On my first Valentine's Day with my now-fiancé, before we left for our date, I grabbed the bag holding his present and asked if he wanted to exchange gifts before or after dinner; his face fell as he explained that he thought the flowers were the gift. In case you too are an alien that doesn't understand how traditional relationship customs work, let me help you out: Flowers are a gesture, not a gift. Gifts come in boxes, and around Valentine's Day the boxes are often very small.

There's no mandate to buy jewelry on Valentine's Day. Not everyone is a jewelry person, and there are plenty of guys and girls out there who'd be happier with something more closely tied to their interests. Jewelry is simply the lingua franca of romance because it is impractical, and also because it is so damn sparkly, and if you don't know what else to give, it's usually a good place to start.

So, as our gift to you, we've gathered gems from over 25 of Houston's best jewelry designers, in all different styles, at all different price points, whether you're looking to get down on one knee or just to delight your date. Now for the flowers, you're on your own.

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