Baby Jewelry Buying Guide
by Basundra Mitra
With the advent of the little princess into the household, there is also born a radiant sparkle and joy which envelops the parents and indeed, everyone in the family. It is the dream of every mother to adorn her little Highness with every bit of finery that she can afford. Therefore baby jewelry today has a substantial market spanning across countries and continents.
JEWELRY FOR THE NEW-BORN PRINCESS – BABY JEWELRY
With the advent of the little princess into the household, there is also born a radiant sparkle and joy which envelops the parents and indeed, everyone in the family. It is the dream of every mother to adorn her little Highness with every bit of finery that she can afford. Therefore baby jewelry today has a substantial market spanning across countries and continents. Although there are items of jewelry for the male baby such as chains, rings and buttons in countries like India, the focus of the baby jewelry industry in predominantly on the female baby. The ideal time for the mother to venture into any kind of jewelry would be after the first couple of years. Prior to that age, jewelry could be a dangerous proposition – earrings could snag in clothing, chains could strangle and rings could be swallowed.
After the child is two years old, some safe items of jewelry can be tried out. The bangle or bracelet is very popular child jewelry. Bangles are used in Asian countries while charm bracelets are more favored by the western countries. While a bangle or wristlet can seldom be a health hazard, care must be taken to see that there are no sharp edges or points which can scratch skin or snag in clothing. Baby bangles may be of gold, silver or sterling silver. Costume or imitation jewelry should never be used on baby skin as it could lead to allergy. Small bangles are usually kept open with rounded ends so that it is easier to wear and take off. Bracelets may have letter blocks spelling the child’s name or little jingles or beads which can be appealing to the child. Baby bracelets may have rounded Swarovski crystals, glass beads and pearls. Excessive care should be exercised when the bracelet is worn so that the baby does not pull, bite or swallow the small parts. At the time of purchase one must ensure that the charms on a bracelet are tightly woven in and clasps are safe. Pin latches or sharp clasps should necessarily be avoided.
Baby earrings are also very popular as these are the only items of jewelry that the baby is unaware of and therefore the baby is usually very comfortable wearing them. The best time to have the child’s ear pierced is between one to three years. The pierced area has to be monitored daily for about a month after the piercing to check for signs of infection. Earrings for very small babies are mostly of a single metal. The shape has to be a rounded, edgeless one and ball shaped studs are the most preferred variety. Tiny gemstones may also be worn – rubies, emeralds, diamonds and freshwater pearls being the chosen ones. If the baby tends to fiddle with the earring, rings should be avoided and studs should be used. The back push of the stud should also be rounded to avoid skin injury. It should not be too tight as it may cause discomfort but must be clasped securely. Long or heavy earrings should never be used on small children as they are neither functional nor aesthetically suited to babies. Rings or hoops are also worn by many babies but extreme care has to be taken to see that the loop is not large enough for the baby to put in a finger and tug.
Chains can be worn by babies only on occasions and under strict supervision. Since they pose a threat of strangulation, care must be taken to see that babies do not play with or pull the chain. Children should never go to sleep wearing chains. Gold or silver chains are good choices for children. Chains may also be interspersed with colored beads to brighten them up. “Meenakari” work is popular in India and looks colorful on chains. In this craft, paint is embossed on gold and silver giving it the look of a precious stone. It is a good substitute for gems which are too expensive to be invested in where children’s jewelry is concerned. Cross pendants and religious lockets are popular christening gifts. Heart-shaped and teddy bear lockets make charming newborn girl gifts. Cute, light necklaces are great for special occasions but must be securely fastened when worn. Baby necklaces are usually items of sentiment and are attached to memories of special occasions. These are often passed down generations.
In India, the anklet (payal) is a huge favorite for baby girls. It is catching favor in the other eastern and European countries, too. Anklets are usually made of silver or alloys and has tiny tinkling bells attached. They are also interlaid with colorful beads and make very well-liked baby ceremony presents.
Baby jewelry must at all costs be hypoallergenic. Baby skin is too delicate to take risks with. Jewelry with lead should never be used on children as it can lead to lead poisoning. Items of children’s jewelry should also be bright, visually appealing and stimulating to the child. It is a great idea to match baby jewelry with the mother’s jewelry. It lends a cute touch and adds a sentimental dimension. However, exorbitant jewelry need not be purchased for children as they could be accidentally spoilt, lost or damaged through wear and tear. Baby jewelry (except the earring) is best for occasions and not everyday wear.
It is a fact that children’s jewelry ranging from baby to teen has become so popular that retailers of kids’ jewelry see a golden future ahead. Companies like Jewelcor, Balfours and Josten’s and even Wal-Mart are carrying separate display counters for 10 karat and 14 karat fine gold juvenile jewelry. The variety and range of products are also seeing a burgeoning trend.
From babyhood through pre-teens to their young adulthood, little girls will always love dressing up. So go ahead – invest in beauty and sentiment that is precious; let the golden aura of her baby jewelry adorn the priceless gem of your heart. Let her baby jewelry remind her of all the special moments of her childhood and be an expression of your boundless love for your little bundle of joy.