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Giorgio Armani In Designing A Business Empire

A true innovator, Giorgio Armani is often the forerunner of modern trends in fashion. He knows how to provoke the audience and take risks that rake huge payoffs. But behind the glamor and extravagance around him, Armani maintains his distance from the public eye. One would even go as far as to call him shy or aloof.  When most fashion designers bare their lives for all to see, this Italian-born seems to have a good control over his private affairs.

As famous as the A-list celebrities he often dresses (Beyoncé, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett), Giorgio Armani’s name is well-recognized all over the world. Despite the many details of his life he prefers to keep in secret, here’s what we know about him and the empire he built from scratch:

He Could Have Been A Doctor 

On July 11, 1934, Giorgio was born as the middle child of Ugo Armani and Maria Raimondi in the Italian town of Piacenza. His father grew up in a humble background and worked as a shipping manager. From an early age, Giorgio was fascinated with human anatomy. This inspired him to pursue a medical profession. After high school, he enrolled in the Department of Medicine at the University of Milan. However, he dropped out after three years to enlist in the military in 1953.

There were early appearances of his talent during his childhood. His interest in theater led him to improvise plays at their home, often with his brother Sergio. Armani used rags to make garments for the dolls. However, his fashion design prowess doesn’t become notable until his 40s.

Starting His Independent Career At 40

Discharged from the army with nothing to his name, Giorgio found a job as a window dresser in a department store in Milan. He then worked as a salesman of menswear for seven years, which helped him learn the ins and outs of marketing and fashion design. 

In the mid-1960s, Giorgio joined the Nino Cerruti fashion house as a menswear designer. At the same time, he also started sending his designs to various other garment manufacturers, such as Gibo, Hilton, and Allegri. In the same decade, he met Sergio Galeotti, an architectural draftsman, with whom he would establish a long-term professional and personal relationship. Galeotti enthused him to believe in what he was doing, which sparked his drive to create his own brand. 

The duo sold their old car to gain money for the foundation of the Giorgio Armani S.p.A. in Milan in 1975. Armani created clothes from top to bottom and Galeotti became in-charged of selling them to department stores. Working with insufficient funds, the budding fashion designer had to paint the dots on the fabric as he could not afford to buy fabric with the pattern.

Italy experienced a difficult economic time throughout the 70s. In spite of that, the label presented its first collection of a modest number of men’s and women’s clothing. This feat turned out to be a huge success, raking vast sales at the largest US department store Barney’s.

Innovating Classic Designs  armani

Armani doesn’t see the point in releasing new collections every season and believes that fashion shouldn’t race at such as fast pace. Nevertheless, he always makes it a point to offer fresh designs his fans are sure to obsess over for years.

Men’s and women’s jackets, as we know them today, are the product of Armani’s constant innovation. His desire to create comfort and ease in the wardrobe of the modern working individual resulted in some of the most iconic jacket designs in history. He fused materials, removed unnecessary padding, and searched for the finest fabrics the world can offer. 

His style is often described as clean and simple that one may think it’s bordering minimalism. Yet it is not. There is always an element of sensuality and playfulness in his designs, but they are never vulgar. Armani’s philosophy revolves around softness, balance, and an aesthetic both men and women can appreciate. 

There used to be a boring perception of the classic suit since it is often worn as a uniform. However, Armani recreates this piece of clothing in more variations than one can imagine. One of the most popular movies to demonstrate this is the “American Gigolo,” which feature remarkable styles from the label.

A Separate Brand For Each Product Line 

After Armani’s appearance on the fashion scene became the talk of the town in the late 70s and early 80s, his line expanded to offer not only clothes but also other items. With his own concept of beauty and fashion, he created elegant and fashionable products that follow the overall direction of the Armani brand. 

By the end of the 1990s, the company had over 200 stores worldwide, selling different items under Armani Exchange A/X. Armani Jeans, Emporio Armani, Armani Exchange, and Armani Collezioni with annual sales of more than $2 billion. He continued to grow his brand with home goods, sportswear, makeup, and book publishing. With various sub-brands, Armani wishes to cater to the specific needs of different market segments.

Among The Brand’s Many Firsts

Being a prominent fashion designer, Armani had the power to influence the fashion scene on a global scale. In 2006, he prohibited the participation of size zero models in his fashion shows, encouraging women to be healthy and uniting all designers against anorexia. 

Armani was also the first designer to show his collections live online. Back when other fashion houses found it too risky as their creations could be copied in an instant, Armani took the plunge and succeeded to gain the attention of his audience.

Whether it’s dressing Lady Gaga for the Grammys or expanding his empire deep in Dubai and China, Armani is too busy searching for new challenges. Wearing something made by a fashion and culture icon like himself is surely something to be proud of.

Armani Buyers in Scottsdale and Chandler, AZ

Armani’s watches and handbags, with their contemporary and elegant designs, are beacons of sophistication. If you are a proud owner of a timeless piece from this brand and are looking for a buyer in Phoenix, AZ, fill out our online form to get a free market appraisal

Biltmore Loan and Jewelry can pay more than our market competitors. You’re guaranteed to profit from your investment, so you can make room for other luxury items in your closet.

Jewelry Shopping 101: Nine Questions to Ask a Jeweler

“Boxes from Tiffany and colorless diamonds

Fire red gemstones mined straight from the mountains

Dazzling and gleaming and set in pave’

These are a few of my favorite things”

 

Fine jewelry — oh, how we love them. No matter how many times we shop for shining, shimmering, splendid accessories, the experience is always exciting. The purchasing process gives jewelry collectors, enthusiasts, and the engaged-to-be a chance to ask important questions, compare breathtaking designs, and ultimately take home a piece of jewelry (or two) that has won our hearts.

