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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.


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.


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 or, 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.

How To Ensure You Get The Best Price For Your Estate Jewelry

If you are searching for a reputable buyer to sell estate jewelry at the most competitive price, you have landed at the right place. Antique and vintage jewelry usually have complexities that make it quite a challenge to sell them. Add the changes in the luxury jewelry market and you’ll be navigating through numerous selling methods that can take you forever.

Finding a trustworthy estate jewelry buyer is an important step in securing the money you need from your heirloom or luxury piece. In this article, we will guide you through the process of selling estate jewelry and hopefully help you get a better understanding of the market.

What is estate jewelry? Estate_Journey_Earrings_&_Pendant_10K_White_Gold_

It’s a no-brainer that in order to sell estate jewelry, you have to know how they are classified. Technically, estate jewelry can be anything that is pre-owned, however, the industry usually refers to it as part of a deceased individual’s overall estate. They are typically pieces that have distinct designs from decades ago. It is common for estate jewelry to be passed down from generation to generation. Many of these were crafted in the 18th and 19th century. Experts define them as one of these two:


Antique jewelry pieces are the most collectible, generally, ones that are least a century old. Rarity, age, design, and provenance are the common deciding factors for its price. What makes them truly captivating is that they were crafter over a hundred years ago.


These jewelry pieces are made within the last 100 years. What the industry considers as vintage are 20 years or older. These are not mass-produced items, which makes them highly sought after. The most popular vintage jewelry that many stores look for come from the 30s and the 80s.

Where To Sell Estate Jewelry Estate_Cartier_Trinity__Three_Tone_18K_Gold_Earrings

Whether antique or vintage, the best place to sell estate jewelry is still with a reputable jeweler. However, you should look for one that specializes in the field. You may come across numerous jewelers in the United States, but not all of them will have a good eye for these old luxury items. As long as you take your time to research the company, you won’t have to worry about getting ripped off. To put it simply, your buyer should know how to appraise the estate jewelry, repair and clean it, and then buy it at a competitive price.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

Safety is your number one priority when selling your jewelry. Never agree to meet your unknown buyer at your house. You have to set boundaries to protect yourself and your property from a potential robbery. If you can’t find a way to meet a buyer at a public place, then do not list your jewelry to the general public. The bank is a safer place to finish the transaction because you can get your cash immediately. It also has security if something ever goes bad.

Fraud should be the next thing on your mind. It’s better to settle with cash than a check because this can be faked. You should also be on the lookout for con-men that try to switch jewelry.

In addition, make sure to notify a friend or relative of the time and place of your meeting. Tell them to expect your call just to check in. Even better, go with someone else and have him or her stand in the background, watching. Sometimes criminals work in teams and having someone looking at the whole situation should realize if something is amiss.

Of course, you can avoid all of these if you choose a known company with a secure location. A jeweler that has been in the business for many years and has all the documentation to prove their legitimacy will always be your best bet.

How To Know If Your Estate Jewelry Is Antique Or Vintage 

It is common for people to inherit jewelry without any kind of information. It can be extremely difficult to assess its value on your own, even if you go through multiple sources online. You might not even be sure if what you have is vintage or antique. Take your jewelry to an expert for examination. There you will find out all the facts you need to know about your vintage piece and the factors that will determine its price.

Why Choose Biltmore 

With over 30 years of experience, Biltmore has become one of the most trusted jewelry buyers in the country. We have built an extensive network of dealers and collectors, which provide us with a significant edge over our competitors. We are so confident you will get top dollar for your items that we even encourage you to get a second opinion. Our goal is to make lasting relationships with every person that comes through our doors, whether they are hoping to buy or sell luxury jewelry.

Biltmore is a one-stop-shop for luxury items, making the selling process easy by giving you all the information you need in one place. You can visit our Chandler or Scottsdale office or fill out our free online appraisal form. Our gemologists are always on staff so you can get precisely what your estate jewelry is worth.

From cleaning and fixing up issues on the jewelry to buying your vintage item for cash on the stop, you will experience a professional, no-nonsense service from our crew. With an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau, you know you are in the right hands. Pay us a visit and our expert staff would be happy to assist you.

Final Thoughts

Selling your estate jewelry is not an everyday occurrence. Enjoy the experience and learn some new things. Keep our tips in mind to take the frustrations out of letting go of your heirloom. Remember that you don’t have to be a gemologist to get the best price out of it. Research and look for the right people. In this journey, you will gain an insight on how experts evaluate jewelry and hopefully make you wiser on your future transactions.

The Genius of Chanel: Coco’s Larger-Than-Life Persona

Among the French brands we love, there’s nothing more iconic in the pantheon of fashion than Chanel. Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, the controversial high priestess of haute couture, ended the corseted era of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and left behind a multibillion-dollar legacy to the world.

