When working with a client to discern their personal style, do you ever administer a personality test? If not, you may want to start because it can reveal more than you might realize about your client’s tastes.

Calla Gold of Calla Gold Jewelry in Santa Barbara, California, thinks that one’s jewelry style is an amalgamation of “opinions, lifestyle, and sense of beauty.” When trying to determine her clients’ fashions, she first pays attention to the way they’re dressed. Then, she checks to see whether her impression was correct by inviting them to describe their clothing preferences, lifestyles, and jobs. “I ask them if they like certain details and then show them bold, engraved, vintage, simple, and textured examples that I have in different pieces of jewelry,” she says. “Their responses help me hone in on their personal style, whether they can articulate it or not.”

Then, to convert their tastes into a design aesthetic, she quizzes them about their preferred style of car and home. “I ask, ‘If you won the lottery, what car would you choose? Is it smooth and racy? Is it simple? Is it flashy? Is it colorful? Are there straight lines or are they aggressively curvy ones? If that lottery win also allowed you to buy your dream home, what would its outside front entry look like? Greek? Colonial? Modern? Victorian?’ Architectural loves can help you determine what they’d like in a piece.”

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Their responses help her to narrow the design options. For example, for clients who like cars with sleek lines, Gold finds that they tend to prefer high-polish pieces, as opposed to ones with a rustic final finish. Gold believes that customers who envision a Greek entryway on their dream home are drawn toward larger pieces with bolder themes. Once she has a sense of her client’s taste and style aesthetic, she’s then able to create a piece perfectly suited to them.

Not sure if you’re on the right track with your questions? When in doubt, just keep asking. Getting it right is always in fashion.