Here at Biltmore Loan and Jewelry, we always meet men, women, and couples who are looking to shop for their very first piece of fine jewelry. Listening to their queries, our GIA-certified experts put together nine questions to ask before buying jewelry. This article covers gemstones, precious metals, and how to care for jewels.

If you are a first-time buyer, keep these questions in mind for when you go shopping for a special piece of jewelry.

Question #1: “What am I looking for?” ART DECO BRACELET

Did you just google authentic jewelry in Phoenix, AZ? It is common for first-time jewelry shoppers to browse online. While the internet provides several options and information about jewelry, going to a store or exhibition is a must. Visiting a physical store is essential because it gives you a chance to see different designs up close, and you can speak with an expert about jewelry.

But before you drive to your local jewelry store, ask yourself, “what do I want?” to avoid getting sales-talked into buying something you are not 100 percent in love with. And at the same time, be open-minded and explore all styles of jewelry. Who knows, you might become fascinated by something very different, too.

Question #2: “What is this piece made of?”

Once you set your eyes on a stunning piece of jewelry, a question you should ask your jeweler is “What is it made of?” to learn whether the piece is silver, white gold, platinum, or another type of precious metal.

Question #3: “What type of gemstone is this?”

If you fall in love with a piece adorned with stunning rocks — you have exquisite taste! But before pulling out your credit card, ask your jeweler what type of stones are set. If they are green, they could be emeralds, peridots, jades, or bloodstones. Pink gemstones, on the other, could be sapphires, garnets, or rare pink diamonds.

Remember, precious stones impact the value and wearability of a piece. A reputable jeweler can explain in detail the quality and grade of a gem.

Question #4: “Does it look good on me?”

Jewels are an excellent investment, but they deserve more than 24/7 seclusion inside a safe. Thus, have your jewelry and wear it, too. The key is to invest in pieces that complement your style and personality.

A jewelry shop’s staff should be more than happy to let you try on the jewelry. This is especially important when buying necklaces, bracelets, and earrings to gauge how they look on your body, and to determine whether the style is a perfect fit for you.

Question #5: “Are the hallmarks visible?”

Hallmarks are the small letters, symbols, and logos often engraved on the precious metal of fine jewelry. These details indicate what type of metal a piece is made from and by which brand or designer.

In some countries, hallmarks are mandatory by law. They show customers that they are buying genuine silver, gold, or platinum. For example, jewelry from Cartier, Chanel, and Bvlgari usually feature hallmarks to symbolize brand and precious metal used.

Question #6: “Do you have certificates or provide valuations?”

A trustworthy jewelry establishment should be able to provide a valuation for the jewelry you want to purchase. This document allows you to wear your jewelry without concerns by having it insured. For instance, gold and platinum jewelry should always come with a valuation. Pieces with large diamonds can also have independent certificates that specify the quality and grade of a diamond.

Always ask your jeweler for GIA, IGI, or Gem-A certificates if you are buying a diamond. They are some of the world’s most well-respected organizations for grading diamonds.

Question #7: “How do I take care of my new jewelry?”

Another important question to ask your jeweler is how to care for your new piece. In general, most jewels are sensitive to perfumes, moisturizers, and even constant exposure to the body’s oil and sweat. Some gemstones may be worn every day, while others are more delicate.

When it comes to storage, high-end jewelry shops will wrap your piece in a beautiful box. Aesthetic purposes aside, the box safeguards your jewelry and prevents it from getting tangled or scratched by other pieces in your collection. It is always recommended to seek expert advice on how to clean and store your jewelry.

Question #8: “Can you provide aftercare?”

Before skipping happily out of the jewelry shop, ask the staff about professional aftercare for your new piece. Could you return to them once a year to have the piece cleaned and polished?

If the jewelry is something you wish to wear every day, like an engagement ring or necklace, professional aftercare is essential to ensure your piece remains in excellent condition for many years to come.

Question #9: “What other information should I know?”

For more helpful tips on how to choose, buy, and care for jewelry, you may read the following articles by Biltmore Loan and Jewelry:


About Us

If you are looking for GIA-certified appraisers in Scottsdale and the surrounding cities in Phoenix, AZ, choose Biltmore Loan and Jewelry. We also guarantee unmatched collateral lending and outright purchasing of fine jewelry and other luxury items. Dial 480-991-5626 (Scottsdale) or 480-705-5626 (Chandler) to get in touch with our team.

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Dear Luxury Brands, Millennials are Rewriting Your Future

By 2025, millennial spending power is believed to represent an impressive 40 percent in the global luxury goods market, according to research from Bain & Company. Yet in this fast and fashion-forward world of democratized extravagance, most millennials prefer experience over products. To convert millennials into consumers, retailers need to cultivate their creativity, shall they wish to lure the current generation of big spenders.

Top Luxury Brands for Millennials

Two high-end fashion houses already know what they’re doing and are the leading choices of millennial customers. Surveys and social media data from UBS Group AG revealed that Louis Vuitton and Gucci are millennials’ preferred brands. While the intention to shop online is higher in the age group than among older consumers, LV and Gucci’s physical stores continue to feature highly among favored places to shop.

Why Millennials Love Louis Vuitton

The renowned French heritage turned heads and gathered thousands of “likes” after staging its autumn-winter 2017 fashion show at The Louvre — a historical monument and the world’s largest art museum located in Paris, France.  

But the luxury brand is no stranger to social media users. The interest of Nicolas Ghesquière — creative director of the house of Louis Vuitton — in millennial trends has helped the brand make headlines in the fashion industry. The employment of Hollywood endorsers, such as Emma Stone and Gigi Hadid, has also amassed high success in capturing the attention of millennials.

