Help me pick out something good
December 16, 2010 8:55 AM   Subscribe

I don't have experience with buying jewelry, but want to get my girlfriend a 16 inch, white-gold chain necklace. I'd like it to be sturdy, able to hold a pendant, and within the price range of $100 to $200.

She had a silver chain before, but it broke, and the replacements caused reactions on her skin. I've talked to 4 or 5 jewelers so far and they all fell within the above price range (approximately). What should I be looking for when buying a necklace like this?
posted by codacorolla to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total)
Where have you been looking? I'm guessing you may have more luck in a department store than with a jeweler, if you want something under $200. Also, Amazon has some white gold chains for under $100.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 10:00 AM on December 16, 2010,/metal,/14584/subcat.html
posted by Dolley at 10:23 AM on December 16, 2010

The two main things you'll need to decide are the type of chain and the thickness. As you can see here, there are a LOT of different ways that links can be joined together to create a chain. People's tastes vary, but I generally prefer chains with a less "open" shape, like snake chains and serpentine chains -- these tend to be more expensive because they require more metal per length, but (perhaps because of this) they seem more "luxurious" to me and they feel a bit more sturdy. But simple oval-link cable chains are nice as well. I would suggest avoiding box chains, because I think they look kind of cheap and, well, boxy. (Not that there's anything wrong with cheap, but if you're going to splurge on a gold chain you might as well get something nice, you know?) I agree with CrazyLemonade that going to a department store might be a good idea; they typically have a wide selection of different types of chains, and it's much better to see them in person.

As for the thickness, you should take into account the types of pendants that your girlfriend typically wears. The smaller, lighter, and more delicate the pendants she wears, the thinner the chain should be.

Also, check out the clasp and make sure it opens and closes smoothly.
posted by pluckemin at 11:11 AM on December 16, 2010

Do people ever have reactions to white-gold? I think she had lower quality replacements made out of silver before, which may have caused the skin reaction, but I want to make sure I'm not buying something that will make her uncomfortable.
posted by codacorolla at 11:23 AM on December 16, 2010

White gold, in the US, often has relatively high percentages of nickel, which tends to have a decent amount of contact dermatitis associated with it. If she's had reactions before, more white gold is likely NOT the answer. (I say this as someone who has a good friend who can no longer wear her white gold wedding ring.) Her replacements were likely white gold or, likely, another cheap alloy with nickel.

Pure silver shouldn't be as much of a reaction, but contact dermatitis and metal can be hard to figure out.
posted by cobaltnine at 11:43 AM on December 16, 2010

White gold can cause reactions in some people because of the nickel added to it. Most ready made white gold is 10k or maybe 14k. I find that everything that is 18k or less for white gold gives me a rash. You can try looking for nickel free white gold but that is tricky as many jewelry stores just have no idea about what is in their gold, including Tiffany.
posted by saradarlin at 10:43 PM on December 16, 2010

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