Famous for Little Black dresses, quilted bags, and that iconic double C logo, the brand has grown into one of the most recognizable in the realm of the glamorous and luxurious. Get to know Chanel and how it became the high fashion house we know today.

The Story Of Coco

Most accounts of Chanel’s life contain equal bits of fact and fiction. She was often found fabricating stories of her experiences that she created an entire set of beliefs around her. She was born on August 19, 1883, in Saumur France. Gabrielle was raised in an orphanage where she learned how to sew. Perhaps self-conscious of her ignoble beginnings, she would often lie about her upbringing.

The truth is, Gabrielle Chanel was born to a laundrywoman. After her mother’s death, her father, who was a peddler, took her to Aubazine Abbey and left 12-year-old Gabrielle in the care of nuns. She had a brief stint as a singer and performed in clubs in Moulins and Vichy. During those days, people called her “Coco” which was the shortened version of cocotte, the French word for “kept woman.”

Chanel eventually found a job as a seamstress and found her first exposure to the decadence of Parisian high society when she became the mistress of textile heir Etienne Balsan. While she lived lavishly with him, she was looked down upon by Balsan’s socialite friends. During this time, Chanel saw the play of La Dame aux camellias, which resonated strongly with her woes as a courtesan of sorts in her lover’s home and her struggle to cope with her mother’s death. The white camellia would later become an important motif in various Chanel products.

Establishing The House of Chanel 

In 1909, then 26-year old Gabrielle started an affair with wealthy English polo player and friend of Balsan, Arthur “Boy” Capel. Despite the social circumstance, Boy believed in the innate businesswoman in Chanel and financed her first independent millinery shop, Chanel Modes, in 1910.

Chanel started designing and selling hats that were in stark contrast to the popular flamboyant trends of that time. Her style exuded youthful and elegant themes that continued on as she expanded her business to clothing.

The Little Black Dress

Coco’s business was a success, but her “little black dress” creation is what truly shook the fashion industry and elevated her name into stardom. It was a sleek, alluring garment meant to be adorned with dramatic accessories. It was the antithesis of all the ornaments and colors pervading fashion at the time, and it brought in a new era of chic.

The Best-Selling Fragrance No5

Coco received substantial financial backing from Pierre Wertheimer to start a new company, Les Parfums Chanel. In the early 1920s, the scent Chanel No5 became a worldwide trend. Created with perfumer to Russian royals, Ernest Beaux, Chanel picked the fifth sample because of her superstitious beliefs in the virtues of the number five. The simple name No5 stuck and it became a huge hit. In a 1954 interview, Marilyn Monroe was quoted saying that “Just a few drops of No5” were the only thing the famous actress wore in bed.

Opulent Jewelry 

Chanel didn’t stop at dresses and perfumes. Just a year after No5 started picking up, Coco began designing costume jewelry. Her style leaned toward the sleek and simple, adding touches of color and luxury. She developed her own techniques with the help of Maison Gripoix, master of poured glass.

Coco created beautiful pieces with green and red gems and she would often use both real and fake stones together – something that did not sit well with some people. Chanel defended her work by saying “The point of jewelry isn’t to make a woman look rich but to adorn her.” Just as she would describe her origins with bits and pieces of both fact and fiction, her jewelry was a blend of the same elements, with only the final aesthetic beauty as her priority.

During the Great Depression, Chanel got fixated on white and utilized it prominently in her designs. She referred to it as a symbol of “candid innocence” and embraced its purity and absoluteness. Coco loved how it paired with everything she placed it against.

The time she spent on the French Riviera inspired this style, with Coco saying, “A very white earring on the lobe of a well-tanned ear delights me… How brightly [these young women’s] jewelry would glitter if worn on a skin bronzed by the sun.” So when white became fashionable, suntan followed suit.

In 1932, Chanel created her first jewelry line with famous designer and former lover Paul Iribe. They worked on making the diamonds shine, featuring only barely visible settings in the pieces. This further propelled Chanel into the limelight of the fine jewelry industry. They frequently chose massive stones and it made much of their jewelry wild and breathtaking.

A Legacy Left To Lagerfeld

The Nazi occupation forced Chanel to shut down all of her operations, putting 4,000 employees out of work. Her fashion made a comeback in 1953 when she received great reception in the United States and Britain.

On January 10, 1971, the provocative Gabrielle passed away in her sleep at her Ritz Paris suite. Her assistants took charge of her work until Karl Lagerfeld became creative director in 1983. The House of Chanel has since evolved under his leadership, but the gold chains, quilt-stitched leather, and the interlinked C’s remain the hallmarks of the brand.

Planning on Buying or Selling a Chanel Statement Piece?

If you are in search of a classic piece to add to your luxury collection or are planning to let go of your pre-loved Chanel possessions, check out Biltmore for amazing deals and offers. Call us at 480-991-5626 (Scottsdale) or 480-705-5626 (Chandler) and our friendly staff will gladly answer all of your inquiries.