In addition, Louis Vuitton won the hearts of many with the inclusion of Lighting from the video game Final Fantasy as their model in 2016. Also, the brand’s ongoing partnership with streetwear brand Supreme for its menswear collection is a declaration of Louis Vuitton’s continuous effort to tap into the millennial market. At this point, we think it’s safe to say they succeeded.

Shop The Relux for pre-loved and authentic Louis Vuitton handbags and accessories.

How Millennials Fell in Love with Gucci

Alessandro Michele — Italian fashion designer and creative director of Gucci since January 2015 — has a known knack for quirky and creative storytelling, which allowed Gucci to build a singular kinship with millennials.

Besides launching each new collection and merchandise with a compelling and engaging narrative, the luxury brand has been using different digital platforms to communicate a unique and unparalleled sense of identity — through enthralling visuals.

Gucci’s Instagram content is also a consistent trending topic on the internet. In 2017, the brand released a series of #TFWGucci memes to promote their Le Marché des Merveilles watch collection. Talk about #relatable combined with #luxury. No wonder millennials love Gucci, to the point where it has become an adjective describing something okay, good, or doing fine.

Enjoy significant savings when you shop The Relux for pre-loved and authentic Gucci pieces.

Why Millennials are Crazy About Cartier — An Honourable Mention

Although Cartier did not make UBS’s list of millennial-loved brands, it deserves a spot in this article because of one very popular accessory —  the LOVE Bracelet.

Since its launch in 1969, the Cartier LOVE Bracelet has been a representation of “inseparable love” for jewelry enthusiasts and romantics. In more recent years, it has become an essential status symbol among millennials. Celebrities, influencers, and fashion-forward consumers covet the luxury bracelet for its exquisite design, beautiful symbolism, and world-class reputation.

A beautiful piece of high-end arm candy, the Cartier LOVE collection is the go-to choice for millennials who aspire to invest in jewelry of exceptional quality and passionate symbolism.

Are you interested in this heirloom-quality jewelry? Read Why the Cartier Love Bracelet Is Worth the Investment to learn more. Also, shop The Relux for pre-loved & authentic Cartier jewelry.

Why Brand Authenticity Matters to Millennials

Despite the improving quality of counterfeits, there is a good reason why millennials snub fake Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Cartier pieces to pay full-price for an authentic one: The owner knows that he or she does not have a genuine luxury item.

Researchers from Yale University concluded that the quest for authenticity develops in early childhood. A study, which attempted to persuade children into believing that a cloning machine had reproduced their favorite item, found that most children rejected the duplicate. As it turns out, despite the sentimentality of an item, the memory, feeling, or pride that accompanies purchasing a real luxury good is part of the reason we seek authenticity. In a nutshell, treating yourself to a fake Neverfull or GG Marmont is not equivalent to treating yourself at all.

The Bottom Line

The millennial generation is more than a group of non-conforming, media-savvy individuals. They are, for a fact, the future of luxury consumption. Born within 1981 to 1996, these men and women have the most spending power in comparison to previous generations, according to several analysts. As a result, high-fashion directors are all frantically trying to penetrate the millennial market with subversive designs, star-studded endorsements, and out-of-the-box digital marketing strategies.

 

The number of millennial couture clients worldwide is growing and thriving. “We have witnessed an interesting phenomenon of generational change,” remarks fashion mogul Ralph Toledano. Millennials are now fair game-changers in the alluring world of luxury retail.

 

Cash in Your Collection of Luxe Handbags, Jewelry, and More

 

These days, buying luxury items seem to be as common as picking up groceries. But with the physical appeal of luxury goods being undeniable — the leather is soft and sturdy; the hardware is shiny and stainless; the price tag is within the budget — who could blame millennials for spending their hard-earned money on such investments? And with the demand for luxury items skyrocketing, now is the perfect time to convert your investment into cash.

 

Biltmore Loan and Jewelry specializes in collateral-based loans and outright purchasing of valuable items. From Gucci and Louis Vuitton to Hermes and Chanel, we pay more than our competitors and say YES when the bank says NO. We service Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, Mesa, and the entirety of Phoenix, Arizona. Visit our locations or complete our online form to request a free market appraisal.

ART DECO BRACELET

The History And Legacy of Art Deco

At the end of World War 1 came a revolutionary movement in the realm of creative arts. Heralded as the most fashionable international design innovation in modern art lasting almost two decades since 1925, Art Deco transformed everything including furniture, photography, jewelry, fashion, architecture, painting, and product design.

The style, which above all reflected advanced technology, was known for its bold geometric shapes, smooth lines, bright contrasting colors, and almost non-existent brush strokes. For the first time, artists weren’t focusing solely on organic objects. They’ve adopted a taste for the loud and transformative ideals of the period.

Origin art deco building

The term Art Deco originated from the popular Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, a massive fair held in Paris during the summer of 1925. Displaying anything and everything as long as it was devoid of traditional elements, this government-sponsored occasion was projected to cement France’s reputation as the global leader in the design and production of luxury goods.

For that matter, the early days of Art Deco boasted a wealth of splendidly expensive materials like lacquer, silver, ivory, sharkskin, and ebony to entice the affluent bourgeois. It proved to be a success, as people were already bored with old-fashioned historical styles and wanted to see something new and creative.

Characteristics 

Combining new building materials with stepped, radiating styles, Art Deco architecture signify scientific progress and the consequent rise of speed, commerce, and technology. Because of its modern opulent design, the elements of Art Deco suited the interiors of train stations, cinemas, and ocean liners in the United States.

