Thirteen small but wonderful stocking fillers
The holiday tradition of hanging a stocking over the fireplace recalls memories infused with joy and anticipation.
Though the toys on our list are a bit more elevated than an action figure, and the sublime chocolates demand to be savoured, the eagerness and deep-rooted appreciation for the stocking fillers bring to the surface the child in us all — and be assured, there's no coal to be found here.
If good things come in small packages, then the works of Eduard Ter-Ghazaryan Jr. are downright amazing. The 38-year-old micro-miniaturist, whose late grandfather and namesake founded the niche art form, creates sculptures and portraits that are so small they fit in the eyes of needles and are invisible to the naked eye.
The Armenian artist painstakingly executes his pieces — recent works include a one-millimetre portrait he presented to Pope Francis — from materials such as amber, marble, gold, and wood using homemade engraving tools, one of which has a diamond edge only 1 per cent the thickness of a human hair.
As an exclusive offer for Robb Report's Ultimate Gift Guide, Ter-Ghazaryan plans to create for one recipient the world's smallest family portrait. The artist will meet with the recipient and his or her family at their home before realising their collective portrait using a single strand of hair as a brush.
The work of art — painted onto a 10x8 millimetre glass canvas in black oil paint — will be set in an etched frame sculpted from marble or fossilised woolly-mammoth tusk, then fixed in a 25-centimetre-tall obsidian or onyx vessel with a built-in magnifying glass.
The finished piece, priced from $US120,000 (about $A161,000) for a four-person portrait, will be housed in a custom walnut box and delivered within seven months, at which time it can be submitted to Guinness World Records. (Eduard Ter-Ghazaryan Jr. , firstname.lastname@example.org, eduardterghazaryan.com) - Anush Benliyan
Asprey Leather Scrabble
Is it just a merry coincidence that holiday is a seven-letter word?
The Scrabble lover will especially appreciate such serendipity when the word is laid across the surface of this exceptional leather set , $US11,950 (about $A16,000), handcrafted in Italy. The set is part of Asprey's selection of premium versions of classic board games, creations that date back to the 1920s.
The board's squares are individually wrapped in Italian lambskin with grey for blank squares, a festive red and green for double-letter and double-word scores, white to denote triple-letter spaces, and black for triple-word squares.
The case, topped by a tidy handle, is crafted in a sturdy English saddle leather meant to withstand time's ravages and is offered in two colours: red or black, with other hues available for custom order. It hinges open for easy access to and storage of the board and the four black lambskin racks.
The black leather letter tiles reside in a regal, plum-coloured velvet pouch and are magnetised, which is handy for playing aboard a yacht or private jet while on holiday. (Asprey, 212.688.1811, asprey.com) - Janice O'Leary
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Frosted Gold
Audemars Piguet is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its genre-defying women's Royal Oak collection with the introduction of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Frosted Gold , a timepiece with a shimmering Florentine finish — made by beating gold with a diamond-tipped tool to make tiny indentations on the surface that scatter light — on its case that creates the appearance of a gentle snow flurry the wrist.
The new collection comes in two sizes (33mm or 37mm), both of which are available with either a pink- or white-gold case. Pricing information can be obtained upon request. (audemarspiguet.com) - John Lyon
Peter Marino Art Architecture Monograph
Fittingly, every centimetre of the 320-page Peter Marino Art Architecture monograph is beautifully designed. Published by Phaidon Press, the coffee table tome, $US325 (about $435), features a shiny metallic case, black-and-bronze cover, detailed sketches, insightful notes, and gorgeous photos.
The limited-edition book offers an overview of architect Peter Marino's storied designs, which range from flagships for Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Christian Dior. (phaidon.com) - Rebekah Bell
Riedel Ayam Decanter
This holiday season, give the oenophile on your list the gift of double-aeration. The hand-crafted and mouth-blown Ayam crystal decanter from the Austrian glassmakers at Riedel is the epitome of practical elegance, as it aerates wine both when it is poured into and out of the decanter, greatly reducing time spent waiting for the wine to "bloom."
A touch of functional whimsy, Riedel's unique design actually allows the decanter to hang quite safely from the table's edge — out of sight but well within reach. Ideal for younger red and white wines, the Ayam Decanter is priced at $A694. (riedelglass.com.au) - Bekah Berge
Asprey Silver Dog Safe
Gift the canine lover in your life Asprey's sterling-silver dog safe to guard their most precious belongings.
The safe is available in an extremely limited-edition English Bulldog version, shown here $US81,500 (about $A109,000), or can be custom commissioned to resemble the recipient's treasured furry friend. Asprey will build a unique mould using photos of the pet to be immortalised to create the safe, a process which can take up to 10 months to complete.
Pricing for the custom dog safe is determined by the size and complexity of the commission. (asprey.com) - Phoebe Neuman
Chopard L.U.C. Full Strike
Show your loved one how to ring in holidays right with the Chopard L.U.C. Full Strike , the Swiss watchmaker's first-ever minute repeater.
