IF YOU'RE LOOKING for stunning jewelry–no matter the price–these shops have it, along with knowledgeable salesclerks and good reputations.
Chas. Schwartz & Son, Mazza Gallerie, 5300 Wisconsin Ave., 202-363-5432; 1400 F St., NW, Willard Intercontinental Hotel, 202-737-4757; charlesschwartzjewelers.com. If you've seen it in a magazine ad, chances are you'll find it at this high-end family-owned shop. Contemporary pieces like the Right Hand Ring and the Hearts of Fire diamond collections sell side by side with estate gems like Victorian pink diamond earrings, cameos, and cufflinks.
I. Gorman Jewelers, 1120 20th St., NW; 202-775-8544; igorman.com. One of Washington's most trusted jewelers, this family-owned business also sells some of the area's most distinctive gems, with a selection of contemporary, artisan-crafted jewelry you won't find everywhere else.
Pampillonia Jewelry, 1213 Connecticut Ave., NW, 202-628-6305; Mazza Gallerie, 5300 Wisconsin Ave., 202-363-6305; pampillonia.com. Pampillonia exudes an old-world, old-money aura. The Pampillonia family–now in its fifth generation as jewelers–knows diamonds and colored gemstones. The pieces, made of platinum and 18-karat gold at the Connecticut Avenue location, are exquisite and finely crafted, and engagement-ring settings are unique. If you want chunky gold earrings, you'll find a nice selection. Don't be put off by the expensive feel. A black-pearl pendant with a tiny diamond and platinum chain was $1,400, priced comparably to similar necklaces we've seen.
Tiffany & Company, 8045 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, 703-893-7700; 5500 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase, 301-657-8777; tiffany.com. The designs are classic, the reputation flawless. "You won't find anything mediocre at Tiffany," says one appraiser. Sure, you pay a premium for those Elsa Peretti pendants, Paloma Picasso cuff bracelets, and diamond solitaires. At least the pieces hold their value–and for some women, only that blue box will do.
Tiny Jewel Box, 1147 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-393-2747; tinyjewelbox.com. This high-end shop is known for vintage, but it also has dazzling designs by Alex Sepkus, Cathy Waterman (worn by Gwyneth and Julia), and more than 50 other American and European names. Don't see what you want? Ask. There are 11,000 pieces in inventory and not on display. This full-service jeweler also sells giftware–it's where the White House shops.