Gifts & Gets: Finding fabulous gifts for those who seemingly have it all can be a challenge at best - even if the gift recipient is your self. Each month I scour the luxury marketplace to uncover new, innovative and otherwise exemplary must haves - the best-of-the-best across a range of product categories. The gift-and-get-worthy goods that make The Luxe List cut a mix of tasteful, trendy, and high quality commodities - some extravagant, some practical - that are all sure to please.
Consider this month's favorite finds:
Classic Collection Tahitian Pearl Ring - $455 Shop PearlParadise.com, the world's largest online pearl purveyor, and you'll find a dizzying assortment of jewelry featuring its honorary namesake gem. Among the barrage of brilliant offerings is its "classic collection" Tahitian pearl ring that, with an understated yet elegant 3mm 14-karat gold band, duly showcases the luminescent AAA-quality 11-12mm black pearl majestically perched on top.
Minimalist in design and free of visual distractions, this ring solely displays the pure organic beauty of a single exotic Tahitian pearl - now the second most valuable commercially farmed type of pearl worldwide. Unlike black freshwater and black Akoya pearls that have been irradiated or dyed, Tahitians come by their dramatic dark color naturally.
PearlParadise.com's "classic collection" Tahitian pearl ring is offered in a variety of overtones - peacock, silver, green or copper - each more gorgeous than the next, and in a selection of golds - white, yellow or rose. While the suggested retail price for this regal ring is $2,280.00, PearlParadise.com offers it and its other posh pearl wares of all types, shapes, sizes and designs for up to 80% less - just $455 in this case. In fact, this company guarantees its Tahitian pearls are the finest in the world. I've seen this particular ring up close and personal and can attest this guarantee is being dutifully upheld. All of PearlParadise.com's pieces are hand-crafted, and strands painstakingly matched, in its Los Angeles office.
And, for the trivia buffs, the exotic black pearls derived from the black-lip oyster known as Tahitian pearls actually don't come from Tahiti. These black-lip pearls are actually farmed in French Polynesia, with Tahiti serving as the main trading post for atolls that produce them. While other countries farm black-lip pearls, only those grown in French Polynesia may be called Tahitian. (www.pearlparadise.com)
Art of Possibility Studios "Chocolate Box" Hanging Wall Tapestry - $179 Delicious Décor? Finally, art and chocolate unite in this tasty "chocolate box" hanging wall tapestry featuring work by the acclaimed blind painter Ketra Oberlander. This 53"x53" woven tapestry of Oberlander's painting humorously titled "My Future Thighs" - one of Ketra's "Chocolates" series works now in a private collection in the U.K. - graces a room with visual interest and a spirited sensibility. Its neutral, natural color scheme complements most homes. ), the quality of this tapestry will enrich and enliven a living, dining or bedroom area. Go ahead, indulge!
Through her ground-breaking art brand Art of Possibility Studio, Ketra is helping herself and other disabled artists earn an autonomous, independent living through their craft - this tapestry, which showcases Ketra's Art of Possibility Studios' licensed imagery, exemplifies this achievement. (www.aopstudios.com)
Jenny Krauss Designer Hand Woven and Embroidered Pillows - $120 - $150 Designer Jenny Krauss offers a distinctive line of giftware, fashion and home décor products that provide much-needed support to the Peruvian and Bolivian artisans that hand craft her designs. Among her collection are stunning hand woven and embroidered pillows. Crafted by hand in Ayacucho, Peru, these 100% wool pillows feature two different whimsical, vibrantly colored designs sure to brighten any space. Each are backed with black cotton, close with a zipper, and come with a down insert. The pillows come in two sizes: large 18" x 18" and small 10" x 13".
Jenny Krauss is a "social entrepreneur" fostering cause-conscious commerce that helps the greater good. She provides financial and emotional support to more than 500 Bolivian and Peruvian female artisans, some impoverished and abused, who have exceptional skills but little or no job opportunity. By hiring these extraordinarily talented women to meticulously hand-craft her various designs, Jenny Krauss liberates and empowers them with a source of income along with an overriding sense of self-worth and accomplishment. While fostering a delightful interior design aesthetic, these playful pillows offer far more than meets the eye. (www.harrietandleo.com)
Wrinkleband - $99 For those who want to put their best face forward without surgery, Botox or other invasive techniques, the Wrinkleband may be up your alley. It's a non-invasive head band used to soften forehead lines, diminish the appearance of frown lines, prevent wrinkles, and give you a more youthful look overall. The Wrinkleband is also great for those tired of spending money on anti-aging lotions, creams and elixirs that over-promise and under-deliver, or on other wrinkle interventions that may be uncomfortable and leave tape residue behind.
