Where to shop for jewelry in Chicago

Services and ShoppingMedia IndustryNordstrom900 North Michigan Shops

Guys, we know. Shopping for a woman is intimidating and often discouraging – especially when it comes to jewelry.

What’s worse, jewelry retailers with big marketing budgets send confusing messages with the mental image that we’ll melt at the sight of anything sparkly. For the record, that’s only partially true.

We ladies know your jewelry-buying instincts are better than those fictional figures in sappy holiday commercials, but still, we sympathize that it can be difficult to find the right piece of jewelry for the leading lady in your life.

Let me let you in on a little secret: We’re actually not that hard to shop for.

Like our shoes, our jewelry is a reflection of our personal tastes – an extension of how we want the world to perceive us. And believe it or not, when it comes to gifting, we don’t equate effort with carats.

Instead, stick with something simple and stylish that can easily dress up an outfit. (Translation: No plastic cuffs, clip-on earrings and the like; leave the costume jewelry to the seasoned experts – us.) Although, a quick word to the wise: If you’re in a new relationship, stick with pieces with no meaning -- no hearts, no rings, no engraving.

Also see, cute Valentine's Day diy crafts.

Picking up a pretty piece of jewelry should be fun – not something put off until the last minute because you’re stressing over where to go and what to buy.

Here’s a few of my favorite stores and hidden gems (ahem) that I’d recommend for jewelry shopping in Chicago.

FOR: The girl who shops local and likes custom-made, unique jewelry.  

Art Effect: Lincoln Park shoppers gravitate toward this specialty store. Keep an eye out for the alluring array of sterling sliver and gold dipped Dogeared necklaces. (934 W. Armitage Ave., 773-929-3600)

Bourdage Pearls: This Southport boutique boasts an impressive selection of freshwater pearls in all shapes, sizes and price points. Stop in for a single pearl pendant or work with a specialist to create your own designs. (3530 N. Southport Ave., 773-244-1126)

Cerato: Another pretty little shop on Southport that’s far from predicable, Cerato is my go-to for browsing the city’s best local lines, like Jules. (3451 N. Southport Ave., (773) 248-8604)

Dana Rebecca Designs: Dana Levy has dazzled the accessory world with her namesake collection of earrings, bracelets and bridal pieces. Visit her website to find locations in Chicago where her pieces can be purchased. I love the Lauren Joy necklace – it’s the perfect everyday accessory. (danarebeccadesigns.com)

Erin Gallagher: Local jeweler Erin Gallagher opened her stand-alone boutique to interact with customers, even though her pieces sell through Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's and in boutiques across the country. Erin’s super-friendly staff will help you customize a something stylish, unique and affordable. (1013 W. Webster Ave., 312-492-7548)

FOR: The label lover who prefers wear-anywhere jewelry that’ll go with all of her outfits. 

David Yurman: I’d lose my lady street cred if I didn’t include this one. Known for his trademark cable bracelets, Yurman opened a salon-like space with gray accents and zebrawood walls on Oak Street – it’s one of his largest stores nation-wide. (40 E. Oak St., 312-787-7779)  

Michael Kors: A Michael Kors watch is a goes-with-anything gift. If she’s trendy, go with rose gold. Otherwise, select a piece with both silver and gold elements. Bonus points if you’re able to sneakily size up her wrist have a few links removed ahead of time. ( 900 North Michigan Shops, 900 N. Michigan Ave., 312-640-1122)

Tory Burch: Tory’s new Oak Street store welcomes customers with bejeweled chandeliers, hand-painted wallpaper and plush curtains. That said, stay focused – the real star of the store is its inventory of gorgeous accessory displays. Keep it simple with a modern set of classic logo earrings or a graphic take on the heart motif with the Corazon bracelet(45 E. Oak St., 312-280-0010)

FOR: A stylishly modern, sometimes edgy girl who rocks one-of-a-kind statement jewelry as the exclamation point to her outfit.

Alexis Bittar: While the inside of Bittar’s store is serene, his pieces are anything but. Think one-of-a-kind Peruvian pendants, extravagant cocktail rings, and rhinestone-encrusted panther bracelets. And, guys? Those are good things. (1710 N. Damen Ave., 773-486-5627)

P45: A landmark destination for Chicago’s trendiest shoppers. Here, you’ll find luxe, under-the-radar accessories at boutique (read: costly) prices. (1643 N. Damen Ave., 773-862-4523)

Sarca: This upscale boutique in Chicago’s Gold Coast will introduce you to a slew of high-quality conversation starters from designers you’ve never heard before, which means your trendsetting girlfriend will love them. (710 N. Wabash Ave., 312-255-0900)

FOR: The love of your life.

Hermès: For many women, silk scarves and enamel bracelets a la Hermès are more precious than gold. (25 E. Oak St., 312-787-8175) 

Holtzmann’s: One of Chicago’s finest family-owned jewelry destinations. Much of Holtzmann's business is custom-design work, including an impressive array of distinguishing engagement rings. (2304 N. Clark St., 773-529-0010)

Ellie Thompson: A graduate gemologist, Ellie uses geometric shapes, contrasting metals and a precise eye for detail to “translate the pulse of the city without screaming it from the streets,” according to Daily Candy. She also does custom work and redesigns, but by-appointment-only.  (8 S. Michigan Ave., 312-263-2264)

Tiffany & Co.: From classic to contemporary, the selection here features something for every woman. If you’re on a budget, you can’t go wrong with a versatile set of sterling silver earrings, and the custom heart tag necklace is one of my favorite pieces. (730 N. Michigan Ave., 312-944-7500)

(Hallie Wilson is a lifestyle blogger and social media marketing professional living in Chicago. For more info, you can visit her blog, corals + cognacs, or follow her on Twitter.)

Got kids? Also see our guide on where to shop for Valentine's Day gifts for kids.

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