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Say it with million-dollar diamonds and artisan chocolate bars

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(13 Feb 2017) LEAD IN:From million-dollar diamonds to art-house chocolate - when it comes to splashing out on Valentine's Day luxury, there are few places better than Los Angeles. In the US alone, total spending on this day of love is expected to reach 18.2 billion US dollars this year, according to the National Retail Federation.STORY-LINE:Can you put a price on love? Here in Beverly Hills, it seems you can. Anyone who buys this 107 carat diamond necklace for their beloved is making a declaration of love worth 1.125 million US dollars.It's taking centre stage at Tiffany & Co. on Rodeo Drive, a store that markets itself as the home of world-class diamonds - and an arbiter of jewellery taste and style. The store is doing its best to tempt lovers with cash to splash this Valentine's Day.Here in the US, the total spending on Valentine's Day 2017 is expected to reach 18.2 billion US dollars, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). But this year, Valentine's spending is expected to be slightly down, after increasing for the last decade.Consumers are expected to spend an average of 136.57 US dollars, down from last year's record high of 146.84 US dollars, according to the NRF.Jewellery is this year's number one Valentine's purchase, according to shoppers surveyed by the NRF.Consumers in the US plan to spend 4.3 billion on jewellery this year and 19 percent of shoppers surveyed said they would be giving jewellery as a gift. At Tiffany, the 8.04 carat "Heart Shaped Ring" is one of the most extravagant ways of expressing your love, with a price tag of 650,000 US dollars.Or there's the 44 carat "Morganite Necklace", costing 195,000 US dollars.For the men, there are show stopping diamond pieces as well. The 20,000 US dollar limited edition CT60 Men's Watch is made of 18 carat white gold and named in honour of Charles Lewis Tiffany who founded the company in 1837.The "Princess Cut Diamond Cufflinks" are 3.87 carats and sell for 50,000 US dollars.Los Angeles-based lifestyle expert Catenya McHenry says Valentine's Day has a significant impact on the economy."People spend about 140 dollars (US dollars) per spender. And that money is spent on all kinds of luxury items, about four billion dollars will be spent on jewellery. That includes high end diamonds, diamond bracelets and of course engagement rings, everybody knows that millions of people will get engaged on Valentine's Day, so it's huge. It has a great significant impact on the economy and that's across the board."If diamonds are forever, chocolate most certainly is not - these luxury treats at Compartes Chocolatier in Los Angeles may not even last the day. The store produces handmade so-called 'haute chocolat', which brings together taste, style and design into striking new creations. A small team of chocolatiers at two tiny shops in LA work around the clock to supply 700 locations in the USA , seven stores in Tokyo, as well as others in Dubai and other cities. The company markets itself as a producer of artisan chocolate confections, truffles and gourmet bars using the freshest organic ingredients. It comes up with new styles every season, just like a fashion house would do - some of them more unusual than others. "Tropica" is covered in mango, chilli and coconut; Donuts & Coffee contains real donut chunks and the "Spring Awakening" is decorated with freeze-dried fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.The store claims a long list of celebrity fans: Nicole Kidman, Cate Blanchett, Janet Jackson, Elton John, Gwyneth Paltrow, Dustin Hoffman, Steven Spielberg, David and Victoria Beckham, Brad Pitt are all said to enjoy a taste of Compartes chocolate artistry. You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/you... Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork

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AP Archive 4080857 dfb3dc80ae4626b14d9cd8593f606e50 (HZ) US Valentine's Day Dustin Hoffman Victoria Beckham Gwyneth Paltrow Steven Spielberg Cate Blanchett Brad Pitt Nicole Kidman Elton John Janet Jackson United States Los Angeles California Lifestyle Arts and entertainment Business and And? AND bars BAR Bar B.A.R. Dustin Hoffman dustin hoffman Dustin dustin victoria beckham Victoria Beckham Victoria Cate cate Nicole Kidman nicole kidman Elton Eltons elton Angeles Angele angeles Ángeles
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