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Tiaras, Gold, Diamonds And Royalty On The Strip (Limited Time Only)

May 25, 2012 at 5:27 PM | by | Comment (1)

In a city of conspicuous luxury and dramatic and compulsive spending, it's rare to attach the glitz and glamor to a little history or romantic roots. Two companies want to change that, and entice you into their Vegas stores to learn a little and covet a lot, with some extraordinary pieces of fine art that also happen to be wearable.

At the Palazzo, you can try on a tiara created for a princess. And, in the Bellagio, try on time pieces fit for a queen. It's as glam as it sounds.

The Breguet Boutique has been open since December, housed in a prime Bellagio location opposite the escalator entrance to Picasso. This timepiece boutique is a store and celebration of the Breguet Watch Company, creators of the very first wristwatch. Handcrafted over two years, the first wristwatch was presented to the woman who commissioned the piece in 1812 -- the Queen of Naples, Caroline Murat, the sister of Napoleon Bonaparte. No pocket watches for this innovator, her timepiece included gold threads, an egg-shaped dial and a mechanism that struck on the hour. It also featured a thermometer. In 1812. Yeah, take that, Timex.

No complete record of the watch exists, but scraps of anecdotal evidence have inspired two centuries of artisans. And for the last decade, ladies watches have been an important design focus of the Breguet line. The shape and royal connection allowing designers to experiment with form, function and plenty of drama.

A small exhibit will further enhance your appreciation of the queen as a forgotten muse and pioneer. Then you can try and keep your composure while poring over the watches. Gentlemen are obviously not left out of the equation with plenty of pieces for them to browse and buy, but to score some serious points, take your special lady to this small exhibition. It lasts through June 3.

And, if you are in the vicinity of the Palazzo, well, they have something equally special and equally temporary. The Royal Asscher Diamond Company has opened a pop-up store. Just a try-out. But, you'll never believe it. It looks and feels like they've been there for years. (It's right next door to the Cut Steakhouse.)

The Asscher family celebrates 160 years in the diamond trade. Their signature manner to cut a diamond creates 74 facets that snatch light and scatter it all directions. Our trusty VegasChatter camera auto-focus couldn't deal with all the sparkles and was frequently stunned into submission. Since 1980, Royal Asscher been granted a royal seal of approval by the Queen of the Netherlands. As endorsements go, that's quite a good one.

In this store, you'll see images for the company's history, and their charity work in Sierra Leone, amid their efforts to assure zero "conflict diamonds" from war-torn countries are sold through their company. Russell Simmons is a fan of those efforts and Carrie Underwood is a frequent customer as are many celebrities. There are replicas on display of the diamonds the Asscher family created for the Queen of England's crown and scepter. Also, the hand tools used to make the cuts. It's a bizarre sight to see such elemental tools for such a precise and exacting mission.

They are also know for their sapphires and many of the jewelry designs reflect current trends of embracing color, such as rose golds and pink diamonds. Tradition with some bold experimentation is sitting in these cabinets. They'll also custom build just about anything. We guess that might get a little more expensive.

Now, they also feature a rather nice draw to drag you into the store. From noon to 2 p.m., you can try on an 85-carat diamond tiara that was designed in hopes it might catch the eye of Catherine Middleton to wear during her Royal Wedding to Prince William. (She opted to borrow one of the Queen of England's hand-me downs instead. We're sure it was probably pretty decent, too.) So, now you have an opportunity to discover if a genuine tiara fits your lifestyle, budget and hair color. (And here's a tip, the folks from Royal Asscher are so incredibly nice, if you ask politely and mention our name, you'll probably be able to try on outside of those hours, too. Shhh.)

The tiara design, classic, striking, but with an obvious modern edge is emblematic of a large component of the company's customer base: strong, independent women who instinctively know what they want. Some of the prices seemed, for want of a better word, affordable. Don't quote us, but we heard less than $3,000 for a few pieces in the incredible Stars of Africa series. The diamonds float in fluid globes on a ring, or pendant, like snowflakes. It's hypnotic.

The Royal Asscher employees are delighted to talk about their company and are very excited to be here in Vegas, but only until June 4 (although, a Vegas store just might be possible one day.) They recommended we mention their Facebook page to keep up with announcements of some talks they'll be holding in the store next week. Including advice for gentlemen on the best way to propose, buy engagement rings, etc. Sounded to us that many fearless females who favor this brand would already know. Gents, it might be time to get clued in.

The Royal Asscher Diamonds pop-up store at the Shoppes at the Palazzo is open until June 4. Sunday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to midnight.

The Breguet Boutique Las Vegas inside Bellagio runs their exhibit until June 3. Their hours are daily from 10 a.m. to midnight.

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Sparkly

I really want that tiara. That is all.

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