Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Only Watch 2009

Watch lovers take note: The Only Watch 2009 auction will be hitting the block this September in Monaco, and the pieces up for grabs look fantastic. (See the chart above) If you haven't heard of it before, Only Watch is an annual event that features limited edition and one-of-a-kind watches from a huge selection of the world's best watchmakers.

Even better, this event is totally for charity. According to the site: Under the high patronage of HSH Prince Albert II, 34 of the most prestigious high watchmaking brands have donated unique timepieces to the Association Monégasque contre le Myopathie, to be sold at auction by Patrizzi & Co. All the proceeds of the sale go to support research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Want an example of one of the watches available? Above is Patek Philippe's celestial-themed watch in 18-karat rose gold with a dark blue alligator strap. So what does it do? Interestingly, it tells you what the night sky looks like from Geneva (where the watch was made.) Besides the position of the moon and stars, the watch also tells you the solar time and some other neat functions.

Love timepieces? Be sure to check out Only Watch 2009. You can also shop Portero's excellent selection of Patek Philippe.

Image via Only Watch 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

Giverny at H Stern

Today I thought I'd bring you some gorgeous Monday Eye Candy in the form of H. Stern's new Giverny collection.

The designs take their inspiration from the city where painter Claude Monet lived and worked on his famous private gardens until his death in 1926. His gardening style was far from organized--in fact, Monet loved a lush mix of plants, flowers and trees that ran wild like English gardens. He also admired the Japanese style and included bamboo and weeping willows as part of his design.

The pieces here (rings, earrings and pendants) in gold and gemstones really have the look and feel of the delicate lily pads that Monet loved to paint.

Want to see more H. Stern? Portero carries a beautiful selection of jewelry from the Brazilian jeweler.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jewelia at the Jewelry Information Center

Last week was the Jewelry Information Center's (JIC) annual luncheon, and in addition to seeing some beautiful jewelry, a group of fabulous women were also on the afternoon's agenda. You might remember my post about a book called The Necklace--well, six of the women featured in the book were on hand to speak about their experiences. (Including Dr. Roz Warner, above, whose month it was to wear the necklace!)

It was really fantastic to hear firsthand how 13 women sharing one diamond necklace (that they named Jewelia) became the starting point for a slew of personal changes and philanthropic endeavors. Besides all of the money they've raised and donated to various charities, it was truly moving to hear how the experience affected their marriages, careers and friendships.

If you haven't read the book yet, be sure to pick it up right here.
Here's Patti Channer, the host of the first meeting about the necklace:

And here's a picture of Jonell McLain, the woman who first found the necklace at Van Gundy Jewelers:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The New and Improved PORTERO

So, have you checked out our spanking-new look yet? Nice, right? Although the site may look fresh and streamlined, we've actually made quite a few major changes to Portero that we think will make shopping easier and more fun.

First, you may have noticed that all of the items for sale are at a fixed price. We launched this new version of Portero with only E-commerce, which means that you can buy what you want right away--no need to wait for an auction to close. Don't worry, we still have the same amazing values that we did before, but now you can experience instant gratification!

(If you loved the exciting auction format--it'll be back and better than ever soon enough. We'll keep you posted.)

We really want to hear YOUR feedback, so please take some time to browse around the site and tell us what you think. Whether it's praise or constructive criticism, we appreciate all of the comments that you think will help make Portero the best place to shop for luxury goods online.

Happy shopping!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Traveling in Style

I just spied this insane six-piece set of Bottega Veneta alligator luggage that will run you a mere $157,000. What's that--you say you're a bit short? Don't worry, you can buy individual pieces at prices ranging from $23,000 to $47,000.

You might sense the sarcasm in my tone, but in all honesty, these are probably some of the most durable, beautiful and well-crafted suitcases available. Portero often highlights exotic skin accessories, in part because of their opulence but also for their fantastic resale value and ability to withstand the elements.

Some more details on the collection: Each piece (including a beauty case and a duffle bag) is made of noce fume soft-finished alligator skin and features burnished metal hardware with reinforced corners and locks. We have a big selection of Bottega Veneta, including a gorgeous Bottega Veneta Burgundy Crocodile Two-Part Folding Handbag.

Also, don't forget to check out our fantastic collection of designer luggage.

Via Luxist

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dads getting shafted?

I just came across this great editorial on CNN (from Parenting.com) written by a Dad who feels like Father's Day gifts aren't as important as those given to Moms.

