The art of gift giving is a simple-complex system. There's many things that can go wrong, but it can be an impossible task to predict just what is going to let your gift turn into a cascading nightmare. What seems like a simple gift can create a multitude of issues, some of which may stabilize on the opinions of others and then, later, create their own issues down the road. Stories of catastrophic gifts linger in the familial and friend-circle imaginations.
Many people try to offset these risks by setting price limits, getting gift certificates, or making their gifts by hand. All good options, but with obvious drawbacks under certain circumstances. Price limits can lead to cheapened gifts that don't last, great for Secret Santa fodder but probably no going to result in a keepsake. Gift certificates can betray the idea that you don't really know as much about the person as you probably should, depending on the type of shop (gift certificates are great for clothing or crafting supplies, but if it's something you want the person to think of you when they use it then maybe not the best option). Making gifts by hand requires time and skills that sometimes you just might be lacking in the moment. If time gets away from you then rushing a hand-made item makes it look like a children's art class project when you were aiming for a masterpiece.
So what else is a good option? Have you considered antiques and estate pieces? They're often less expensive than buying a new piece. They have history that the recipient can become a part of and they have already withstood the tests of time so far (not to say it may not be fragile, but that with proper care it will last). Many are one-of-a-kind or of a limited edition.
Other points can also be made for buying historical instead of new. These items already exist so no new resources are going into making them. No additional carbon footprint, no new chemicals, no continuing labor issues. Take estate jewelry for example: these pieces do not require new gems to be dug from the ground or labor to dig, transport or smuggle.
When you buy a historic piece, you know where your money is going: to the previous owner (or their estate) and to the local shop you buy the piece in. You're not contributing to an industry that you, or the person you're giving the item to, might find questionable. Your money stays in the community.
Next there's cost. Items in shops like this one range widely. Some items are as low as $4.00USD and others are in the tens of thousands. It requires a bit of time to look through everything, but that's where the shop keeper comes in. They will tell you what's in your price range. They might even be willing to give you a deal and they will tell you the history of the items you're interested in. This is part of the experience of shopping in an antiques and estate sales shop.
So returning to the jewelry example, Rings in this shop start at $15.00USD for simple sterling silver. They come as-is and may need to be resized by a professional jeweler to fit, but this is affordable for most people and the low price means that any resizing isn't going to eat your budget or your gift recipient's budget. If your budget is higher then there are other options with precious stones, different metals, and designs. All are lower priced than what you would find for equivalent in a jewelry store that only deals in new pieces. The costs of creation, transportation, and discovery were paid decades earlier by the original owner and are not being passed on. Many shops also offer layaway (lay-by) so you can space payments out.
We live in an era where 'history' has become popular. Reality television shows about antique pickers and dealers, pawn brokers, and restorers are extremely popular. Unfortunately, the popularity of these shows makes it seem as though owning antique and estate items is out of reach to the average person, but this isn't the case. Check out your local antique and estate selling shops. Give the gift of a piece of history this holiday season!