Its structure is based on linear patterns inspired by Greco-Roman Classicism, the face of Assyria, Babylon, and Ancient Egypt’s architectural forms. Art Deco designs were especially favored in the Machine Age, shaping the way people built radios and skyscrapers.

In particular, zigzagged, trapezoidal, and triangular shapes represent Art Deco. Sweeping curves, stepped forms, and sunburst motifs were also visible in a number of separate applications, including car radiator grilles, shoes, and the spire of the William van Alen Chrysler Building in New York.

Famous Artists

Although Art Deco was rarely applied to sculpture or painting, many 20th century painters applied the style in their creations. Such artists include the sculptor Paul Manship with his bronze sculpture Prometheus, painter Tamara de Lempicka and her oil painting The Musician, and graphic artist Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron who won the Grand Prix for poster design at the 1925 Paris Expo.

The style was also the center of illustration of many successful fashion designers. George Barbier, Erte, Umberto Brunelleschi, and Charles Martin were notable names in the industry. Paul Poiret, the mastermind behind the Ecole d’Art Decoratif Martine and Atelier Martine, was also a leader of the movement.

Art Deco met its demise post World War 2 in the 1940s when chrome replaced silver, and plastic and Bakelite took the place of ivory and ebony for mass production consumption. Nevertheless, the style’s enduring influence and widespread application prove that it offers more than simple visual appeal. What makes Art Deco different is the embrace of luxury, modernity, and function. These qualities can be enjoyed, in their many guises, throughout our history’s collections, from furniture to fashion.

 

The Magnificent Seven: Designer Jewelry Every Woman Should Invest In

There is something fulfilling and regal about buying designer jewelry, regardless if it costs an arm and a leg. Yet, just because something is “expensive” does not mean it will retain its value and status as a classic piece. To benefit from your investment, choose pieces that have proven their worth. From century-old diamond settings to timeless gold accessories, here are seven designer jewelry you can wear forever (or pass on as an heirloom).

  1. Cartier Love Bracelet Cartier 18k Yellow Gold Love Bracelet Bangle Cuff Size 16

Kylie Jenner, Paris Hilton, and Sophia Vergara are only three of the hundreds of celebrities seen wearing the iconic Love Bracelet from Cartier. In 1969, Aldo Cipullo designed the cuff-style bracelet with a unique locking mechanism. A mini screwdriver accompanies the cuff, allowing the wearer to secure or remove the accessory from their wrist. In a literal sense, the Cartier Love Bracelet is jewelry you can wear for the rest of your life.

Since Louis-Francois Cartier founded the brand in 1847, Cartier has had a long history of catering to celebrities and royalty. For instance, King Edward VII of England referred to Cartier as “The jeweler of kings and the king of jewelers.” Today, their distinctive designs are in-demand on a global scale. The signature Love Bracelet is just one example of sought-after Cartier pieces, making for a quick and easy resale process.

Sell your Cartier Love Bracelet or Watch Here

  1. Tiffany Setting Ring

Consumers recognize Tiffany & Co., an American luxury jewelry and specialty retailer, for its exquisite jewelry. Founded in 1837 and famous for their selection of diamonds, Tiffany is most women’s number one choice for engagement rings.

Non-traditional engagement rings are becoming more popular in the 21st Century. Nonetheless, something as classic as the Tiffany Setting Ring is irreplaceable and forever fancied. Tiffany & Co. first introduced the design in 1886, and it remains one of the most popular rings today. Rather than setting the stone into a bezel, Tiffany created a minimal six-prong setting to put more emphasis on the diamond’s exposure and shine.

  1. Mikimoto Pearls 

    mikimoto pearls

The Phoenix Mikimoto Crown, also known as the Mikimoto Crown, is a pageant headpiece worn by Miss Universe titleholders. Fortunately, there is no need to become the next Miss Universe to wear Mikimoto Pearls. While some people believe that these glistening objects are outdated, jewelry experts and collectors think otherwise. Pearls are a symbol of sophistication and class. For example, ladies of nobility and royalty, such as Queen Elizabeth II and Lady Diana Spencer, often wore elaborate pearl necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and brooches throughout their lifetime.

When it comes to a luxurious stand of pearls, nobody does it better than Mikimoto. The company’s founder, Mikimoto Kōkichi, received widespread prestige and acclaim for creating the first cultured pearl in the 1890s.

  1. David Yurman Cable Bracelet David Yurman Sterling Silver Cable Bracelet

The Brooklyn Bridge inspired the design for David Yurman’s artistic signature cable bracelet, which was launched in 1982. Gemstones of different shapes, sizes, and colors embellished both end caps of the cuff-style bracelet, fueling jewelry enthusiasts’ desire to collect them all.

When it comes to modern jewelry designers, David Yurman is a household name that stands out. David and Sybil Yurman founded the company in 1980. Together, they created artisanal jewelry designs with unmatched features. Among David Yurman’s signature pieces include the Renaissance line, which introduced the cable bracelet. Effortless, artisanal, and timeless, David Yurman designs exude elegance and quality. Their pieces are not only among the most coveted in the world, but they also command top prices on a consistent basis and make wonderful additions to any jewelry collection.

  1. Chanel Costume Jewelry 

No other brand produces beautiful, elegant, and to-die-for costume jewelry like Chanel. Their extravagant pearls, camellia flowers, and enamel brooches are Chanel’s bread and butter, pairing well with a classic LBD (little black dress). Coco Chanel herself designed a costume jewelry line out of her own obsession. Her love for combining high-end jewels with more affordable pieces, along with her influence as a fashionista, made costume jewelry the booming trend it is today.

