It’s Here: The Christmas Book by Neiman Marcus

 

It’s not yet Halloween, but the Holiday season is underway. That’s because The Christmas Book by Neiman Marcus hit mailboxes last week, and its array of chic, uncommon, and sometimes over-the-top (backyard golf course, anyone?) gifts is just in time to lift the spirits of tire kickers and serious buyers alike.

 

A number of this year’s tony tokens appeal to those with precious tastes, though the price tags don’t seem altogether as steep as last year. Consider Diamond in the Rough jewels, which appear in the catalog for the second straight year; offerings for 2008 are from the Champagne Bubbles Collection and range from $7,500-$18,000—not the $1 million and up one-offs of last year. Cartier watches are also back, with just one of two ladies’ models exceeding $30,000 (the other is a mere $5,250) compared to last year’s versions starting at nearly $29,000. 

Diamond in the Rough jewelry: The ring and earrings are okay, but there’s just too much going on with the necklace for my taste.  

 

Meanwhile, NM designer favorites Diane von Furstenberg for H.Stern starts her offerings again at $3,600 (no diamonds this year), Judith Ripka ditches pricy sapphires for quartz and $4,000-and-less price tags, and John Hardy offers value in a leather and silver dragon bracelet for $450. 

 

Diane von Furstenberg for H.Stern starts her 18k gold offerings again this year at $3,600.

 

Judith Ripka uses quartz and tsavorite in 18k gold designs this year for $4,000-and-less price tags.

 

Perhaps the best jewelry buys of all in the 155-page book come from MCL by Matthew Campbell Laurenza and Konstantino. Designs from the former include enameled and jeweled sterling rings and hinged bangles that offer a kaleidoscope of colors and a big look for $2,150 and less, and the latter’s sterling, 18k gold, and diamond and pearl accented bracelets inspired by and made in Greece retail for $3,520 and less.

 

These items are by far my favorites. Jewelry by MCL by Matthew Campbell Laurenza features enameled and jeweled sterling rings and hinged bangles that offer a kaleidoscope of colors and a big look for $2,150 and less.

 

Sterling designs by Konstantino feature 18k gold and diamond and pearl accents inspired by and made in Greece retail for $3,520 and less.

 

One of the “Wow” gifts is jewelry, three pieces to be exact: a 10th Century Viking Braided gold ring for $25,000; a 15th Century English gold signet ring for $35,000; and a 16th Century Renaissance Gemstone ring for $45,000. All neat and truly ancient finds, but I’d rather see them in a museum than on some random person’s hand on the subway. 

 
Ancient jewels: Shouldn’t these be in a museum? 

Other highlights of the jewelry include 18k gold and gemstone pieces from Ippolita and some fun diamond turtle-inspired pieces from Roberto Coin. 


The big gemstone cuts in Ippolita jewels make for some statement-making pieces. 


Roberto Coin: I do like his color combinations, the weight of the pieces, and their ability to be worn with just about everything.