Clad in responsibly sourced fairmined rose gold, the watch has an open-dial layout that reveals the hammers and unique clear-crystal gongs of the striking mechanism. But make sure you're on Santa's nice list; Chopard will only produce 20 examples of the Full Strike (price upon request). (chopard.com) - John Lyon
Saved Wines Corkscrew by Scott Campbell and Shinola
Detroit-based Shinola has teamed up with tattoo artist and Saved Wines creator Scott Campbell to design the stunning T-handle, solid brass corkscrew. Wrapped in symbolism and engraved with patterns and sigils that Campbell feels embrace inspiration, the corkscrew is a finely crafted piece that stays true to Shinola's standards of beauty and excellence.
Available in Shinola stores and online, the Saved Wines Corkscrew is the perfect gift for the wine connoisseur and is priced at $US125 (about $A167). (shinola.com) - Bekah Berge
Graf von Faber-Castell Heritage Collection Alexander and Ottilie Fountain Pens
When Count Alexander zu Castell-Rüdenhausen married Baroness Ottilie von Faber in 1898, it was more than just a union between two of Germany's noble families; it was the birth of the Faber-Castell brand. And the newlyweds wasted no time leaving their impact on the family business (Ottilie was the heir to the Faber pencil manufactory), whether releasing new lines of the company's renowned pencils or commissioning their own castle in 1903.
To pay tribute to the count and the countess, Graf von Faber-Castell has released the Heritage Collection, comprising ** the Alexander Fountain Pen ** and ** the Ottilie Fountain Pen**.
These limited-edition pens draw inspiration from the Faber-Castell castle as well as the craftsmanship and personalities of its namesakes. Both of the pens are crafted in sterling silver, but the Alexander's barrel is moss green in a nod to the official colour of the count's military regiment, while the Ottilie's is violet to match the favourite colour of the countess.
The couple's intertwined initials appear on the pen's fluted cap alongside an engraved message on the cap band, "Handmade in Germany." Each fountain pen is supplied with an exclusive case and a high-quality brochure.
Both of the pens are priced at $US1695 (about $A2270) and limited to 1898 examples each — a reference to the year Ottilie and Alexander were married. (graf-von-faber-castell.us) - Alix Moise
Arccos 360 Golf Tracking System
Like a Fitbit for your golf game, the Arccos 360 golf tracking system gives users data from which to analyse and improve their decision-making on the golf course.
The system comprises GPS-enabled sensor pegs inserted into the tip of the club handle. The sensors interface in real time with the Arccos smartphone app — which features a rangefinder and maps of some 40,000 international courses — to track the distance of every shot and chart performance over time using the Arccos online dashboard. The Arccos 360 system starts at $US250 (about $A335). (arccosgolf.com) - Bailey S. Barnard
A. Lange & Söhne's Lange 1 Time Zone in honey gold
A great way to remind the frequent traveller of home, the A. Lange & Söhne's Lange 1 Time Zone in honey gold** **is a special-edition variant of the manufacture's esteemed world-time watch that pays tribute to the model's debut in Dresden 22 years ago by indicating Central European Time with the city's name (rather than the standard Berlin) on the bezel.
Like previous models in the collection, the watch has a second time zone function that is controlled with a simple lateral pusher that advances the city ring on the bezel and subsidiary hour hand with each press.
The Lange 1 Time Zone in honey gold is limited to 100 pieces and is available exclusively at 17 select A. Lange & Söhne boutiques. (alange-soehne.com) - John Lyon
The World's Top Chefs confectionery collection promises a trip down memory lane with a selection of uniquely designed chocolates from nine internationally renowned chefs that are inspired by the joys of childhood.
Created in partnership with Belgian chocolatier Neuhaus , the rich and creamy little delicacies host an enormous amount of flavour — from Daniel Boulud and Ghaya Olivera's well-balanced dark chocolate praline accented with lemon verbena and strawberry fruit jam; to Arabelle Meirlaen's creation filled with coffee buttercream, Szechuan pepper, and Breton waffles; to Joost Arijs's masterpiece, a velvety milk chocolate infused with hints of spice from Belgian Speculoos cookies and filled with a refreshing Spanish mandarin coulis.
The $US55 (about $A73) limited-edition collection comes in an oval gold box with a soft yellow leather lid filled with 27 scrumptious chocolates — three from each chef. (neuhauschocolate.com) - Bekah Berge
Paolo Costagli's Ring of Fire
After studying in California at the Gemological Institute of America, Paolo Costagli further honed his eye for exceptional gemstones while working in central Colombia's gem mines.
In his youth, the Florence native lived amid his hometown's myriad monumental artworks and lush gardens. Now based in New York City, Costagli displays his considerable expertise in unique jewellery designs that often combine architectural lines with vivid, colourful gems — peridots, citrines, and amethysts, among others.
This striking ring $US37,000 (about $A49,600) is a stunning example of his talent for selecting standout gems and incorporating them into bold designs. It features a deep-orange 18-carat cushion-cut spessartite — a rare form of garnet — surrounded by dramatically curved bands of 18-karat white gold, each of which is wrapped in pavé diamonds.
Recently completed at his Madison Avenue atelier, this one-of-a-kind Costagli creation promises to spark the interest of passionate collectors. (Paolo Costagli, email@example.com, paolocostagli.com) - Carolyn Meers