The Wrinkleband exerts a light pressure on the forehead, and can be used with or without the "riserband" attachment (included) that isolates areas in need of special attention. And, you don't have to be asleep to use it. Since it works in minutes, you can wear your Wrinkleband just before going out to even out your appearance. But, be realistic. The Wrinkleband does not completely eradicate lines and wrinkles but, especially for those with deep set lines, it can make a dramatic difference in your appearance. (www.wrinkleband.com)
Tandem 2006 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay - $45-$50 per bottle More than 25 years of winemaking experience and study has culminated in Greg La Follette's Tandem label, under which Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and other varietals are lovingly cultivated at his boutique winery located in the heart of California's wine country. Greg's impressive industry resume, genuine passion for wine and dedication to mastering the vintning craft have resulted in an impressive array of accolades, including Food & Wine magazine's designation of Tandem Winery's Sangiacomo Vineyards Pinot Noir as one of the top 30 Pinots in the world.
I recently had the opportunity to taste Tandem's dramatic 2006 Van der Kamp Vineyard Pinot Noir, made from grapes produced at the highest vineyard on the Sonoma Mountain farmed by a family that has been making wine for over four decades. And, wow, what a multi-sensory adventure this was! From the tasting notes: Aromas are of smoked venison, roasted meats, dark-roasted coffee and dark, almost tropical yet still berry-like fruits and a kind of visceral, exciting muskiness. On the palate the excitement continues with dark tones and roasted chicory and exotic, darkly spicy fruits. The palate is downright hedonistic with textural lushness and seductively rich and layered tannins. The plush presentation absolutely caresses your tongue, as only Pinot noir in its most sexy state can do. Enjoy the long-lived, hearty wine for many, many years to come.
Not to be outdone, Tandem's 2006 Kent Richie Vineyard Chardonnay - silver medal winner at the 2009 San Francisco International Wine Competition - is equally complex, provocative and representative of this winemaker's skill. From the tasting notes: Moderate straw color greets the eye, befitting of our oxidative techniques to reduce need for SO2 and increase mouthfeel. This theme carries forward in the nose and mouth, with peaches, apricots, and a creaminess on both aroma and palate. Keeping with the vintage, there is a weight and length that speaks to a touch of "the noble rot" that we saw in the vineyard, with a smooth but strong mid-to-late palate finish that echoes the yellow fruits and glycerin. This wine will be a medium-term ager, giving great pleasure now through 2012. (www.tandemwinery.com)
DivaDo Hair Insert - $25-$30 Do you like that diva look but hate having to endlessly tease and tatter, or use a ton of gel and hairspray, to get voluminous hair? If so, the DivaDo is for you! These nifty hair inserts are a cost-effective, painless, and easy way to achieve hair volume without having to resort to damaging styling products or teasing methods...or inconvenient salon appointments.
Designed for busy women who want to instantly achieve a glam hairstyle with out having to crate a "rats-nest" underneath it all, DivaDo works in an instant. This surgical-grade, BPA-free and hypo-allergenic silicon cup has a small comb affixed to the inside, and attaches to the hair quite securely so you can still be active while looking oh so fabulous! DivaDo is available in three colors - brown, black, or natural - and two styles - "The Audrey" for classic sophistication and "The Brigitte" for a sensual and playful look. (www.divadohair.com)
- Merilee Kern
JustLuxé.com's "The Luxe List" Executive Review Editor
The Luxe List product, service and travel review editor Merilee Kern scours the luxury marketplace for new and captivating "musts." Submissions accepted via e-mail at Merilee@JustLuxe.com.
JustLuxe is a luxury Web publication providing objective analysis and information to affluent consumers to assist with their decision making, such as chartering a yacht, purchasing a jet membership card, booking a luxury hotel, traveling to a specific destination, or buying real estate. Our writers conduct interviews with industry executives and leaders in their fields, analyze product offerings and review the Web sites of leading companies to ensure our readers have up-to-date data to make informed decisions. Consumers can find purveyors of fine luxury goods, services and travel solutions throughout the pages of JustLuxe via content or with our advertising partners. See our Best of Luxury high-end brands and partners.