How to Buy Jewellery That Will be Cherished for a Lifetime

Stuck for gift ideas this Christmas? It’s hard to go wrong with a breathtaking piece of jewellery. But whether you’re treating yourself or someone special, it can be tricky to know where to begin. To make the job a little easier we caught up with jewellery expert and director of Orsini Fine Jewellery Sarah Hutchings, who shares her top tips for investing in jewellery that will be cherished for years to come.

When it comes to quality, what do I need to look for when buying a piece of jewellery?

I believe jewellery quality depends on three factors. The most important aspect is what the jewellery is made from and the quality of the metals, diamonds and gemstones. If they are made from fine metals and good quality gemstones they will maintain their value and last for a lifetime. At Orsini we use predominantly 18k gold and platinum as this is associated with quality. We also source diamonds preferably with a GIA certificate or credible laboratory certification.

The finish or expertise in which the item is crafted is important too. Our jewellery is either handmade in Italy with talented goldsmiths or in our NZ workshop which has master jewellers. They have 40 years + of experience each. Both sat traditional apprenticeships and have trade certificates in jewellery. They are also Goldsmith Guild members.

And the final aspect is the beauty of the design. However, I think there are more factors to be considered. Is the jewellery made from a credible brand/ jewellery workshop with a good reputation? Is the jewellery ethically and responsibly made? No one wants a special gift that is made from child labour or unethical mining practices. Is the jewellery an item that can be easily and comfortably worn for many occasions.

What’s the biggest mistake people often make when trying to buy jewellery for someone else as a gift?

Not understanding the style of whoever they are buying for. I will often ask men a lot of questions about their partner. I will sometimes even look at a photo to determine what suits someone. Do they have a fair or dark complexion? What is their hair colour? Asking pertinent questions will make all the difference in understanding and choosing the perfect item.

For example, if they hardly ever wear jewellery you will not recommend a big opulent piece as they will feel uncomfortable wearing it. If a woman is passionate about sports and loves the outdoors I will recommend certain items that are more organic, natural, easy to wear and durable. With engagement rings, this is also a factor and I spend quite a bit of time determining what will work best. I am very proud of the fact that none of my clients has returned to get a ring remade in 10 years, except one client who got a ring made elsewhere and we kept of trying to improve the design to the point where we started again, she is now over the moon. One benefit of having repeat customers is having previous understanding and records on sizing, what their jewellery preferences are.

What considerations should you make when trying to buy the perfect piece of jewellery for someone special?

I believe the most important aspect is working with a jeweller you can trust who will make the effort to understand exactly what you are after, what the occasion is, the significance of the item to possibly make the jewellery special (extra engraving added). It is also important to remember that jewellery is often purchased as a personal romantic gift and special considerations such as how they will present the gift may be discussed. We also take special pride in the presentation of the jewellery and the gift wrapping. For example, if it is a surprise gift we will not add our logo on the outside of the packaging to maintain the surprise.

Is sizing something you need to take into account or can most pieces be resized to suit the recipient?

Sizing is not important at Orsini as we will always be able to alter an item or order a different size later. If it is a surprise gift we will often be able to order in the perfect size if it is a custom made ring or engagement ring we can resize the item. I also make adjustments and alter the lengths of bracelets or chain. We have a team of excellent master goldsmiths at our jewellery workshop and they can alter just about anything if made with precious metals.

Once I’ve found the perfect piece of jewellery how do I care for it properly to ensure it lasts for years to come?

Jewellery care is essential with fine jewellery. I get horrified with how some women care for their jewellery and we often have to send the jewellery back to our suppliers to repair like new if they are badly worn or looked after. As with all warranties, this is not covered under jewellery policies unless it is a manufacturing fault. Kiwi women, in general, are very active and often forget to take care of their jewellery.

In Europe, women are taught from a very young age with less expensive trinkets how to care for their jewellery. I spend a lot of time educating women on caring for their jewellery. It is often common sense if you are doing heavy work for example gardening, playing sports or sailing, I would always recommend removing jewellery. I also educate clients about ensuring they have the proper cover with their insurance policies if something were to happen. Go to our website at to learn more advice on caring for jewellery.

Fine jewellery that is ‘well chosen, well cared for, and quality material’ can be worn and enjoyed for a lifetime. Nothing gives me more pleasure than running into clients and seeing their beautiful jewellery being worn, loved and looking its best. I ran into a client this morning while out walking my dog. She was walking her granddaughter wearing her beautiful Hulchi Belluni diamond pendant her husband brought at Orsini several years ago. She said it was her favourite item and she wore it just about every day and it gave her a huge amount of pleasure every time she wore it. At Orsini we pride ourselves on our excellent high-quality jewellery.

Visit Orsini’s website here to find your dream piece of jewellery.

How to Buy Fragrance for Someone Special

Buying fragrance for yourself can be a tricky task, never mind buying attempting to buy a new scent for someone special. With Christmas just around the corner, we asked Mary Hayward, the training and education manager for Coty Luxury Australia and New Zealand, to explain what attracts us to certain scents and how to buy fragrance for someone else. 

Fragrance and sense of smell seem much more personal than say other senses such as taste. What things dictate which we love and which scents we don’t?

Our sense of smell is often taken for granted and underestimated as one of our most important senses, and it is not until we may lose this sense that we truly understand its value. Our sense of smell is 10,000 times more sensitive than any other of our senses and recognition of smell is immediate. From birth we store every smell in the olfactory bulbs sensory receptors area of the brain, like a computer, the smells are stored for life and are reawakened when we experience them again, sometimes surprisingly, many years later.

They can take us back to a good and happy memory or equally to a moment we would prefer to forget. We are naturally and usually unaware that we are attracted to specific styles of fragrance and ingredients. These can be associated with pleasant and happy memories, it may be a note that unconsciously reminds us of something or someone special from our past and present. If we look at the different fragrances we wear, often there is a common theme, common style and particular note – a flower, a wood, a spice.

Why do certain fragrances smell wonderful on some people and completely different on others?

Fragrance will never smell the same on two people, we all have our own individual body scent – pheromones – and body chemistry, which will interact with the fragrance we apply in its own independent way. Additionally different skin types and even cultural heritage can also alter the fragrance, so that it may smell sweet on you and quite sharp on me. Other factors such as medications I may be taking, hormonal changes in females, if I smoke or even eat spicy foods, all will change how my skin reacts and takes on the scent applied.

Because our sense of smell is so unique, is it possible to buy the perfect fragrance for someone else?

The more you know about the person you are buying for the easier to make the right choice, Seeking the advice of the in store fragrance consultant, who should, using your information about the receiver of the fragrance gift, point you in the right direction. Things to know and share with the sales consultant are things like, their favourite or previous fragrances they have worn, their taste in clothing/fashion – casual or more formal, are they a beauty junky and up with latest trends, their personality type, the more information you have the easier and better choice you can make. If in doubt, purchase the most luxurious you can afford, a great example as a gift is Tiffany Eau de Parfum – who could ever resist that little Blue Box!

Now that you know how to buy fragrance for someone special, discover some of our current favourite fragrances here and here