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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Did your Valentine's Day gift disappoint? 

It can be hard for Valentine's gestures to keep up in the age of Insta'-envy

Disappointed that your partner didn't pull a Kanye and gift you a 1,000 roses? EPA / Piyal Adhikary
Disappointed that your partner didn't pull a Kanye and gift you a 1,000 roses? EPA / Piyal Adhikary

What did you get yesterday? 1,000 roses? That’s what Kanye West had delivered to Kim Kardashian on February 14, 2014. A 200 year-old olive tree worth $18,500? That’s how Angelina Jolie showed her love for husband Brad Pitt in 2011. Or a $24,000 platinum-covered cell phone, a la Jay-Z and Beyonce?

Valentine’s Day can be incredibly polarising. There are those that hate it, finding the whole premise contrived and consumeristic; and there are those that revel in the opportunity to express their love – case in point, the gentleman who asked for Tiffany & Co’s New York flagship boutique to be cleared, so he could get down on one knee and propose on the store’s iconic staircase.

Valentine’s Day gifts are a veritable minefield, and there are many who will have woken up today feeling slightly cheated. No olive tree, no platinum phone – and certainly no bespoke Bentley, which is what Katy Perry bought for then-hubby Russell Brand in 2010.

What couples in the UAE are buying each other

So what are couples in the UAE giving each other? Jewellery remains a firm favourite, and Joe Nahhas, vice president, Middle East & Africa, of Tiffany & Co, explains why. “Jewellery is special – it is highly personal, and a symbol of love that is displayed publicly when worn by the recipient. While there is something undeniably romantic about jewellery, it is also a gift that expresses platonic love - between parents and their children, between siblings and between friends.”

Unfortunately, evolving trends in the jewellery industry mean that your partner may no longer be happy with just the one piece. “Styles have changed to include a broader range of options. These include the popular trend of stacking more than one item - rings and bracelets - and increased demand for statement pieces. Tiffany & Co. jewelry has the advantage of being considered an investment rather than a pure fashion statement, especially when it comes to gifting.”

A heart-shaped ring from Tiffany & Co. Courtesy Tiffany & Co
A heart-shaped ring from Tiffany & Co. Courtesy Tiffany & Co

Valentine's Day expectations growing in the age of social media

While Valentine’s Day was not widely celebrated in the UAE a decade ago, some think it has become an increasingly important date on the calendar – in part due to social media, suggests Tanya Atkinson, senior vice president of commercial, home and jewellery, Harvey Nichols Dubai and Bloomingdale’s. “When we first opened Harvey Nichols Dubai 12 years ago, Valentine’s Day was just a very small blip on the radar. But as the world has gotten smaller, with social media especially, Valentine’s Day means different things to different people in different cultures. And really, who doesn’t like to celebrate with a nice piece of jewellery, some flowers, and a lovely dinner?”

A Radiant Quatre ring from Boucheron, a Marfa by Memo fragrance or a Strathberry handbag are some of the things that feature on Atkinson’s Valentine’s wish-list, although she was more than happy to settle for a “chocolate surprise” concocted by her children.

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