When it comes to jewelry, women tend to start early, many times even before a baby girl faces the outside world.
And each important milestone along the way to adulthood is often commemorated with another kind of stone—the kind that one counts in carats.
We’ve asked some of Manila’s most established jewelers to weigh in on the pieces that belong in every girl’s growing collection.
ON THE DAY YOU ARE BORN
Baby girls customarily get their ears pierced even before they outgrow their newborn diapers.
“I think we are a country that likes luxury and adornment,” says Jade Velayo Lorayes of Velayo & Co. “Because of this, a lot of girls get their ears pierced a couple of days after being born—many times before they leave the hospital. A first pair of earrings will usually be made from surgical steel, the kind that fits inside a pediatrician's ‘gun’ to prevent allergic reactions.” She explains that while gold is hypoallergenic, the alloys needed to harden it aren't. “After a few months, some parents choose to upgrade to a pair of real gold earrings,” she says.
Yvonne Romualdez of Miladay Fine Jewels agrees. “Gold stud earrings are good for babies as they are safe to wear—they are not sharp and babies cannot pull them,” she says.
Then of course, there are some parents who can’t help but go all out for their little girls. “Some will choose to splurge and get tiny baby diamond studs, or a dainty baby pearl set or the practical gold ball or thin gold hoop,” says Jade.
Cartier diamond studs in 18k yellow gold; Mikimoto pearl earrings in 18K white gold; Tiffany Victoria earrings.
ON YOUR BAPTISM
In a predominantly Catholic country such as the Philippines, the tradition of gifting a child with jewelry at her baptism tends to bear religious meaning.
“A gold cross on a chain is a significant gift,” shares Yvonne, “because the child is welcomed into the Christian world. And the most visible sign of God’s love is the cross.”
Jade’s experience with her clients is very similar. “The gifts people—usually the baby's godparents—purchase when a baptism comes around are a scapular and chain set. This makes a nice gift because one feels as if a godchild is constantly being blessed and protected. Furthermore, these are pieces that can be worn for a long time. In fact, I've met a lot of adults who still wear the baptismal jewelry they were given.”
For christening gifts with a less religious slant but with equally good intentions, Janina Dizon of Janina for Jul Dizon shares these pretty little alternatives. “Traditionally, a coral bracelet is usually given to infants. There is a belief that it keeps the babies safe from the ‘evil eye’ and it is deemed safe enough for teething. For girls, diamond and pearl studs are usually popular as well.”
Miladay Beato cross in 18k yellow gold; Miladay Beato scapular in 18k yellow gold.
IN GRADE SCHOOL
While fashion-forward pre-teens may prefer trendy baubles over the real deal, there still are a few noteworthy circumstances that merit another trip to the jeweler.
“Confirmation is another significant occasion when a religious gold medal is suitable to give and a joy to receive,” says Yvonne. “Or maybe on birthdays, a young girl might get another pair of earrings or a scapular if she didn't get one during her baptism.”
On a more personal note, Janina fondly recalls the special gift she received when she was confirmed. “During my confirmation, I received a pair of blue sapphire and diamond fan earrings,” she shares. “I did leave it to my Mom for safekeeping. She would only let me use it on special occasions and I am happy to say that I still wear them to this day.” Many also receive their first diamond studs during this time.
Picks for silver trinkets include this Pandora charm bracelet or a chain necklace. For extra sparkle, opt for diamonds or birthstones. Cartier classic diamond earrings; Tiffany Sugar Stacks sapphire earrings; Tiffany rope earrings.
IN YOUR TEENAGE YEARS
Moving up from middle school to high school is considered a momentous occasion. Admittedly, at this age, many girls prefer to ask for a new gadget or the latest fashion accessory. But once in a while, a young girl who has already developed a fondness for jewelry speaks out.
“It hasn't been often that I've encountered a gift bought for a young girl graduating grade school,” says Jade. “The few times were when it was the preteen herself who expressed that she wanted a piece of jewelry. At that age it can be a charm bracelet, a pair of dainty dangling earrings, or a chain with a favorite pendant.” In Janina’s case, she received a delicate ID bracelet in yellow gold for her grade school graduation. “I wore it daily and it reinforced my love for anything monogrammed,” she says.
Tiffany Love bracelet in 18k rose gold; Cartier Naissance collection charm bracelt in yellow gold; and Pandora silver charm necklace and earrings.
ON YOUR 18TH BIRTHDAY
A debutante’s coming out party counts as a major milestone—even if she chooses to eschew the customary cotillion.
“Bigger diamond stud earrings would be a perfect gift because the debutante can wear these every day long after her debut,” says Yvonne. “This is also the time when she discovers her innate love for fine jewelry,” she adds. “So, a simple diamond set of earrings, ring, and bracelet are also a wonderful gift.” If the young lady already has a pair of diamond earrings, the occasion serves as one where she might receive a larger pair. Jade remembers how her friend had a grandfather who gave his lucky granddaughter a lovely pair of large diamonds.
But diamonds aren’t the only option. And some parents might choose to give their daughter something with a more personalized story behind it.
“I believe a tasteful 10-11mm South Sea pearl that dangles ever so slightly with the debutante's birthstone integrated into the design would make the prefect gift,” says Janina. A gift like this is one that will be especially appreciated by a debutante who embraces her individuality.
Jewelmer Golden South Sea Pearl stud earrings; Miladay gilded butterfly ring and earrings set; Janina Dizon citrine and turquoise earrings; Damiani bracelet.
WHEN YOU FINISH SCHOOL
A school ring, be it from high school or college graduation, is a piece of jewelry many young women treasure for sentimental reasons, if not for its innate value. And along with the school ring can come a slew of well-earned graduation presents.
Janina shares that she received a set of gold coin earrings and a pendant dated the same year that she graduated from high school.
Jade includes one’s college graduation as an occasion that again merits the gift of diamonds. “A college graduate will usually receive a bigger diamond set, earring or pendant and chain set,” she says. “The parent will usually pick what they know their daughter likes, or what they feel their daughter will need as she enters the working world.”
Miladay pearl pendant and chain; Miladay heart pendant; Ippolita birthstone earrings; Bulgari flower earrings.
WHEN YOU START WORKING
After years of being gifted with jewelry, a young lady then moves on to acquiring something for herself, usually after she begins working.
“Earrings make the perfect first-time purchase,” says Yvonne, “because a woman should never be without earrings. It beautifies and brightens up the face of every woman. Earrings may be gold dangling earrings, loop earrings, diamond studded earrings, or birthstone earrings.”
To this, Janina adds, “As I've seen through the years, a woman's first independent purchase would have to be diamonds of a certain notable size. Diamonds symbolize power, and indeed it is a powerful feeling to wear something of value that you have worked hard for.”
Jade expounds further on the reasoning behind this all-important purchase. “First-time fine jewelry purchases can be a range of things,” she explains. “But one thing's for sure: It will tend to be something a buyer feels will really be a worthwhile spending, since it'll be from her hard-earned initial savings. Usually it's a piece or pieces that can be worn to work or all day.” She is quick to point out that the decision doesn’t rely solely on one’s budget. “It could be a pair of earrings they really like, or a ring that they've fallen in-love with. Whatever it is it will be special, and a way to reward oneself with something valuable and lasting.”