Holiday Gift Guide: Splurge-worthy gifts for a special occasion

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Holiday Gift Guide: Splurge-worthy gifts for a special occasion
The “Charming Alexandria” charms from Gold Works come in silver and gold and are unique to the City of Alexandria.
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By Olivia Anderson | [email protected]

Presents come in a variety of shapes, sizes and price points. And when shopping for those closest to the heart, sometimes it’s worth the additional dollars to purchase something extra special.

From custom-designed jewelry to rare Swiss watches, for this week’s Holiday Gift Guide we’ve rounded up a list of luxury items sure to wow your loved ones. While these gifts are on the pricier side, they’re also investments that will last a lifetime, or at least bring a smile to your face.

But if you’re looking for something slightly more cost effective, be sure to check back next week for our affordable gift suggestions.

Potomack Auction Company

Since 2006, The Potomack Auction Company has served a clientele of collectors, dealers, estates, historic institutions and museums. Based in Old Town, at 1120 N. Fairfax St., PAC is the largest D.C.-based auction house and also conducts online auctions.

This month the auction house will hold a fine jewelry sale, which includes a platinum emerald and diamond ring estimated at $8,000 to $12,000. Proceeds will go to the Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington.

This Hermes silk Carre scarf from the Potomack Auction Company is estimated at $150 to $200.

On the steep side, the holiday sale will feature a selection of watches, such as a rare Swiss piece estimated at $40,000 to $50,000, and a seven carat ring estimated at $60,000 to $100,000. But it will also include more affordable – yet still lavish – options, like Elsa Peretti earrings with yellow-gold emerald studs, estimated at $700 to $900, and Hermes holiday scarves issued during the winter season, estimated at $150 to $250.

“We also have things that are more affordable, but still luxury and fine,” PAC Owner Elizabeth Wainstein said. “… There’s a lot of very nice luxury items that people can buy for holiday gifts that are not going to break the bank.”

PAC will also hold a library and home objects sale, featuring items from the estate of former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. His library yielded three main collections: military history, African Americana and foreign policy

Some of the Powell pieces include “Fighting for Peace: Seven Critical Years in the Pentagon” by Caspar Weinberger, signed by Weinberger and annotated by Powell, and a Quincy Jones book signed to Powell.

“They’re both luxury sales, and there’s something for everyone,” Wainstein said. “… This is certainly two good sales for the holidays.”

Kyo Gallery

Although Kyo Gallery has a brick-and-mortar store located at 111 S. Patrick St., the art gallery also exists on a digital platform in order to expose a wide array of artists, mediums and concepts.

“Our general goal is to fuse together the local flavor of Old Town Alexandria and sort of expose them to the international market while at the same time [bringing] our international artists into the local market themselves,” Kyo Gallery Director Jason Longfellow said. “So, what we have is an eclectic mix of art that ranges not just internationally, but also keeps the focus on Old Town and the greater DMV area.”

According to Longfellow, the themes and trends of Kyo Gallery often reflect the current times. For example, when the gallery first opened during the Trump administration, it featured a large number of political works. More recently, much of Kyo Gallery’s art explores how people have been navigating the COVID-19 pandemic since it first hit several years ago.

“February” by Ed Little, available at Kyo Gallery, uses semi-realism and composition that fully immerses the audience with his application and subject matter.

Kyo Gallery has access to more than 200 artists and offers a variety of art, from traditional to Avant Garde pieces. There are specialized categories to choose from; entry-level art, for example, is in a section called “originals under $500,” “simply bold” features pop art with a twist, and “humanity’s escape” is filled with land, city and seascapes. Pieces range from $50 to more than $20,000.

“Our operating ethos is to represent artists in the best way we can, whether that be with amazing commissions to the artist, or help buttressing their career in all the other ways that matter. That’s one of our primary goals in the background as we sell and expose the art to the local and world community,” Longfellow said.

Kyo Gallery is appointment-only on weekdays and open to the public on weekends during open hours.

Lorien Hotel & Spa

Located at 1600 King St., Lorien Hotel & Spa is the City of Alexandria’s only hotel and spa. The luxury spot includes a restaurant, BRABO Brasserie – which offers contemporary American cuisine with European techniques and locally sourced ingredients – and alfresco places to sit and relax.

The Lorien offers a wide range of rooms, such as the diplomat suite, Lorien terrace suite and presidential suite. The diplomat suite features a 720-square-foot terrace, kingsize bed, separate living room and oversized bathroom; the Lorien terrace suite offers an outdoor terrace, king bed, separate living room and large bathroom with a soaking tub; and the presidential suite includes a dining room for six, king bed and spa-inspired bathroom.

Those desiring to truly unwind and unplug this season don’t need to look any further than the Lorien’s spa, which has five treatment rooms, a relaxation lounge and fitness center.

The Lorien’s diplomat suite features a 720-square-foot terrace, kingsize bed, separate living room and oversized bathroom.

The spa offers different types of services, from massages to facials. The 80-minute Lorien Signature Massage, priced at $200, uses warm basalt stones to promote vitality and relaxation, while the 50-minute Elemis Superfood Pro-Radiance Facial, priced at $155, uses nutrients to jump start tired skin and an amino active mask to restore lost moisture.

For a real splurge into relaxation, there are various holiday packages. For example, the Winter Relaxation Body Ritual is a three-step ritual of full-body exfoliation, massage and wrap that is sure to soothe stress and calm the mind, body and spirit.

Gold Works

Gold Works, a local jewelry store in Old Town, has occupied 1400 King St. since 1990. The artisan jewelry shop works with natural and lab-created diamonds. Owner David Martin’s specialty is making custom rings or reworking family pieces into new, fresh designs. It holds many collections, such as rings, Celtic weavings, crests, earrings, cufflinks and medals.

One of Gold Works’ most popular items is a line of charms called “Charming Alexandria,” which are custom designed handmade charms unique to the city. Examples include the George Washington Masonic Temple, ghost lanterns and Mount Vernon Estate. They come in silver, at approximately $40, and gold, at approximately $200 to $500 depending on weight.

For the holidays, Store and Sales Manager Aimee Nece recommended Gold Works’ orbit line – sets of pearl jewelry using “puddles” of gold and silver, pearls and diamonds. The orbit collection ranges from about $150 to $1,200.

“[It’s] very popular, and I think it has to do with the mixed metal look and the mix of stones, the pearls, the diamonds, the silver and gold altogether,” Nece said.

With Gold Works’ mantra being “Your design is my horizon,” the store’s ultimate mission is to bring to life clients’ vision, whether that be by doing repairs, making custom designs or repurposing old pieces.

“[It’s helping] your vision of how you think you would wear your jewelry. Because that’s the thing – to not just have a piece of jewelry that’s sitting in your house, but to enjoy wearing it,” Nece said.

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