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Little Charmers: Shopping for That Perfect First Piece

Congrats Moms and Dads! You made it successfully through another Back to School season! Between the flurry of new jeans, notebooks, backpacks, and lunchboxes, did you find yourself thinking, “where does the time go?” You’re not alone!

The start of a new school year is a natural time of reflection for a lot of parents. And if you’ve found yourself thinking just how adult your little one is seeming these days (whether they are entering first grade or high school), maybe it’s time to mark the new school year with a gift – might I suggest a beautiful piece of jewelry?

I’m probably a bit biased. I’ve had a lifelong love affair with jewelry that started at two or three with a tangle of plastic necklaces and continues to this day (obviously). One of my childhood nicknames, given to me by my mother after I went through a phase of wearing every piece of jewelry I owned at once, was “Zsa Zsa,” after Zsa Zsa Gabor. However, my family supplemented my plastic beads and charm bracelets on a regular basis, from the time I was five or six, with pieces of “real” jewelry.

These were nothing fancy, of course, but felt so special to me: a gold necklace with charms that had belonged to my grandmother, a birthstone ring in sterling silver, a Mickey Mouse watch with a leather band. I knew that these pieces were special: only to be worn on special occasions, they lived in my jewelry box and were put on and taken off with assistance. I was always on my best behavior when I was allowed to wear my “real” jewelry -- I knew to break or lose a piece meant I could not expect to be given another.

Of course, every kid is different. Some little girls are ready for the responsibility of “real” jewelry as early as five or six. Some high schoolers and even college students can’t manage to keep track of a nice bracelet or pair of earrings. If you’re thinking about getting someone a first piece of “real” jewelry, these are some great options.


A pair of basic stud earrings. A nice gift, especially for a girl whose ears are newly pierced. Once she gets used to taking care of a basic pair of studs, she can move onto simple dangle styles.

A birthstone pendant. Nice, personal, and harder to lose than a ring or a bracelet. As a bonus, you don’t have to worry about finding children’s sizes!

A sterling silver charm on a leather or rubber cord. I love this option for someone on the younger end of the spectrum. Durable and less expensive than many other choices, it nonetheless gives him or her the feel of owning something a step above play jewelry.

Giving a piece of jewelry is also making a memory, not just for the young woman but for the gift giver, too. They grow up fast – mark the occasion with something special!

What was your first piece of “real” jewelry? When did you get it? Do you still have it?

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