San Diego Magazine's Gift Guide
Collins Family Jewelers
When it comes to luxury items, there’s often no substitute for tradition. With that in mind, it would be difficult to top the Diamant line of watches by Baume & Mercier, as the sixth oldest Swiss watch company. Baume & Mercier’s heritage, dating back to 1830, speaks for itself.
The watchmaker strives to provide watches for people from all walks of life. The Diamant, however, retains classic looks with some contemporary features, making it a versatile timepiece for modern, fashion-forward women.
One of the Diamant’s unique signatures can be found on the crown. Most crowns you see are round; the Diamant’s is oval, with an added diamond.
“It’s such a feminine, classic-looking watch,” says Jacqui Ullmer, general manager of Collins Family Jewelers. “It’s also versatile and contemporary.”
Collins Family Jewelers carries the full line of Baume & Mercier watches, in addition to other fine timepieces and jewelry. The company recently remodeled its store from the floor up, and they hired an actual watchmaker, creating a state-ofthe- art watch lab in the process. Thus, Collins offers a true specialist for repairing and maintaining fine watches.
Collins Family Jewelers is located at 8220 Mira Mesa Boulevard, Suite A, in the Mira Mesa Mall
858-578-6670 | collinsfamilyjewelers.com
Alexander Perfumes & Fragrances
In a world where must-have luxury items seem to be available everywhere, quality can still be elusive. Alexander Perfumes & Fragrances in La Jolla proudly offers Bryant Park, a new line from New York–based perfume maker Bond No. 9.
The company’s exclusive line of 29 different fragrances can’t be found in every department store or corner of street, according to Alexander owner Alexander Bende.
This limited line of fragrances is legendary the world over. The unique ingredients give it originality, while the fact Bond No. 9 uses 20 to 22 percent oil in its perfumes—much higher than you’ll often find in other fragrances—means you can put it on in the morning and still notice the scent in the evening.
“Bond No. 9 invites people to play more with its fragrances, to be more open for it and use on top of each other,” says Bende. “You have to be more playful with it—that’s why we like it.”
Alexander Perfumes & Fragrances, long a fixture in downtown La Jolla, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year after opening in 1982. It enjoys its reputation as the premier store for beauty and scents. You’ll also find upscale lines of skin care and make-up products at Alexander Perfumes.
Alexander Perfumes & Fragrances is located at 7914 Girard in La Jolla
858-454-2292 | beautyandscents.com
Douce et Romantique
So you’d like to give a gift that has a certain je ne sais quoi? No need to book an express flight to Paris. Visit Encinitas-based Douce et Romantique, a seven-month-old boutique lingerie store carrying the latest in upscale undergarment fashion.
Owners Laurent and Frederique Shilde stock products from France, Italy and other locales—lingerie, swimwear, sleepwear and other fashions. The Shildes aim for apparel that’s a blend of sophistication and comfort with European spirit. The boudoir-style boutique also sells soaps, jewelry from Paris and select antique furniture that doubles as store décor.
“My wife, Frederique, buys all the products by herself with her feelings,” says Laurent. “The boutique is French style, and all the products have something special. It is the secret of our success.”
Though the Shildes receive new items for Douce et Romantique every week, they insist that each piece appeal to the emotions, while the Parisian jewelry must have a very French style.
Douce et Romantique is located at 937 South Coast Highway 101, Suite 101 in Encinitas. 760-632-8854.
Stuart Benjamin Jewelry Designs
Uncut stones are the latest hit in the gemology world, thanks to Stuart Benjamin Jewelry Designs. The store recently started carrying unique, fine-art jewelry by renowned goldsmith Todd Reed.
Reed uses raw, uncut diamonds set in sterling silver mixed with 18-karat gold. The look is often rustic—a bit ancient, a bit ethnic, even a bit earthy. According to the self-taught Reed, his line started as a way to question society about the idea of perceived value. While diamond companies’ ad campaigns often talk of “the most perfect diamond,” Reed believes his raw, uncut, unpolished diamonds with natural geometry are in fact the most perfect diamonds.
One interesting feature of this jewelry is women and men can wear the same ring—such is the unique style to Reed’s designs. According to Benjamin, customers, especially the younger crowd, are enjoying it.
Stuart Benjamin Jewelry Designs is located in Mission Valley’s Hazard Center. Having opened in 1997, the store is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Benjamin and partner Barbara Wasserstrom were both in the jewelry industry for 25 years prior to opening Stuart Benjamin Jewelry Designs.
Stuart Benjamin Jewelry Designs is located at
7510 Hazard Center Drive, Suite 4050 in Mission Valley
619-297-7666 | stuartbenjaminjewelry.com
Leo Hamel & Co.
San Diegans are an active bunch, and they want a good watch that will come in handy—whether they’re conquering mountains, running marathons or kayaking in the La Jolla Cove. Now’s a perfect time to give a fellow adventurer the T-Touch from Swiss watch maker Tissot.
This sports-oriented, water-resistant watch allows the wearer to select among the watch’s many features. By simply turning the bezel, the hands and digital display combine to provide the functions of chronograph, altimeter, compass, barometric pressure, temperature and alarm functions. The watch also comes in several different models with slight differences—a metal bracelet versus a rubber strap, for example.
And although this lightweight titanium timepiece is ideal for heart-pumping activities, its style also makes it suitable for the office, while its size allows it to fit under a shirt cuff.
“It’s a sports-oriented watch, but it’s still good-looking,” says Dano McCarthy from jeweler Leo Hamel & Co., the place to find this one-of-a-kind timepiece. Whether you’re down south or up north, Leo Hamel & Co.’s locations in Solana Beach’s Cedros Design District and in San Diego’s Old Town are convenient for everyone. The store specializes in an extensive line of high-end Swiss watches. It is also the exclusive representative for Hearts On Fire diamonds and other fine lines of jewelry.
Don’t think this watch is just for men: This model has been a hit with women, too. (Tissot isn’t making a separate piece for women.)
“I’ve sold a bunch to women because they’re wearing larger watches,” says McCarthy. “It’s a style that started in Italy a few years ago.”
Leo Hamel & Co. is located at 1851 San Diego Avenue, 619- 299-1500, in Old Town and 415 South Cedros, 858-509-5900, in Solana Beach | leohamel.com
Tango by Cherie Dori
Harold Steven’s Jewelers
Jewelry that can be worn day or night speaks to the virtues of both usefulness and transcending beauty.
Whether worn on a casual day of shopping or during an elegant romantic evening, the Tango, an 18-karat white and yellow gold necklace set with round diamonds by Cherie Dori, is equally appropriate. It is unique in its style, versatility and finishing. The “circle of life” design is beautifully crafted—from its uncommon textured and brushed yellow gold to its highly polished, flowing white gold sprinkled with diamonds, this necklace not only accessorizes but defines style. Its design transcends age.
This beautiful necklace can be found exclusively at Harold Steven’s Jewelers downtown. The 27-year-old store prides itself on its vast selection of high-quality merchandise and a friendly, nopressure atmosphere. The team at Harold Steven’s is happy to explain the unique characteristics of your diamonds, and how to compare your stone to the grading reports. And while it’s possible to buy gemstones online in this day and age, there’s no substitute for speaking to experts and being able to see and touch the gems in person.
Harold Steven’s Jewelers is located at 525 B Street, Suite 150, downtown
619-231-0520 | haroldstevens.com
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