By Rikesh Chauhan
When it comes to gifting, the general consensus is that men are the hardest to shop for. Whilst I admit that gifting for men isn’t exactly a walk in the park, I wouldn’t completely underestimate the difficulty in finding the perfect gift for her. There are so many things to consider in regards to personal taste, size, style, price range, relationship status as well as sustainability and ethical sourcing. And even if you’ve nailed all the above, the volume of choice alone when it comes to women’s brands makes the whole thing pretty overwhelming.
Now, by the sheer fact that you’re reading these words, it means that you’ve most likely honed in on the category of women’s jewellery. A solid choice if I do say so myself. Jewellery is, for the most part, reserved for long-term relationships, family and loved ones—meaning it comes with an added level of sentiment. Get it wrong and it could be disastrous (okay, perhaps disastrous is a little bit of an exaggeration but you get the point). Get it right and you’re likely to be in the good books for the foreseeable future.
Case in point, in the first couple years of dating my now wife, I knew that I knew pretty much nothing about her taste in jewellery. This wasn’t because I never paid attention (I swear), but rather, I noticed that she never really wore jewellery much. It also dawned on me that she is one of those people that gifts incredibly well. Anything that I got her needed to be perfect and I didn’t want to run the risk of bombing because she’s the kind of person that would be nice about it, so I’d never even know if I did! They say ignorance is bliss but in this specific case, I most certainly disagree.
She considers good gift giving an art form; it is an exercise in understanding, care and attention to detail. The first real piece of jewellery I bought her, therefore, ended up being her engagement ring. Through the process of searching for the perfect ring, I learnt a lot about her tastes. I’d scroll through Instagram during our evenings in and show her a picture of someone popular we mutually follow wearing a piece of jewellery to get her thoughts. Casually. I also assessed her favourite outfits to see how select pieces of jewellery would complement them and so forth. As it turned out, these were good little tips in general for life!
Fast forward a few months, she loved the ring and now we’re happily married. The second ever piece of jewellery I got for her was Alice Made This’s Eden necklace in gold. Her tendency of wearing darker tops - black, maroon, navy - made the gold a natural fit. The elegance and simplicity in design made it stand out without overpowering. It’s something that catches your attention without it having to scream at you. We spend a lot of time hanging out in coffee shops around London where she’ll often get complimented on it, so I guess that’s a good a sign as any that it’s a pretty solid gift.
When it comes to jewellery—and this applies to men’s pieces, too—you should always go for a less-is-more approach. It shouldn’t be flashy; it shouldn’t be noticed a mile off. It should complete a look, and complement skin tone. One of my favourite quotes on men’s style and fashion, and one that I use as my starting point when styling myself and others, lends itself quite well here: “A man should dress in a way that you don’t notice. He looks good and you don’t know why. But it’s the tailoring, the material and the clothes.”
Alice Made This does exactly that. It stands out because it’s not obsessively elaborate or excessively decorative. It’s made to look simple and the more you look at, and analyse, some of the most simple designs the more you’ll realise how difficult it is to actually achieve. As I write this, I imagine myself attempting to make one of her pieces and it cuts short because I don’t even know where I’d begin. Hats off to you, Alice.
Moving on to the retail market and consumerism, one of the most exciting things about right now is the demand for better quality. People are looking for things that are made well so that they last beyond the typically given shelf life. Sustainability and ethical sourcing factors play a big part in how and what people are buying—from the materials that are being used and how they’re sourced, to who’s creating it, to how they’re packaged and how much waste, water and energy is being taken to create it and so on. All Alice Made This jewellery is hallmarked in the UK at the Assay Office, thus fulfilling the requirements established by law on Precious Metals. Essentially, the hallmark is a guarantee of the purity and quality of the metals used.
By this demand for transparency, we get people like Alice who take pride in doing their part, and in turn we get pieces of jewellery that can be passed down from generation to generation. Over time, these pieces builds character, story and timelessness.
The selection of Alice Made This jewellery has the distinct advantage of ticking several boxes. In a plethora of gold, brass, rose gold, silver and steel, the material—as you’ve now discovered—is all ethically sourced. The finishing, which we’ll go into a little more detail shortly, champions the art of quality craftsmanship and science. The impressively clever design of the hardware provides an air of timelessness, all-the-while remaining contemporary. What’s not to love?
The first, and probably the most important, factor to determine when gifting is what metal and/or colour she has a preference for. A silver ring for someone that only wears gold would be considered a missed opportunity and then some. And speaking of gold...
...One of my absolute favourite rings from AMT is the Kitson ring. The sheer nature of its design sets it apart from anything else I’ve ever seen before. It’s delicate, it’s stunning and it’s a ring that demands attention—but again, for all of the right reasons.
The ring, which is also available in silver and rose gold, has a clean and refined barrel detail, adding sophistication by day or by night with pinch-to-fit sizing, to ensure it looks great on all fingers. Versatility is truly gold in this case.