Sell your Chanel Jewelry here

  1. Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra Necklace

The Alhambra collection from Van Cleef & Arpels is among their best sellers to date. The company created the line in 1968, although the Alhambra motif is modern. Typically inlaid with mother-of-pearl, there is no question as to why jewelry enthusiasts are passionate about Van Cleef & Arpels’ Alhambra Necklace.

People desire jewelry from Van Cleef & Arpels for a reason: each piece is manufactured from the highest quality materials possible. Furthermore, Van Cleef holds its value exceptionally well. The stunning Alhambra Necklace is a wise investment piece because of its excellent resale value.

  1. Bulgari B.Zero1BVLGARI B-Zero1 Round Necklace

Compared to some pieces from Cartier and Tiffany, Bulgari’s B.Zero1 is a relatively new design. Introduced in 1999, the designer ring inspired by the Colosseum (Rome’s most majestic monument), is on its way to becoming a classic. Bulgari’s B.Zero1 is a contemporary take on the brand’s 1970s Tubogas collection, which was inspired by gas pipes.

A Word of Advice: Don’t Become a Target

Remember these words: out of sight, out of mind! Take a page out of Kim Kardashian’s book and her recent encounter with thieves in Paris, France — do not tell the world about your jewelry and investments. Whether you are collecting silver, gold, diamonds, or any of these magnificent seven pieces, try to maintain a low profile and only flaunt your jewelry when appropriate. Also, always keep your valuables secure while waiting to convert them into profit.

Know Where to Sell Your Jewelry

Diamonds, as the song says, are a girl’s best friend. But certain jewelry, such as the rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings on this list, are sometimes better investments than others. Biltmore Loan and Jewelry in Phoenix, AZ is an excellent venue for selling fine jewelry at fair market value. We offer transparency, safety, and convenience.

To request a free market appraisal, complete our online form or call us at 480-991-5626 for Scottsdale or 480-705-5626 for Chandler. We also welcome walk-ins at our locations, where you can sell your jewelry in one day. Our appraisal experts and buyers look forward to doing business with you.

10 Modish Armani Exchange Watches To Add To Your Collection

Known for his androgynous or gender-bending designs, it didn’t take long for Giorgio Armani’s label to make it to the high fashion scene. Giorgio Armani SpA, co-founded with Sergio Galeotti, has taken Hollywood by storm as the 80s rolled around. Soon the company explored other branches of fashion besides haute couture. With its famous diffusion line in 1991, Armani Exchange was born to cater to the American market. Not long after, AX watches were launched and the rest, as they say, is history. Here are 10 items worth checking out.

  1. Street

This modish quartz timepiece pairs well with a smart-casual ensemble. Street features a 46-millimeter diameter body, mineral crystal glass, and textured blue dial. Complementing this cool tone are the silver hands and baton markers. The Armani Exchange logo is printed on a greyish strip stretching from the nine o’clock position to the date window at three o’clock. Apart from being quite durable, Street is also water resistant up to 50 meters. Its trendy leather strap comes in an elegant shade of brown. This one is one of the most popular pieces among Armani Exchange’s offerings.

  1. Harper

Be it a casual or formal event, Harper’s minimalist and effortless appeal has got you covered. This quartz watch has a 38-millimeter-wide stainless steel case, coated with robust PVD (physical vapor deposition) in a rose gold hue. It also features a polished white dial and three hands in the same rose gold color. The look is finished with a white leather strap and a strong mineral crystal glass cover. Harper stands out among other Armani Exchange watches for its fresh design and its ability to endure a water depth of 50 meters.  

  1. Maddox

This is a youthful piece for those who want to indulge a little in life. The Maddox is handcrafted with a case and band made with smooth stainless steel. These strong materials guarantee the longevity of the product and will make any owner proud. The black dial, white hands, and blue band add a touch of sophistication to the overall exterior of the watch.

This watch also has a Japanese quartz movement to ensure accurate time daily and a mineral crystal to protect the dial. In addition, this product is water-resistant to 100 meters, which is ideal for those days where an accident may occur. The imperishable components, rich details, and the splendid quality of the Maddox watch make it a perfect addition to any collection.

  1. Lola

Polished in silver-tone stainless steel, the slender and slinky Lola ladies’ watch is all about modern minimalism. The watch pairs a chic mesh bracelet and shiny sunray dial. Sleek indexes mark the hours along with small sparkling gemstones that exude a glamorous vibe. Encased in anti-scratch mineral glass and powered by quartz movement, this Armani Exchange watch is expected to last a long time while remaining punctual.

  1. Hampton

With a classy, textured silver dial, the 46 millimeter Hampton quartz watch is just the right mix of unmistakable style and simple elegance. Its baton markers are in a lighter gunmetal tone, while the minute and hour hands are slightly darker to enhance readability. Hampton’s minimalistic aesthetic shows even on the date window at the three o’clock position. While it is encased in stainless steel, the timepiece also has a fine PVD coating in the same stylish gunmetal hue of its hands.

  1. Drexler

Featuring a chronograph dial and a striped inner dial with a dark-textured finish, the Drexler timepiece is a cultured choice for men with a bold sense of style. The outer bezel is in a handsome matte grey shade while the whole 44-millimeter case is in sleek silver, brilliantly complementing the stainless steel bracelet.

The Armani Exchange logo sits at the crown and the two push-down buttons for the chronograph feature, plated with rose gold, radiate sophistication. This watch comes with a mineral crystal dial cover and can resist water up to 100 meters, making it an ideal companion even when you’re swimming.

