Holiday shopping in Aspen
December 14, 2007
So you already travel by private jet, and you own a stable of fine stallions. You have a diamond-encrusted telephone, and your wine cellar has more than a few cases of 1800s Chateau Latour.What, then, does your honey get you for Christmas?If this scenario sounds familiar, look no further than downtown Aspen to solve your shopping troubles. Yes, Aspen offers the perfect gift options for the man or woman who has everything, because Aspen always offers a little more. From diamonds and platinum, to antiques and art, to jackets and boots, there is truly something extraordinarily, stunningly expensive for everyone. Indeed, it wouldnt be hard drop a quarter-million dollars on a single gift in Aspen. Rather, the hard part is deciding where to throw down the big cash and what amazing object will catch the eye when the wrapping paper comes off.Few places in the world offer such high-end shopping in such a small proximity as Aspen. Many local stores have recorded single sales of more than a million dollars. Granted, many of those items are more likely show up in a museum; remember, rarity will drive prices into the stratosphere. In Aspen, for example, its possible to buy an original Picasso or Matisse. And antique jewelry with dozens of carats of diamonds seem to be the norm. But really, if youre looking for something original, you have to dig a little deeper.We set out to explore some of the finer goods our town has to offer for the more discriminating tastes. And as you peruse this gift guide, keep in mind its designed to just whet the appetites of Christmas shoppers who want to give the most unique and pricey presents this year. Gift: Caille Brothers antique slot machinesPrice: $240,000Store: Daniels AntiquesDescription: Your man just cant get enough of Vegas and Monaco? Maybe its time to have a slot machine in the house. Try a working oak and nickel slot machine, made in Detroit at the turn-of-the-century by the Caille Brothers.Most of them were destroyed in the prohibition, said store owner Simon Daniels. Theres only a few of them in the world.The Twin Centaur side-by-side slot machines have a large color wheel that spins, with certain colors appearing less often. Get the color you bet on and get a payout. There are different bet amounts and higher payouts for different colors. Daniels said the slot machines were often weighted by owners so it would never land on the jackpot.They even fixed them back then, he said.
Gift: Fine Line Between Love and Hate by Erich WollPrice: $1,980Store: Pismo Fine Art GlassDescription: For the nature lover, there is nothing better than this squirrel made of blown glass, which was sculpted and rolled in powder. The shotgun shell the squirrel is holding is real. The artist, Erich Woll, trained at Alfred University and moved to Seattle in the mid-90s to pursue glass art. As a founding member of the collaborative group, Butter Eaters, Woll has made collaborative projects and taught workshops at art institutions across the Northwest. He has proclaimed a strong interest in folk art, saying folk art is not taught, it is felt, to me therein lies its beauty.Gift: Artico shearling coat with fox fur trimPrice: $5,000Store: Pitkin County Dry GoodsDescription: For a gorgeous woman who absolutely must stay warm on cold Aspen nights and who absolutely is not a member of PETA, check out the long shearling jacket with fox fur trim made by Artico, an Italian clothing company.Its one of our softest shearlings, said store manager Petra Gregory. Its a nice warm coat that goes from casual to dressy. At only $5,000, the coat is one of the more modestly priced furs in Aspen.So this is basically a stocking stuffer, said Gregory.
Gift: Rubellite tourmaline and diamond necklacePrice: $283,200Store: Ross Andrews Jewelry DesignerDescription: Whether celebrating a 60th anniversary (days or years) or just looking for the perfect present for a hottie, the gift absolutely must be diamonds. In the case of this necklace, that would be lots and lots of diamonds surrounding large rubellite tourmaline gems a total of 75.75 carats of rubellite tourmaline and 10.41 carats of diamonds that has a detachable pendant hanging on the front.We make our pieces out of raw materials and cast them ourselves, said goldsmith Matt Graves. Everything is made in-store.Most of the pieces in the store are unique; if a necklace or bracelet sells, then the designers will often vary the next put on display.Gift: Chrome Hearts sunglassesPrice: $5,510Store: The Optical Shop of AspenDescription: Sunglasses may be among the most misplaced items in world, so for the forgetful, these probably arent the best gift. But looking sweet is a top priority, so you may as well check out these Chrome Hearts sunglasses, called The Rejected.The frames are made of multilayered Italian zyl, or plastic, with a motif in script laser etched on sterling silver on the top of the frames that says, F— You.On the sides are 20 gemstones, including rubies, sapphires, white diamonds and black diamonds totaling 1 carat.
