Jewelry can seem like the perfect gift for a loved one for any number of occasions, from birthdays and anniversaries; to Valentine's Day. But what about as a gift for friends and coworkers? Is the gift of unusual handmade jewelry too personal? The true answer is that it depends on the situation. If a coworker from across the office that you say hi to at the coffee maker gets a promotion, giving jewelry is probably not the appropriate response. A verbal congratulations or even a greeting card would be best.
What it comes down to is how well you know the person. Jewelry is a personal item, so you want to make sure you know their taste and style before you make that purchase. The whole point of giving unusual handcrafted jewelry is so that the person has something special to add to their collection and hopefully they'll wear it often. As an example, if you don't know someone well enough to know that they don't care for yellow gold and then you buy them a yellow gold piece, then jewelry was a good idea for a gift.
But if your co-worker also happens to be a good friend, then jewelry can be a great choice for a gift. And the same guidelines fit for friends too. If the friend is more of an acquaintance, then you probably don't know their style well enough to pick a piece of unusual handmade jewelry that they'll love and wear. You should know them well enough to scan through a bunch of unusual handcrafted jewelry on a website and say, "she would totally wear that" when you see the right piece.
Part of knowing a person's style is noticing the kind of jewelry your friend wears on a day-to-day basis. If she wears a lot of flashy jewelry or dresses in clothes with a lot of beading or flashy detail, a nice cocktail ring or bib necklace might be a good choice. If her jewelry and wardrobe are a little more understated, a thin necklace or a small pair of earrings would work. Also look at the colors they tend to wear. If she wears more neutrals and warm colors, stay away from jewelry with cool colors. If she wears a lot of patterns, choose unusual handmade jewelry with one type of gemstone or something with pearls or just metals.
And, of course, don't forget the presentation. Put the jewelry in a nice box, even if it did come with one, wrap it up and put it with a thoughtful card. Your friend or co-worker is sure to be touched!