  1. Dress

Finding a watch with stylish yet delicate details can be a difficult task. However, the label’s two-toned Dress watch with a width of 36 millimeters is bound to surpass any woman’s expectation. The round watch has a rose gold crown and bezel, along with a contrasting silver-plated dial. Embellishments are kept at a minimum to keep the product’s contemporary look. Slender hour, minute, and seconds hands enhance the quartz watch’s elegance.

  1. Cayde

This watch is another excellent example of Armani’s less-is-more approach. Cayde’s long linear indexes for hours and the thin hour, minute, and seconds hands in silver provide a dainty and polished look. At a width of 42 millimeters, the timepiece isn’t too large and is bound to look perfect on anyone’s wrist. Another distinguishing feature of this item is its fantastic sunburst finish on its blue dial, giving it a suave feel. The strap is a classic dark brown leather with brown-colored stitching.

  1. ATLC

Inspired by pop art, ATLC should be your newest acquisition if you swear by bold designs. The eye-catching watch comes with a quartz movement and an edgy layout. Its 46-millimeter diameter displays a fresh design representative of the brand’s new motif – “New energy, same spirit.” In addition, the pointed hour and minute hands complement the large crown, showing the avant-garde theme of the watch. The case and strap feature a silicon material while the glass is made of mineral crystal. This model comes in a striking black shade as well.

  1. Active

The clean and slender Active watch is a stunner for the sporty type. While most chronograph pieces do not come with a date function, this quartz watch has a date window between the four and five o’clock positions. To top it off, it is unaffected by water up to 50 meters.

Sleek, youthful, and fashionably modern, Armani Exchange watches perfectly captures the soul of its parent company. While there is no shortage of watches with posh tones or suave designs under this sub-label, there is also no compromise on quality. These timepieces truly let you express your individualism like no other brand out there.

Collateral 101: How To Borrow Against Heirloom Jewelry

In economic hard times, people turn to jewelry, precious metal, and even gold teeth to raise cash. They scour through attics and jewelry boxes for silver, gold, diamonds, and anything else of value to help pay the gas bills, the mortgage, or to purchase gifts to put under the tree. When recession starts to bite and gold prices skyrockets, more people decide to pawn grandma’s ring as a source of quick cash. Here are institutions that accept fine jewelry as collateral for a loan.

Pawn Shops

These lenders provide loans based on the value of items. Pawn shops usually will offer you a fraction of the item’s value and arrange for you to renew the terms periodically – anywhere from one to four months is the typical time frame. They will keep your jewelry in storage until you redeem it as long as you continue to pay on your loan. However, missing a payment allows the pawn shop to store and sell your jewelry, usually for a profit.

There may be a variation between brokers because regulations only set maximum but not minimum amounts. Furthermore, each of them may value your item differently, so it’s wise to check for rates around your area first.

Going to a pawn shop is a popular way to borrow against heirloom jewelry, but it’s not your only option. Dedicated jewelry lenders and even banks may accept your item as collateral and make you a loan. In some cases, their terms will be more favorable than what you can get from a pawn shop.

Secured Jewelry Lenders

These lenders specialize in handling jewelry and may offer a higher rate of your item’s value. Like pawn shops, they can sell your property if you don’t make your payments. However, they sometimes charge lower storage fees and interest rates, making it more affordable to borrow from them.

Banks

While car and home loans are the traditional forms of collateral you’d find at banks and credit unions, some of them still accept jewelry. Before making the loan, the lender may require you to submit a collateral appraisal that states the value of the jewelry in terms of what it can be sold for. Most banks are not interested in making a small loan, so try to go for this route if you have a valuable piece or collection at hand.

When you inherit jewelry, take your time to decide what to do with it. After all, an heirloom has a significant meaning and most of the time, family members opt to keep it. Still, there’s nothing wrong with using your inherited jewelry as collateral if you have a financial emergency or its design is simply not your style. Rather than letting your collection sit and catch dust, you could try to take out a loan secured by jewelry.

As an acclaimed lender and buyer of high-value assets in Arizona, Biltmore can help you determine the real worth of your jewelry. We only give top-dollar for luxury assets whether in the form of a sale or a secured loan. Call us today at 480-470-1935 (Chandler) or 480-470-8376 (Scottsdale), or visit one of our offices for a free appraisal.

Audemars Piguet Geneve 18K Yellow Gold Men's Solid Gold Watch

The Essentials Of Pawning A Luxury Watch

A luxury watch tells not just the time, but it also expresses the wearer’s style, wisdom, and success. The entire process of creating high-end timepieces is distinctly different from those of mass-produced watches, which makes them a symbol of prestige. Here are four main qualities that set them apart from run-of-the-mill options. Tiffany & Co. 18K Yellow Gold Diamond Tesoro Women's Watch

  • Brand – The biggest names in the luxury watch industry have a landmark feature that sets them apart from the others. For example, Rolex watches are made from 904L steel, a more sophisticated and more rust and corrosion-resistant option that requires the use of special tools and machines. That makes their timepieces last for many years, thus the high price tag.
  • In-house Movements – All the moving parts of a watch are put together in the company’s plant rather than being outsourced. Some watchmakers even perform the assembly and polishing totally by hand.
  • Features – Many luxury watches offer additional functions that go beyond the standard model. Features like a date display, calendar, and time zone information can add more value to a watch.
  • Jewelry – Some of the most expensive watches are adorned with precious metals and gemstones. They serve as jewelry to fit the individual’s jet setter lifestyle.