Gift: 1820s mantel clockPrice: $13,500Store: McHugh Antiques & Fine JewelsDescription: For the collector of antiques who already has elephant-skin chairs and silver candlesticks, here is an 1820s clock from Lyon, France, made by Gobert Ain A Gannat. Made of marble, bronze and bronze gilt, store owner Ricki McHugh says, Its appropriate to Aspen with the St. Bernard on top.She said the clocks inner works have been recently cleaned, and there have been slight repairs to the back glass door. But none of the functions of the clock were affected.Gift: Handmade Swiss Zai Spada skisPrice: $5,200Store: Gorsuch Ltd. Description: With only 111 in the world, it would be slightly more nerve-wracking than usual to nick a core shot. But with the price of these skis, one would expect that the skiing actually is done by the skis, rather than the skier.Plus, since these handmade Swiss Spadas have granite core material, they could be called the ultimate rock skis. The carbon fiber leads to what the company calls high geometric stability. The stone is Calanca gneiss from the most recent Arvigo quarry in the Calanca Valley, Grisons.By damping out vibrations, stone makes Zai Spada skis incredibly smooth-running and grippy, reads the Zai website, a heavenly feeling on the slopes!Gift: Vince Lombardi trophyPrice: $15,000Store: The Autograph SourceDescription: There are few better gifts for the ultimate football fan, especially a St. Louis Rams fan. This is one of the original replicas of the Vince Lombardi trophies given to Rams players and employees after they won the 1999 Super Bowl.You have to win the Vince Lomardi trophy to get that, said store owner Rick Schultz. For a football fan in general, its one of the best pieces of football memorabilia you can find.Gift: Richebourg 1929Price: $18,850Store: Montagna at The Little NellDescription: For those who arent of the materialistic bent, there are still gifts out there to wow the senses and stun the pocketbook. Try dinner at The Little Nells Montagna restaurant accompanied by the most expensive bottle on the wine list.That would be a nearly 80-year-old red from Richebourg, where older vintages command some of the highest prices in the wine world. The wines from the village of Vosne-Romane in the Cte de Nuits area of the Cte-d’Or, Burgundy, France, are considered well-balanced, with a longevity that surpasses other burgundies. A bottle of the 1929 Richebourg would surely liven up a meal and make for a memorable Christmas night.
Gift: Miniature gold Colt .45Price: $4,500Store: Curious George CollectiblesDescription: If your buddy is the kind of guy with a bumper sticker that says, Gun control means using both hands, perhaps he would enjoy a fully working, one-fifth scale 1911 Colt .45 A1 automatic made of 14 karat gold in a solid sterling box. Thats something youre not going to see around too often, said shop owner George Lapin. Theyre highly collected.A normal-sized Colt .45 has dozens of working parts, each of which works on the miniature as well, Lapin said. The gun was made by a master miniaturist, Herschel Kopp, who went into the field of miniature firearms after working as a machinist. The gun has crafted gold bullets and a gold clip. And though there is no gunpowder for the bullets, when the clip is inserted into the gun, it will actually work a bullet into the firing chamber and can eject the bullet.Other stocking stuffers:Gift: 1.5 oz. jar of Gorgeous face creamPrice: $83.95Store: LushDescription: This jar of cold-press face cream was originally made for Princess Diana of Wales. The cream has six organic oils and butters. Yum. Gift: Rock and Republic jeansPrice: $358Store: Boogies RetailDescription: These 100 percent cotton jeans with embroidery on the back are made in the U.S.A. Live to firstname.lastname@example.org