And sticking to the gold rings direction for a while, if your significant other favours bold hardware over the more delicate pieces, Alice Made This’s range of cocktail rings will leave you, and her, in a heart-eye-emoji-state of awe. From the long statement Delaney which takes its inspiration from architectural structures to the Ellison gold ring for a little drama, whatever choice you make is sure to be well-received.
Switching tack to bracelets now, if you’re looking for something elegant and versatile enough to work with a range of different outfits, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything that fits the bill as well as the Arden Bracelet. Black and gold go together like, well, black and gold. It’s beautifully subtle when worn with a black outfit but can still make a statement when worn over the sleeve rather than under. It was an improvised style choice for the shoot I had with Faye Fearon of British GQ, and it’s one that I’ve stuck with since. The bracelet itself is adjustable and made from dyneema - the world’s strongest and lightest fibre. (I’d highly recommend casually dropping in that fact when she’s trying it on for the first time).
The bracelet is also available in a few, rather vibrant, pink and blue colour combinations if you want to venture out a little bit. There are also adaptations with two gold adjusters, aptly named the Arden Double, for a little bit of added symmetry. They are a more casual approach to elegant jewellery, so if you have the luxury of gifting something a little bit more experimental, these bracelets have all of that, plus a little added charm.
If you’re still stuck, or should your significant other not have any given preference in style nor colour, give her the gift that has everything. Namely, the AMT Tool Box. This genius gift is essentially eighteen necklaces in one and gives her the luxury of being able to pick her pendant depending on whatever she fancies that morning.
With seven pendants in brass and steel, plus two 60cm chains in gold and rhodium all neatly packaged in a sleek gift box, you have the ability to create eighteen variations of necklace. The pieces can be dressed up and down, and be changed to suit mood, outfit, attitude and style. While designing the collection, it became Alice’s daily morning ritual to choose a new necklace combination to wear and now your significant other will get to do exactly that as well.
I can’t confirm for certain that beautiful earrings are a way to a woman’s heart, but I’d bet it’s relatively high up there on the list. The Ava earrings, in particular, are a pair that I’m relatively obsessed with. The distinctive shape is unlike any other I’ve seen, and are a great example of quality craftsmanship by the inimitable jeweller. Speaking about these earrings, Alice said, “the Ava earrings are a lovely example of the graphic simplicity of our jewellery. The precision cutting gives a clean shape that reflects and refracts the light beautifully. They are also something I consider as ‘all rounders’, the kind of earrings that can be worn with a casual t-shirt as well dressed up with a formal look, too.”
The earrings don’t over do it, but in the same sense you couldn’t say they are exactly understated either. The key is the perfect strike of balance. As Alice eluded in regards to its versatility, they can be worn with several different outfits, in a variety of differing styles. The earrings, once more, are also available in silver and gold, with these ones photographed below being brass. I’d highly recommend the brass version as it’s different from your run-of-the-mill material. The brass earrings are elegant, unique in numerous ways, and will be sure to receive a lot of compliments when worn.
I first came across Alice Made This after seeing a friend of mine wear one of her lapel pins. Typically, I then began noticing her accessories on more and more people, pretty much everywhere. The fact that all of these people who sported her pieces happened to be some of the most well-dressed folks I’ve come across told me everything I needed to know about the brand. That was, up until I realised she specialised in women’s jewellery, too. A lot of these pieces are unisex which has provided me a beautiful gift in itself, namely, never having to worry about being short of options when present hunting. There are only a handful of brands and places I consider for ticking-all-the-boxes-gift-giving, and Alice Made This is most certainly one of them. Gifting jewellery may not be the easiest of areas to navigate, which is all the more reason to let the British artisan be your one-stop-shop this season and beyond.
The quality of the pieces will be sure to last for years, and if properly looked after, for generations to come. No matter what you decide upon, the idea of giving someone a gift with added timelessness is too good an opportunity to pass up. With more and more people becoming aware about the impact manufacturing is having on this planet, there has been a strong drive to slow down. We need to make less, and we need to buy less but buy better. The latter is something that we can implement right this very moment. By prioritising craft and quality—which Alice wholeheartedly does—and by investing in investment pieces rather than high street-driven fast fashion—which we are beginning to do more of—we can slowly but surely start building our wardrobes to contain less things, but better things. And it also extends to gifting, as well as the consciousness of it all. Beautiful things have more resonance, and meaning, behind them. They’re not something you see everywhere, so when you do, you’re immediately drawn to it. With Alice Made This, we have the luxury of it being accessible, honest, wholesome and lovely to look at. And there’s nothing wrong with being spoilt for choice, after all.
Rikesh Chauhan, professionally know as RKZ (pronounced Ricks), is a Luton-born singer, menswear writer and photographer, based in East London. You can learn more about his work here.