The Best Way To Sell Or Pawn A Luxury Watch

To liquidate a watch in a quick yet safe and proven way requires you to pay attention to some essential things. Here are tried and tested tips for beginners:

  • Avoid Shady Online Platforms – If you want to get the most out of your luxury watch, better avoid online apps and platforms like Craigslist, OfferUp, Letgo, etc. Meeting up with strangers is generally unsafe and the risks can outweigh the benefits. Going to these platforms also poses disadvantages such as price haggling, waiting for a buyer to make a contact, and meeting a potential buyer that might not even turn up.
  • Skip The Retail Stores – Many resale websites have emerged for people who want to sell their second-hand items. However, consumers rarely receive a good return since these websites will only buy the items at a relatively low price.
  • Find A Professional Buyer – Go to a shop that has a deep understanding of luxury watches and offers a competitive rate. Make sure you are dealing in a secure environment and you are talking to people who are highly skilled and professional. You can easily search the web for more information and reviews for a particular pawn shop.

How To Get Started Audemars Piguet Geneve 18K Yellow Gold Men's Solid Gold Watch

Don’t let your luxury watches to catch dust in your drawer. If you have a financial emergency or you just feel like letting go of your old watches to purchase the latest models, go to Biltmore and have your timepieces appraised.

You can either sell your luxury watches outright or take out a loan. Using our online appraisal form, give us some general information regarding the watch you wish us to evaluate. You may also speak with our staff through one of our hotlines – 480-470-1924 (Scottsdale) or 480-508-9091 (Chandler). Bring your assets to one of our offices and receive an estimate, no need for an appointment.

Related: Learn how to Sell your Rolex Watch Here

antique pocket watch

The Expert Guide On Valuing Antiques and Collectibles

antique pocket watch

Maybe you have more stuff from your grandparents than you have space for or perhaps you want to turn the clutter in your attic into cash. Whatever your reason, sorting through decades-old collectibles and antiques is a fun way to take a trip down the memory lane. Also, you can make some serious money putting them on the market. But first, you need to have a sense of how these items are valued to ensure you get a fair offer. Here’s our must-read guide to pricing items before you sell.

How Experts Value Antiques

Truthfully, there’s no easy way to answer how much antiques and collectibles are worth. But as ambiguous as it can be, evaluators do quotations on a daily basis largely by looking at comparable wares. It is ideal if the appraiser can find a number of recorded sales for the exact same piece you are selling, making the valuation more accurate. You would then discard the low and high values to get the average quotation of the object. Many times, live auction results and other services of similar nature are used for this purpose.

The reality is, appraisers are not always so lucky to find sale records of every item. Often they only get to discover one account, much less several. That includes archives of items that are identical in condition whether that means excellent or poor. These experts diversify a bit on whether to include comparable objects fairly often, especially when looking at antique furniture. You can do this strategy yourself, with some patience, time, and guidance.

Where to Begin Your Research Online

You can start your research quest on proper valuation with several of resources found online. There should be articles, guides, and links to give you a jumpstart at pricing your possessions. There are also online assessment services that you can turn to if you just want to pay for an “estimation of value,” a term that should not be confused with a professionally written appraisal.

Take note that many online value guides only reflect a single point in history when an object was traded rather than an average selling price. That price can be lower or higher than the norm. As the name implies, these resources are simple guides.

Another convenient way to determine your item’s approximate value is to visit online auctions. Look up past results or log on to a large vintage mall or antique selling site Etsy.com or RubyLane.com, as examples). You may find similar pieces on their inventory that will help you assess your item’s value.

Do keep in mind that online pricing depends on a number of factors and from dealer to dealer. The price you see at one moment may not be the final price when it eventually gets sold. There are also cases when online action results show prices that are far less than what dealers are inclined to ask at antique shows and in brick and mortar shops.

Choosing Books For Offline Research

You can always hit your local library for information on certain antiques and collectibles. You might also want to check out any large bookstore in your area and see what you can find there. If you want to take this project to a higher level why not build your own reference library? This is a good idea if you are researching the same types of objects over and over.

The variety of books on collectibles and antiques has dwindled over the past decades. Still, popular publishing houses like Schiffer Books and Krause Publications continue to produce texts on various vintage and antique topics. Look for these publishers online to see their complete catalogs.

When you are using books to look for values, even if you find the exact item shown in the same condition, remember that the figures listed are usually higher than average. This means you might not actually be able to sell a piece for that hefty amount. Authors occasionally use erratic auction prices in their quotation averages, which, for better or worse, can significantly skew the results. Sometimes the person who owns the item shown in a book dictates the quotation.

Values also vary from rural to urban areas and from coast to coast, so where prices are obtained can make a vast difference. A vintage piece may fetch a much higher amount in Los Angeles or New York than it would in Des Moines or Omaha. The author’s venue or preferred selling location plays an important role in valuation.

Wholesale Values vs. Secondary Market Values

Once you’ve done your research, it’s now time to look at the venue and the market in which you want to sell. If you are choosing an antique dealer, expect to get a wholesale price of around one quarter to one-half of what you would ask as a secondary market retailer. That’s because antique dealers typically have overhead to consider. They may also have kept the pieces for years until someone who is willing to pay top dollar for them walks in. One advantage of this is that it allows you to turn your items into cash more quickly.

No one wants to get ripped off when selling their precious hand-me-downs. Researching beforehand is your best bet if you want to get a fair quotation for your items. If you have expensive antique furniture, pottery, metalware, silver pieces, and other collectibles, consider Biltmore Loan.

Selling At Biltmore Loan

If you want to know how much your antiques and collectibles are worth, professional appraisers at Biltmore Loan will be glad to give you an estimate. You can use your various items as collateral or as pieces for sale or for a loan. Bring in whatever you think might be worth something and we’ll take a look at it. There is no obligation to set an appointment to get a free appraisal. Call us today at (480) 991-5626 if you are in Scottsdale or (480) 705-5626 if you are visiting from Chandler. You may also fill out our online form for your questions.

