You don’t need to ski to enjoy Aspen’s social scene. As America’s chicest ski town, there’s plenty of action off slopes in top-notch restaurants, stylish new hotels and luxury shopping. Did I mention the shopping?
Aspen’s streets are sparkling with more than ice and snow…think diamonds, and big diamonds. The resort town is lined with great jewelry shops, which showcase some of the world’s best designers and brands–including elusive, hard-to-find collections. That’s because Aspenites love their jewels. Whether they are fashionably skiing down the mountain or dining in jeans and cozy cashmere sweaters, they always have on their diamonds.
Meridian’s Robin Smith has assembled the most stylish and unique designer jewelry collections. “Our clients like to make a statement with a piece they won’t see coming and going in any big city,” says Smith, who established the boutique with her husband Kenny 20 years ago. Meridian’s lineup of coveted international names includes Fernando Jorge, Silvia Furmanovich and Loree Rodkin to mention a few. It’s also this town’s destination for Rolex and Cartier watches.
What’s hot: Diamond straight-line (also known as tennis necklaces) are what Aspenites are wearing every day. Those include Rahaminov chokers with varying diamond shapes which, Smith says, “are a bit whimsical and cool, and utterly wearable from the slopes to après ski.” For the same reason, Anita Ko’s crescent diamond necklaces in all sizes are popular.
For a big of an edge, clients like Repossi’s Serti Sur Vide ear cuff, says Smith. “It catches people by surprise, like finding a large bill in last year’s ski jacket pocket!” Hoorsenbuhs’ sleek diamond Phantom ring is a hit too.
Skiers come straight off the slopes into Lugano’s boutique at the Shops at the Residences at the Little Nell to warm-up by the fire, sip Champagne, and see the one-of-a-kind jewels. Designed like an elegant living room with cozy couches and a large dining table for private dinners, Lugano at the base of Aspen Mountain has become the place where clients like to hang out.
That relaxed lifestyle translates into Lugano’s designs: “Aspen is a casual and chic town with residents who travel often and want jewelry that is easy to wear,” says Moti Ferder, the brand’s president and CEO.
What’s hot: Important diamonds set in contemporary pieces with a bit of an edge, so they work from day to evening. Those include a rose-cut diamond bracelet with over 18 carats of diamonds in a gold and rubber design, and a pink-and-white diamond bracelet interspersed with black rubber. It’s also the go-to source for knock-out fancy-colored diamonds, including a 19-carat green diamond ring.
“There is a huge community of art collectors in town, and the unique artistic design also carries into their jewelry,” says Ferder. “That fits our philosophy of wearable works of art.”
“Aspen shoppers love diamonds,” says Brooke Betteridge of Betteridge, which is in the iconic Little Nell Hotel. It’s also a town where they feel safe wearing their jewelry. “Visitors to Aspen are free to wear anything and everything, without worry,” she says. “It is so freeing to finally be able to wear all the fabulous diamonds hidden away in home safes.”
What’s Hot: Everyday diamond line necklaces and lariat-style necklaces that you can layer on is in high demand. “Mixing a classic style with a more modern, sexier piece is always a great bet,” says Betteridge. It’s the only place in Aspen where you’ll find jewelry from prestigious brands like Chanel, David Webb, Davidor, Paul Morelli and Marco Bicego, and it’s in-store Patek Philippe boutique is also a big draw.
For the month of December, Sotheby’s Aspen gallery is showcasing the latest designs by SABBA, the exclusive Paris-based jeweler. The gallery, which opened last summer, has quickly become a gathering spot for art-lovers who come for Sotheby’s rotating exhibit of contemporary buy-now art along with watches, jewelry, wine and spirits.
What’s hot: More than 20 new SABBA designs made for the Sotheby’s exhibit are available through January 6. Prices range from $20,000 to $150,000. SABBA’s signature large-scale earrings feature diamonds and gemstones artistically mounted in titanium so they are lightweight and easy-to-wear.
“Aspen is a dynamic and evolving town with global appeal and a true luxury network,” says the well-traveled Lucrezia Buccellati, the house’s co-creative director.
What’s hot: Aspen clients gravitate towards the house’s white gold and diamond pieces. A bestseller is itsiconic Macri collection, which feature’s Buccellati’s artistic engraving techniques. These signature bangles, rings and earrings appeal to the local clients who want to wear their pieces from the slopes to an intimate dinner party.
Aspen clients don’t come in the store because they need something, says Miriam (Mimi) Hajibay, Piranesi’s president. “They come in with a passion; they want to fall in love with a piece. We have noticed the same trend with our St. Moritz clientele.” Thirty years ago, Piranesi’s late husband, Sami, who was an avid skier, opened the Aspen store and it’s garnered a loyal following.
What’s hot: Casual diamond designs is what people are wearing, says Piranesi. From the house’s signature flower earrings to chunky diamond link bracelets, clients want pieces they can “live in.” Big cocktail rings with diamonds or gemstones are also hot.