy of receiving another person’s idea of me as a tangible possession or adorning myself with their memory, and vice versa.
But some lovers branded my heart a red flag when I was honest about my infatuation with presents.
When I started planning engagement proposals, the irony of my love language was ocassionally dismissed as materialistic or frivolous, yet the most emotional moment of people’s lives manifested with a ring. My clients wanted my help curating occasions that symbolized their partners, reflected their happiness, and embodied their personalities and histories.
Hundreds of engagement events later, each could be considered a gorgeous culmination of gifts, down to the hotel room, champagne, and roses on the bed. I know a person’s love is not solely embodied in a piece of jewelry, but the power of that exchange is undeniable. Different relationships offer the opportunity to express our love in different ways.
As the holidays approach, here are 10 unique jewelry gifts to celebrate those with special meaning in your life.
There are billions of moms worldwide, yet the uniqueness of a mother’s love makes them feel like rare, treasured creatures. Mine gave birth to quadruplets, so you know I’m giving her a stone that’s actually rarer than a diamond. The Tanzanite Diamond Loop Pendant is a vibrant way to hang Mom’s remarkability around her neck. Of course, it’s encrusted with diamond accents on white gold because, as every parent can appreciate, life is in the details.
Pop goes the champagne (and the proposal)
I’ve seen hundreds of engagement rings — and all the different reactions they instill! Taste is subjective, but happiness is universal. Assuming your partner says yes (most do), they’ll be thrilled no matter what ring you give them. But men deserve more diamond-centric options, so the Montreux Triple Row Pave Band is a fabulous way to embrace the hetero golden band tradition while making it worthy of a gay man. Everyone should know the only thing better than a diamond is a row of three.
After two engagements, content creators Hannah Magill and Alia Guidry (@hersandhers_) head to heritage jeweler Shane Co. to shop for wedding bands.
The gift of self-love
There was no guide to being single as an engagement planner; sometimes, jealousy got the best of me. I felt certain milestones paused until I convinced somebody to love me. But I learned to chill and be happy as a party of one, which was easier to do when I stopped obsessing about an engagement ring and focused on the many other shiny pleasures in life. The Figaro Stainless Steel with Black Iconic Plating Bracelet is a budget-friendly way to treat yourself; consider the metal a motif for your singledom resilience.
For the gay best friend forever
It feels like I’ve spent a lifetime being a gay best friend, usually to multiple people at once. Sometimes, it feels like a part-time job considering the weight of other’s lives we’re expected to carry. Still, I wouldn’t change being a shoulder to cry on or an ear for juicy secrets. But my wrist always appreciates a recognition of love! Your GBF deserves the world. Make sure they know how much you love them with this Platform Cuff Bracelet in Sterling Silver. And always remember, gay love comes back tenfold.
A string of style for your favorite drag queen
I experienced my first drag show up close and personal when Daya Betty took me backstage during her performance at the Baltimore Eagle. I had been a bystander to other drag shows by coincidence at gay bars, but this was the first time I had an eagle’s eye view of the audience. It helped me better appreciate the art and to witness the joy they spread in the community. If you’re lucky enough to love and be loved by a drag queen, then be wise enough to appreciate them with fabulosity. This Akoya Cultured Pearl Necklace looks great in or out of drag. Secured with a white gold clasp and customizable engraving, they’ll lose their wig.
For the stud in your life
Gays know that a romance doesn’t necessarily have to be lifelong to feel worthwhile. There will be guys in your life that sweep you off your feet without ever getting close to putting on a ring. My most treasured romantic dynamics have been with the men who kissed me like we were lovers but committed to me like friends. The Blue Topaz is known as the stone of clarity and is meant to embrace authenticity and good fortune, so these Baguette Sky Blue Topaz Studs in Sterling Silver are perfect for the stud who gives you butterflies without the drama.
For those who love formal affairs
I used to be the charity gala version of a wedding crasher in New York City, except I didn’t have to sneak in. I’ll admit I leveraged my status as “press” to gain entry to every fabulous event in the city. As a result, I’ve unintentionally noticed a shortage of fantastic cuff links, so be a hero and ensure your friend doesn’t become a boring statistic. These Black Agate and Mother of Pearl Cuff Links in Sterling Silver are for the man about town.
Put a hoop on it
You don’t have to get on one knee to lock someone down. If you fancy someone with piercings, baby, put a hoop on it. I would’ve run away in a convertible with anyone who presented me with these Isa Channel-Set 0.20 tcw Diamond Hoops. There’s no better gift than an accessory you want to wear daily.
Getting a gift for someone you recently met might feel like you’re doing too much. But also, let’s be honest: when people say you shouldn’t have, they’re typically glad you did. Stop projecting societal expectations in the art of gifts, as the love language doesn’t exclusively have to be for love. Expressing fondness is taken for granted. The Galaxy Meteorite and Stainless Steel Dog Tag will let your newfound crush know you’re not a man worried about playing it cool — you simply are.
For your Latin lover
Even one of the most machismo cultures in the world knows jewelry is for everyone. I’m from Latin America (Colombia), where it’s customary for parents to give their sons gold chains and bracelets for special occasions. We’re not saying to be a Latin person’s Daddy, but help make them a papi with this 14K Yellow Gold Vermeil Curb Chain.
BONUS: For the friend who already has pearls
We get it; Harry Styles got to your friend first. Show them you’re more creative with this Black Agate Beaded Necklace. It’s said to bring harmony, balance, and strength, but we’re serving style.
Ready to shop? Visit shaneco.com.
Just a few months in, “I already knew Brian was my life partner,” says Andrew.