The New Wow Factor By Hal Rubenstein

December 15, 2015
We can’t help ourselves.  It’s how we are wired, conditioned by countless movies, television shows, commercials, magazine ads, and almost everywhere else we look. Thanks to non-stop visual stimuli, we believe and expect that when giving a gift to someone, you haven’t hit it out of the park unless the recipient of your generosity and affection experiences The Wow Factor. This is that moment when, upon tearing off the ribbon and the wrapping paper, his or her eyes suddenly grow large and glisten like fire opals, hands shake in spastic flutter, and a screech escapes a smile that has widened almost touching each lobe. And when this near hysteria occurs, you instantly feel like the North Star of your giftee’s world.
Admit it. You’ve imagined it. We all do. Why not? The problem is that in pursuit of this fevered goal, one’s eager, well-intentioned efforts have a tendency to overshoot the mark. For example, come upon a lush, rich, deep navy cashmere sweater. But dark blue doesn’t make the heart race. So you think, “I know. I’ll buy the turquoise one instead!” even though you’ve have never seen him or her wear that color. Yeah, when that box is opened – Wowza! No? Perhaps. More likely, you just purchased prime regifting material.


A similar miscalculation occurs when people go to buy jewelry. It’s not enough that it sparkles like early starlight or elicits the subtle rush of a stolen kiss. Nah, you want bigger, brighter, rock ‘em, sock ’em bling (gosh, I despise that word) that will practically burst out of the box saying, “Look at me!”  Well, maybe you do, if you are absolutely, positively sure that’s what your honey loves and craves, and wears with the throwaway panache of donning a boyfriend sweater. But more than likely, you’ll get your Wow Factor moment, it will be just, and only that. Almost immediately, the reality of earrings too 
rarified and elaborate for comfort, a ring that can’t ever fit inside a glove, a necklace that makes such a statement that it’s shouting in a workaday world set in. It’s great that these pieces look amazing in the box because that’s where they’re going to spend most of their long life, tucked into a special place in the top drawer. Now, where is the Wow in that?

What if, instead, you chose a piece of fine jewelry that boasted a different set of attributes? Like a pendant that set alluringly right in the clavicle. Or earrings, whose geometry was so cleverly crafted they gracefully dovetailed right into the jawline, or rings that stacked with such playful individuality that they were actually fun to wear. How different would your choice be if wearability, intricate craftsmanship, easy versatility, ergonomic harmony and striking simplicity of design headed your checklist rather than all that flash? Instead of the jewelry that says, “Look at me”, try opting for jewelry that when worn prompts the wearer to look in the mirror and think, “Look at me!” What if the Wow Factor generated eyes that crinkled in delight, cheeks gently flushing with warmth, and a knowing smile stifling the sweetest of giggles? That jewelry may never see the inside of that box again. And you just might become someone’s North Star for forever.