Whatever your thoughts on Valentine's Day - and it can't be denied that it is derided by as many as it is adored - if you're coupled up then you simply can't ignore it. And, when it comes to buying a gift, it's the perfect time to look past the heart-shaped chocolates and red roses to find something unusual and thoughtful to be treasured for years to come. Jewellery is the ideal solution but, if your knowledge only carries you as far as a (somewhat cliché) Tiffany & Co bracelet, read on.
The secret to a strong relationship relies in the shared memories and inside secrets known only to the two of you and it was with this in mind that Parisian fine jewellery house Van Cleef & Arpels set about creating its latest high-jewellery collection, Le Secret. Each piece in this astoundingly intricate range moves or transforms so, for example, the diamond petals of a floral brooch may turn to reveal personalised love messages or a ruby bow held in the clutches of a dove may be inscribed with the legend 'L'Amour' somewhere known only to the receiver and gift giver. For Valentine's Day, however, it seems only fitting to choose the Amour Retrouvé transformable earrings. Comprised of four separate diamond and sapphire pieces, the dazzling chandelier earrings can be reconfigured into both a set of smaller earrings and a heart-shaped brooch, combining three outstanding pieces into one unforgettable gift.
If this is your first Valentine's Day as a married couple, or you're considering an eternity ring but haven't found the right piece, then Jessica McCormack's pioneering party jackets may be just the thing. Designed to fit around a woman's existing solitaire ring - or available as a set with a new solitaire - McCormack's party jackets blend seamlessly with the original ring adding additional fine jewellery elements and turning traditional designs into statement party pieces. "The party jacket is about having fun, being creative and playful," McCormack told us. "Clients love the idea of dressing up their rings and it's amazing just how many women have a solitaire in their jewellery boxes that they would love to enhance a little - or a lot."
Coloured diamonds are back in vogue in a big way thanks to the modern, more youthful spirit they bring to classic cuts and settings. While the obvious choice may be something in a pretty shade of pink, yellow or blue, which all the big fine jewellery houses are currently offering in abundance, for something truly unique seek out a grey diamond. "Pure grey diamonds have historically been primarily worn by men," explained Alisa Moussaieff, matriarch of family-owned jeweller Moussaieff. "But recently, bluish grey and greyish blue diamonds have become hugely popular with woman - especially when mixed with complementary violet stones - thanks to the fact that they are a more affordable but no less beautiful alternative to blue diamonds."
Possessing an intriguing depth and smoky hue while still retaining all the light reflecting sparkle of their more crystalline counterparts, select a stone a carat or two larger than she normally wears in a pear or emerald cut. The result? A hugely impressive gift that shows taste and style without tipping over into Elizabeth Taylor territory.
Managed to find yourself that rare woman who finds little to love in sparkles and gemstones? Make G London your new go-to jeweller. Founded over 25 years ago by eponymous designer Glenn Spiro, the jewellery house specialises in unusual, highly precious materials. Think earrings in which dozens of vibrant cabochon turquoises are framed by tiny white diamond specks or a bracelet carved from ancient wood and zig-zagged with precious stones. Almost every piece to come from G London's workshop is unique so if you see something you like it's best not to hesitate - Spiro's clients are loyal and visit often.
If flowers are your thing but you want to take your gift to the next level this year, look to Chaumet and its romantic Hortensia collection. While the offering includes everything from tiny floral stud earrings to sautoirs and even tiaras, the stars of the show are undoubtedly the Voie Lactee (blue) and Aube Rosée (pink) secret watches. Resembling a pretty corsage of diamond, sapphire, tourmaline, opal and chalcedony hortensias when closed, the bouquet opens to reveal a watch with a natural mother-of-pearl dial framed by white diamonds and finished with an elegant satin strap.