Keep your Diamond Rings Sparking with These Tips

As protective as you may be of your diamonds, it’s not every day that you can make the extra effort to take care of them. While they are one of the world’s toughest natural substances, it doesn’t mean that they are completely indestructible.

A diamond can lose its shine due to different factors. In fact, even a mere touch of a finger can cause dirt and grease to collect around it, reducing its appeal. If you feel like your ring has lost its original sparkle, it’s high time to give it a good cleaning. Besides monitoring the stone for any chip marks or scratches, it’s essential to ensure it is holding tight on the mount.

When it comes to handling precious stones, Biltmore Loan and Jewelry follow the best practices in the industry. Our seasoned experts are here to share eight tips to help you keep your diamond rings sparkling like new:

  • Bring it to a jeweler

If you haven’t maintained your fine jewelry in a while, we highly recommend bringing it to a jeweler for a cleaning and checkup. Apart from removing the grime that has accumulated on and around the piece, this is also great opportunity to confirm that the crystal is still secure and mounted safely.

Jewelers use ultrasonic cleaners with high-frequency sound waves and a special formulation. This equipment produces bubbles that attach onto the dirt, pulling it away from the surface of the stone. If they have to clean the entire thing at once, jewelers usually put it under a strong blast of steam to wash off all the filth and oil. After the initial treatment, bring your diamond back for professional cleaning at least once a year. 

  • Clean it at home regularly

With very simple steps, you can keep your diamonds sparkling every day. Soak the ring in a cup of warm water with a few drops of degreasing liquid such as a mild dish soap. Do not forget to close the drain if you are working over the sink. Let it sit in the solution for a couple of minutes to allow the grime to loosen up. After that, take a clean, soft-bristle toothbrush and lightly scrub off the remaining dirt. Use clean water for rinsing.

To dry it off, get a gem or lint-free fabric. Use a dry part of the cloth to buff the ring for extra shine. Avoid harsh chemicals like chlorine and detergent at all costs because they can erode the polish of the stone and wear its metal band. Do this process twice a week and be amazed by its shine. 

Read: How often should you clean your jewelry

  • Take your diamond ring off before going into the shower

Do not bathe wearing your diamond ring. There is a bit of chlorine present in water and it is not good for the stone. Before heading into the bath, remove all pieces of jewelry and store them properly.

  • Store it in a padded box

Rough containers and other sharp jewelry can scratch the exterior of diamonds, dulling their brilliance. Choose a padded box for each piece, preferably plastic. If you have to keep several pieces in one place, find a case with fabric-lined dividers. You can also wrap each of your diamonds with a tissue paper if you are storing them in an ordinary box.

  • Avoid exposure to cosmetics 

Lotions, hair spray, heavy creams, perfume, and other cosmetics can accumulate and reduce the sparkle of diamond jewelry. Of course, you would want your diamonds to look their finest especially if you have a special event to attend. Make sure to put them on only after you have applied these beauty products.

  • Safeguard your diamonds while you travel

There will be many occasions when you have to bring your crystals in your travels, so you have to consider the right way of packing them. You can purchase a carry-all that is specifically designed for jewelry travel. It comes in all shapes, patterns, sizes, and price ranges.

Most of them have velvet pads for earrings and pins, as well as protective compartments for necklaces and bracelets. Bring a small plastic bottle of mild cleaner with you so you can give your diamond a quick shine-up before an event.

  • Keep away from sweat

Avoid wearing your diamond ring while exercising or during other activities that cause you to sweat a lot. The sodium from perspiration can cause discoloration as it dries on the jewelry, leaving an unsightly yellow tone to it. Over time, the build-up will also cloud the metal surface.

  • Do not play sports or go swimming with it

Holding a tennis racket or lifting weights might seem innocent, but playing sports with your ring on can knock the stone out of place and leave it exposed to the elements. Swimming is also a bad idea because the cold water can shrink your fingers, making it easier for your ring to slip off. If you plan on doing intense sports or swimming in the ocean or pool, take your ring off and keep it somewhere safe.

Diamonds are meant to last a lifetime, so it pays to give them the best treatment possible. Your sparkler is such an important piece of fine jewelry, and perhaps outrageously expensive too. Do not treat it as something indestructible because it is more prone to damage than you might think. Proper care should be a top priority especially now that it has become a permanent fixture on your hand. Follow the above tips to keep your jewelry bright and in top condition at all times.

If you have to let go of your precious stones and still want them to be in good hands, go to Biltmore Loan and Jewelry. Not only do we offer the most competitive rates in the market, but we also make sure that your items are secured and handled with the utmost care. Call or visit our Chandler (480-470-0867) and Scottsdale (480-470-2493) branches or fill out our online form to get a free appraisal today.