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Jennifer Montana Teaches Us How to Buy Jewelry for Mom

Jennifer and Joe Montana, photo via <a href="">Jennifer Montana Design</a>
Jennifer and Joe Montana, photo via Jennifer Montana Design

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If you ask your mother why she wore the macaroni necklaces you made her as a child with her best outfits, she'll tell you that she treasured those necklaces. In reality, we suspect the real reason was that you looked at her with sad eyes on her way out of the house and said, "But what about the necklace I made you?" It's time to make amends, and give mom a gift that's chic (and non-edible). But let's face it. There's still plenty of room for error because buying jewelry for someone else is hard.

If you're planning to buy mom jewelry as a holiday gift this year, we've brought you professional help: Bay Area designer Jennifer Montana has some tips that will increase the chances mom will really mean it this year when she says she loves it.

Jewelry design is a new career path for Jennifer, who has long been recognized for her charity work and, you know, being married to Niners legend Joe Montana. These days, she's combining design and philanthropy through Jennifer Montana Design, a line inspired by her four kids. It's going pretty well: She was recently honored at the Wender Weis Foundation for Children's Holiday Heroes event, where she also did a major launch to benefit the Four Rings Montana Family Foundation. And she just had a trunk show at Neiman Marcus in Union Square. (No big deal.)

An assortment of Jennifer Montana's necklaces. Image via Facebook.

Since Jennifer has an insider's perspective on what mothers want, we asked her for tips on buying jewelry for moms. She says the best way to select a gift is to choose a gift with meaning. "The message should be that you love and respect her. A gift to your mom is always a gift from the heart: It doesn't have to be expensive as long as it shows her what she means to you."

Got it. Sentimental. Meaningful. Message. But how does that translate into jewelry?

Jennifer's designs, for example, are stamped with "meaningful and motivational words." For her clients, Jennifer suggests finding a necklace with a word that reminds you of your mom to show her what she means to you. And if you're shopping a line which, like JMD, benefits charitable causes—her pieces are produced by Harbor House residents and 80 percent of her net profits go to charity—tell your mom about the do-good aspect of the gift. It will make her feel warm and fuzzy when she wears the piece.

Even if the bauble you select doesn't benefit a charity, your mother will appreciate a piece that has a connection to your life. Live in the Castro? Consider something from your neighbor (and Racked Award winner) Fiat Lux. Frequent North Beach? Then check out the Scorpion Sisters selection at Metis Makers. Like Oakland the slow fashion movement? Patronize one of the artisans of the 25th Street Collective. You get the idea. Designs that are meaningful to you will be meaningful to your mom.

And if all else fails, you can always go retro and string up some macaroni—just make sure to practice your big-eyed look.
· Jennifer Montana Design [Official Site]
· Elevate Your Sparkle With Annabelle Rey's Celestial Jewelry [Racked]
· All Holiday 2013 Posts [Racked SF]