People send nearly a billion Valentine’s Day cards every year, and even more when it comes to chocolates and flowers, but why follow the crowd? Choose these highly personal (and high-octane) declarations of your affection. Each is guaranteed to put a sweet smile on your sweetheart’s face.
For those whose wallets match their passion.
Diamonds are for lovers
Once they make it from the dirt to your honey-bunny’s finger, wrist or neck, these shiny carbon allotropes make a potent statement. Whisper sweet nothings in her ear while you clasp a spectacular tennis necklace of graduated white diamonds around her neck ($45,000-$65,000). If your heart is larger than your wallet, ask for the exquisite pear-shaped diamond pendant by Bridget Durnell ($8,000-$12,000). Diamond Vault, The Landings, 4910 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 921-4016; 72 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota (941) 364-8809.
A timely gift for him
Patek Philippe makes watches the old-fashioned way—by hand. The family-owned Swiss watch company, founded in 1839, creates exquisite works of art, combining traditional craftsmanship and avant-garde styling. McCarver & Moser offers an exceptional 18-karat yellow-gold men’s watch from the Gondolo collection. It has all the bells and whistles, including an annual calendar, sapphire-crystal case back and snazzy brown alligator strap. It’s the way to go for the classically modern male ($32,400). McCarver & Moser, 482 John Ringling Blvd. Sarasota (941) 388-3666.
In the language of gold, yellow stands for faithfulness. Profess your faith in your relationship with an elegant Philippe Charriol Alexandre ladies’ watch. Part of Charriol’s celebrated Celtique collection, this sleek time machine sports a bronze band and an 18-karat yellow gold bezel set off with glittering pavé diamonds. You’ll never tire of asking her the time ($3,790). Optional Art Fine Jewelry, 16 S. Boulevard of Presidents, Sarasota; (941) 388-2317.
Three more gifts from the heart.
Ties ‘n’ jammies
Why not a sexy tie for the man in your life? Yes, ties can be sexy. Exhibit A: a vintage designer tie from Museum Artifacts. These all-silk creations sport images reflecting his passions—from guitars to jukeboxes, retro cars, motorcycles, even burgers, lobsters and sushi ($47.50). If your gal likes to lounge, consider all-cotton pajamas made by Bedhead of Los Angeles. These comfy, glam jammies are ideal for an indolent Valentine’s Day morning in bed while she awaits her mimosa and chocolate strawberries ($149). Shop du Jour, 536 S. Orange Ave., Sarasota; (941) 323-8750.
On the run
For that busy executive who has everything but time, Nancy Wagner’s concierge service, In the Nick of Time, is a perfect gift. Her team will plan and manage events and parties, personalize and send cards and letters, shop, find tutors, make travel arrangements, even help find that perfect birthday, holiday or anniversary present. “If it’s legal and ethical, we can manage it,” says Wagner. Twenty-hour monthly packages begin at $500. (941) 350-5763; www.sarasotainthenickoftime.com.
A jug of wine and a loaf of bread? For this Valentine’s picnic, why not include artisan cheeses and a fine champagne? The folks at C’est Cheese will lovingly prepare a gift of heart-shaped artisan goat cheeses drizzled with Italian truffle honey and surrounded by imported Spanish Marcona almonds, dried mission figs and chocolate-covered strawberries—all wrapped up with a snazzy cheese knife and a striking slate-and-wood cheese board. They’ll include a bottle of 1995 Krug Champagne and two Riedel Champagne glasses, too. $300 without champagne; $450 with. C’est Cheese and Flanagan’s Wine Market, 4114 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota (941) 924-3374.
Making sweet memories.
Pop the champagne and/or the question while flying high above Sarasota on a Cessna 172 sunset sightseeing tour above the azure Gulf. The tour soars north to the Sunshine Skyway and Tampa’s glittering cityscape, then heads south to Siesta Key as the sun melts below the horizon. Don’t worry about the pilot; his eyes will be straight ahead on the skies. $179 per hour. Cirrus Aviation; (941) 360-9074.
Recipe for passion: Take one couple. Place in one impeccably appointed Sunset Suite at The Inn at Turtle Beach at Turtle Beach Resort. Mix in a bubbling hot tub on the terrace overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Include one couple’s massage and an al fresco dinner at Ophelia’s just next door. Add flowers and champagne as needed. Stir in a moonlit kayak ride under the stars or a stroll on the sugary sands of Turtle Beach. Simmer until hot. From $450 per night. Turtle Beach Resort, 9049 Midnight Pass Road, Sarasota (941) 349-4554.
Slow train coming
What could be more romantic than a long, slow trip by rail? The GrandLuxe Rail Journey (formerly the American Orient Express) offers six separate luxury train journeys across North America, each on a restored vintage train with lavish dining and lounge cars with painted ceiling murals, polished brass, mahogany walls and overstuffed lounge chairs, dome observation cars and grand sleeping cabins. The seven-day Antebellum South journey from New Orleans to Washington, D.C. is particularly romantic, making stops in several historic Southern cities including Savannah and Charleston. From $4,320 to $7,030 per person. www.grandluxerail.com.