Here's what author Geoff Williams has to say:

Yet I think we dads merit at least a little more than boxer shorts, soap-on-a-rope, and neckties. We don't get the good stuff because we're paying for the sins of our fathers, and our fathers' fathers. But these days, dads are changing diapers, warming bottles, and taking our kids to the park. We may not be where you want us yet, but we've evolved, and we're involved. Just as much as the moms, we appreciate the cards, the praise, and being treated special on our day.

I agree! That's why I splurged on a Tag Heuer watch (from Portero.com of course) for my Dad this year. I'm getting married this summer, and I thought it would be a nice way to make up for all of the presents in the past that have been lacking as well as showing him how much I appreciate all he's doing for my wedding.

Have you gotten Dad anything yet? There's still time! Here's some links:

Best Values Watches

Monday, June 15, 2009

True Blue

It's been a very good month for jewelry. Industry insiders are pointing to two big sales (and two big blue diamonds) as a sign that the luxury market is slowly regaining some momentum. Last month, a Sotheby's auction saw a 7.03-carat flawless vivid-blue diamond go for a record-setting $9.49 million. And just this past week, Christie's sold the 6.29-carat fancy-intense-blue stone above for a cool $3.6 million.

Now, don't get me wrong, good blue diamonds will always sell. They are exceedingly rare and very special. But in general, the market for colored diamonds has just been going up and up. Brown diamonds used to be a hard sell--now marketed as cognacs and champagnes, they seem far more fashionable. Designers are also using tiny colored diamonds (blues and greens) as accents or micropave around other stones.

If you read this blog much, you'll know that my own engagement ring is a colored diamond. The natural fancy brown-yellow (the second color is the dominant one) center stone is a definite conversation piece. Here are a few colored diamond pieces on Portero that are fantastic:

Jeri Cohen 18k White Gold 6.5 ctw Champagne & White Diamond Flower Bracelet

GIA Certified Platinum 1.81 ctw Fancy Yellow Oval Diamond Ring sz 6

18k White Gold Brown & White Diamond Hoop Earrings & Brooch Set

Friday, June 12, 2009

Burberry & Hermione

I was actually really excited to see the new Mario Testino-shot Burberry ads featuring actress Emma Watson (Hermione Granger for you Harry Potter Fans). She has clearly grown into a gorgeous young woman, and I have lately really been admiring her personal fashion choices. She's very much unlike many of the young stars--she wears age-appropriate clothes, natural-looking makeup, and hasn't seemed to let her millions of dollars go directly to her head.

Although the male models surrounding Emma do seem really young (which makes me feel old!), I like the youthful approach that Burberry is taking. The British brand often has a staid, conservative feel and these images show that the clothes can certainly be just as hip and chic as the upstarts.

And really, who wouldn't want to have a classic Burberry trench or scarf as part of their wardrobe?

See the rest of the campaign below, and click right here to see Portero's selection of authentic Burberry merchandise.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Distinctive Dads

To go along with today's new homepage, I thought I'd do a quick roundup of some of Portero's best buys for all kinds of Dads. Any of these would be a great way to celebrate the man in your life, and they are truly some of the best values we offer.

For the Sporty Dad:

Ebel E-Type Chronograph Stainless Steel Automatic Men's E9137C51 Watch. This has it all: A chronograph function, a rubber strap and a stainless steel case to withstand the elements.

For the High-Tech Dad:

Breitling Aerospace Chronograph Titanium Quartz Men’s E65062 Watch. Some guys just love all the bells and whistles. This model has a titanium case and black dial that houses the digital analog chronograph.

For the Collector Dad:

You could never go wrong with this IWC Pilot Chronograph Platinum Men's Automatic Watch. Its platinum case, alligator band and highly technical chronograph function means it'll stay in the family for years.

For the Retro Dad:

If identifies with the old Hollywood stars and he loves the look of Mad Men, try this Dunhill Facet Stainless Steel Quartz Men's Watch. The rectangular face and subtle brown leather band will never go out of style.

For the Artsy Dad:

If high design is one of his priorities, go for this stylized Grimoldi Borgonovo Stainless Steel Automatic Men's Watch. The graphic black and white color scheme partnered with the oversized '12' and '6' make for a real conversation piece.

To see all of our best values in watches, click right here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Art Basel turns 40

If you are at all enamored with the world of contemporary art, then you've no doubt heard of Art Basel, the leading exhibition for of its kind. Held in Basel, Switzerland each year, the event features almost 300 galleries, 2,500 individual artists and a wide range of styles from the founders of Modern art to emerging stars.