Legends Made In Italy: 10 Brands That Define Haute Couture

Italy is home to some of the finest and most influential luxury brands in the fashion industry. Its grand houses embrace different aspects of style – some prefer a bold, daredevil approach, while others like to keep apparel elegant and comfortable.

No matter what trend they initiate, people all over the world always get crazy about the quality exhibited by these brands – be it clothing, bags, watches, or perfumes. Here’s the story behind some of the most iconic Italian names that continue to dominate the global fashion scene.

  1. Bottega Veneta  

Immersed in the conventions of Italian craftsmanship, the brand has set a new standard for extravagance since it was established in Vicenza in 1966. Bottega Veneta, which roughly translates to “Venetian Atelier” or “Venetian Workshop,” celebrates the rich culture and beauty of Venice through its stylish bags, shoes, and ready-to-wear.

Their most recognizable mark is intrecciato, the handwoven leather introduced in 1975. The same material is still used in their signature Veneta hobo and Cabot tote bags as well as in new styles. Bottega Veneta’s core philosophy revolves around expressing individuality with discreet luxury goods made without blatant logos.

  1. Fendi 

The eponymous Rome-based House founded by Edoardo and Adele Fendi immediately rose to prominence since its inception in 1925. Fendi began on the busy street of Via del Plebiscito at the heart of Rome. The shop first sold small and medium leather goods and set up a clandestine fur workshop.

Their five daughters, Anna, Paola, Carla, Alda, and Franca soon decided to join the family business, bringing fresh and innovative ideas. Thanks to them, the world-renowned designer Karl Lagerfeld entered Fendi and together they revolutionized how to wear fur, transforming it into a chic, soft, light item of clothing.

  1. Giorgio Armani

After working as a designer in the menswear department of Nino Cerruti, Giorgio Armani established his own company with Sergio Galeotti. The label won great acclaim in the 1980s with its line of deconstructed suits that face up to conventional Italian tailoring, earning Armani the title “Kind of the Blazer.”

The brand has since expanded from clothing to makeup and fragrance, earning it a spot in the largest and strongest luxury brands in the world. Still, the signature Giorgio Armani line remains true to its origins – understated design and exquisite quality; the Armani suit will forever epitomize the sophisticated style of the modern Italian gentleman.

  1. Gucci gucci bag

Guccio Gucci founded the eponymous label in 1921, making it one of the oldest Italian luxury brands in modern history. Inspired by the opulent lifestyles of people he met on his travels through France and London, Gucci started crafting quality leather luggage items.

The company’s first affluent clients were “horse-riding aristocrats” who clamored for equestrian gear. This is where the brand’s trademark horse-bit detail comes from. Tom Ford took over as Creative Director in 1994, starting a new era of fearless fashion for Gucci. Today, the brand is reinvigorating its identity with the help of Alessandro Michele, embracing its fame amongst the younger crowd.

  1. Marni

Still, in its early twenties, Marni might be the youngest Italian brand on this list. But given its rapid rise to success, the company which was founded in 1994 by Consuelo Castiglioni is truly a worthy mention. Marni began as an avenue to experiment with textiles and fur using the family’s fur business.

Now it releases full collections of beautiful ready-to-wear, jewelry, luggage, and accessories. Some of the brand’s most iconic pieces are composed of brightly colored fur coats, oversized tunics, and kilted derby shoes.

  1. Miu Miu

Best known for its eccentric off-the-rack and handbag collections, Miu Miu is never short of energy and color. Created as an offshoot of the historic Prada brand, the subsidiary takes its name from Miuccia’s family nickname. The label completely disregards the traditional minimalism often seen in Japanese fashion and always goes for sequins, gold, fur, chains, and splashes of color that can turn anyone’s head.

  1. Moschino

Moschino is one of the top trendsetters in the industry. Its style deviates from the hierarchical and insular notion of haute couture, and instead, embraces pop culture in a way that no other brand has ever done before. Moschino’s attention to streetwear and quirky expression of culture gives the luxury label an enduring essence of authenticity.

  1. Prada

Like many other Italian brands, Prada has its roots in leather luggage goods. Its first shop was built in 1913 by Mario Prada and not too long it became the official supplier to the Italian royal household.  After Mario’s death, Prada entered a new phase when Miuccia took over the company’s creative helm. She was unstoppable and brought more successes to the brand with her timeless and effortless creations of women’s handbags and clothing.

  1. Valentino

No famous red carpet event is complete without a Valentino dress. The one-man fashion powerhouse has built an empire for 50 years and has become a staple for celebrity parties. With Parisian influences, Valentino makes some of the most grandiose and opulent designer pieces that make other dresses to shame. Among the brand’s most prominent clients was Jacqueline Kennedy.

  1. Versace

There wasn’t anyone as extravagant as Gianni Versace in the ‘90s. Supermodels and celebrities rocked his line of flashy, bright, and rock ‘n roll apparel, making the word “fabulous” synonymous with Versace. The designer’s assassination in 1994 hit the airwaves on January 17, devastating his younger sister and muse, Donatella, and the fashion world that loved his creations. But Donatella carried on his principles and proved that Versace was still as relevant as ever.

The success of ItalianModa is the fruit of a long history of complexity and character. From royalties to Hollywood actresses, these top Italian brands continue to charm the affluent with their take on sensuality, eccentricity, and elegance through fashion.

Sell or Loan Your Designer Items At Biltmore

Looking to update your wardrobe and let go of some of your designer pieces? Bring them to Biltmore for evaluation. Call us today at 480-991-5626 (Scottsdale) or 480-705-5626 (Chandler) for more information. You may also fill out our online form to schedule your appointment.