It starts tomorrow and runs through the 14th, but if you can't make it all the way to Switzerland, the show offers a really cool online catalog where you can check out what will be on exhibit.

Here's the info for the artwork above, which will be on display in Hall 2.1:

Georgina Starr
A New Life (Without You), I am a record, 2009
Single-sided 12” vinyl record and artwork
Pencil and ink on card

Portero has a really lovely selection of art, a lot of which is contemporary in nature. Click here to check out our inventory!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Louis Vuitton Journeys

I am a really big fan of Louis Vuitton's new ad campaign--aptly called Journeys--that shows some very familiar faces in far-flung locales with their well-worn LV travel accessories. Above we have the newest of the bunch that features astronauts Sally Ride, Buzz Aldrin and Jim Lovell star-gazing.

The previous ads, also shot by Annie Leibovitz, feature Sean Connery and the Coppolas (Directors Francis Ford and his daughter Sophia) and are true lifestyle shots. If you want to see a little behind-the-scenes peek at the latest shoot, just click the video below. (Another exciting tidbit: All three astronauts donated a large portion of their fees to Al Gore's Climate Project.)

To see all the previous Journeys, click right here.

To view Portero's selection of guaranteed Louis Vuitton merchandise, click right here.

Images via Louis Vuitton

Friday, June 5, 2009

Vegas part 3

This year in Vegas felt kind of like a trip to Tucson (where the gem dealers all converge once a year to buy and sell stones) because of the use of unusual minerals and materials designers were using. Take, for example, Italian designer Frederica Rettore, who studied art and sculpture before designing jewelry. I loved her Madagascar cow horn flower bracelet (above) as well as her Boulder opal pendant in steel and gold with diamonds (below).

Last year I absolutely fell in love with the designs of another Italian, Lucifer Vir Honestus. Her carved mammoth ivory dragon cuff was totally spectacular:

I am also smitten with the fanciful work of San Diego-based Katey Brunini. How can you not love these wild boar and nubian ibex pendants made from moose antler? They are wearing diamond and pearl necklaces and have 18-karat gold horns. Adorable!

Lastly (for today), I had to show you just how simple and spectacular some stones can be. This necklace by Anna Ruth Henriques was just chunks of natural pyrite strung together and made special with her tiny spider signature in 18-karat gold. (It's sitting on my notepad--this is how I remember all of the beautiful bits and baubles I see!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Must-Have Handbags

Today we're highlighting our brand new selection of Portero Specials: these are Haute Totes that have no lack of covet factor. You might know all about some of the big names on the list (can you say Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent?) but we also have some edgier names that definitely deserve attention.

Jane August (her Mustard Yellow Patent Leather Mock-Crocodile Lindemere Drive Bag is above) is brand new to Portero but her bags are no stranger to celebrities and press alike. Worn by Jennifer Lopez and featured by The New York Times, August's gorgeous handbags are handmade and use only the finest Italian leathers and skins.

New York-based Devi Kroell has been making handbags since 2004, and her popularity is only growing. Much of her design aesthetic is based on her multinational upbringing: during her childhood, she spent time in places like Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Switzerland, Israel, France and Italy. Her Python Hobo is her signature, and we have one available.

What started as a limited edition set of brocade handbags has turned into the full line of Kotur. Now that the designer Fiona Kotur Martin has expanded into daytime handbags and totes (as well as footwear), there are a lot more ways to enjoy this up-and-coming brand.

Click here to see all of our Most-Wanted Handbags.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Vegas Part 2: Sevan

I'm back with another update from the aisles of Vegas. And just wait until you see what we have in store today...

First, one of the most innovative and talented jewelers working today: Sevan. I've spoken about him before on this blog, so definitely click on the link to re-read the backstory on this Turkish artist before taking a look at his newest jewels.

Now, behold the absolute GORGEOUSNESS that are some of the newest pieces. Sevan's work is mainly based on the architecture, nature and mythical history of his homeland, so each of these rings have a meaning. (I took these on my own finger, so you'll get a good idea of scale as well. Click to enlarge and really see the details.)

These rings are all completely one-of-a-kind, can take up to a year to make, and are set with diamonds, precious gems and the occasional stunning baroque pearl (above). The rings you see with pictures inside are completely hand-carved from underneath in a process that that continues to astound me. Believe me, if you ever get to try one on you'll immediately want to become a collector.