Editor's Pick

Meet 3 Sellers Bringing the Best of Their World-Class Cities to 1stDibs’ Holiday Market

Cue the carols, the glittering decorations, the festive lighting, the sumptuous meals and, of course, the gift giving. The end-of-year holidays are a global event, with nearly every corner of the earth celebrating, although customs and climate may differ. 

Few gifting opportunities are as international in scope as those offered by 1stDibs, whose selection of items spans the planet while spotlighting diverse art, craft and design traditions. We spoke with three far-flung 1stDibs sellers — one each in Central America, Europe and Australia — to highlight the uncommon things you can find when the world is your holiday shopping oyster.


Gems from Down Under 

SYDNEY, Australia — Christmas in the heat of summer was something Natalie Barney, the renowned designer of meticulously crafted colored-gemstone jewelry, says she had to get used to when she arrived in Australia three decades ago from her native France, where the holidays were a chillier affair.

If Barney’s adopted land lacked snowy yuletides, however, it turned out to be an extraordinary source of raw material for the delicate, sparkling earrings, pendants and rings she designs and has fabricated locally. “Most of my jewelry is made here in Sydney by artisans who understand — and whom I respect as interpreters of — my sensibility,” she says, noting that they produce the pieces in their own workshops. “There is no factory, just the maker and the stone.” 

NATALIE BARNEY DIAMOND AND CEYLON SAPPHIRE CLUSTER RING, 2018
Natalie Barney diamond and Ceylon sapphire cluster ring, 2018

Many of the exquisite gemstones Barney uses are mined in Australia, including opals, pink diamonds and green sapphires, as well as sapphires of a distinctive dark shade known as Australian blue. 

The jewels’ rainbow palette jibes with the desires of Barney’s customers. Her clientele, as likely to be found in the elite precincts of Beverly Hills as among the sophisticated circles of Sydney, is hungry for alternatives to traditional diamond jewelry. “Last year,” Barney says, “we created many more colored engagement rings for women who say, ‘Diamonds? Been there, done that. And anyway, Grandma gave me hers. Give me color!’”

Natalie Barney’s Holiday Picks

Diamond and emerald cluster ring, 2020
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Diamond and emerald cluster ring, 2020

“Eight luminous emeralds radiate from a central diamond in this intricate ring, which is enhanced by the French technique of millegrain, or the application of fine beads to the borders of a jewelry setting. In the Art Deco era, the gift of such a piece was considered the ultimate romantic gesture.” 

Green tourmaline, pink rubellite and diamond necklace-enhancer pendant, 2019
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Green tourmaline, pink rubellite and diamond necklace-enhancer pendant, 2019

“In this pendant, I paired a delicious green tourmaline cabochon with a deep pink brilliant-cut rubellite framed with diamonds, because pink and green should always be seen!”

Pink tourmaline and diamond stud earrings, 2018
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Pink tourmaline and diamond stud earrings, 2018

“A cabochon really showcases the color and texture of a gemstone, as in these pink tourmaline and diamond stud earrings.”

Madeira citrine, tourmaline and diamond necklace-enhancer pendant, 2017
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Madeira citrine, tourmaline and diamond necklace-enhancer pendant, 2017

“This toffee-colored stone — a stunning madeira citrine — is paired with a mint tourmaline and diamonds. Oh, how they glow together!”

Diamond and green tourmaline flower drop earrings, 2018
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Diamond and green tourmaline flower drop earrings, 2018

“Versatile, feminine and classic, these diamond and green tourmaline earrings suit any style, season or occasion.” 

Art from a Latin American POV 

SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica — Although most Latin American countries had gained their independence by the early 19th century, many of the talented contemporary artists represented by Isabel Salinas’s eponymous art gallery still grapple in their work with the centuries-long shadow of Spanish domination. 

Today’s Latin American art, says Salinas, often reflects a “decolonial state of mind” that aims to decouple the region once and for all from a Eurocentric worldview. Instead of leaning into international art-world trends, her gallery’s painters and sculptors often take inspiration from local traditions, legends and literature. 

A pair of 2011 works by Buenos Aires artist VIVIANA ZARGÓN
A pair of 2011 works by Buenos Aires artist Viviana Zargón hangs in the gallery. Photo courtesy of Isabel Salinas

The work ranges in style and technique from the vivid abstract canvases of Costa Rican artist Aimee Joaristi and the pictorial city scenes of her countryman Osvaldo Sequeira to the geometric explorations of Peruvian painter Fernando Otero and the photorealism of Argentinian artist Viviana Zargón. What the artists all share is “commitment and authenticity,” Salinas says. 

Their pieces often convey as well a heightened respect for biodiversity, apt for residents of a region teeming with fragile wildlife and flowering plants. “They awaken our consciousness in a particular way,” says Salinas. “It’s not just fashionable art.”  

Isabel Salinas’s Holiday Picks

<i>Scompte</i>, 2011, by Viviana Zargón
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Scompte, 2011, by Viviana Zargón

“A photorealist painter and architect from Argentina, Viviana Zargón explores the symbolism of empty, uninhabited spaces, inviting us to reflect.” 

<i>Marina</i>, 2021, by Guillermo Conte
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Marina, 2021, by Guillermo Conte

“To achieve this vigorous, expressive seascape, Argentinian artist Guillermo Conte applied turpentine on top of oil paint, working it mostly with his hands.”

<i>Avenue 2</i>, 2021, by Osvaldo Sequeira
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Avenue 2, 2021, by Osvaldo Sequeira

“Osvaldo Sequeira’s pictorial acrylic paintings are inspired by daily life in Costa Rica and informed by his vast experience with digital animation.” 

<i>Sin título</i>, 2020, by Fernando Otero
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Sin título, 2020, by Fernando Otero

“Peruvian painter Fernando Otero plays with textures to add shades and volume to geometric forms, with poetic results.”

<i>Desde el Jardín</i>, 2017, by Elsa Salinas Ollé
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Desde el Jardín, 2017, by Elsa Salinas Ollé

“Costa Rican abstract painter Elsa Salinas Ollé has a uniquely lyrical vision, enriched by her observation of nature.”

Pre-Loved Luxury in London 

LONDON, England — After years of shopping as a retail customer for designer handbags and other luxury goods at the London flagship stores of such high-fashion brands as Hermès, Chanel and Fendi, Aqila Agha hit upon a way for people to save money and help save the planet at the same time. In 2014, she launched Papillonkia, an online-only business abounding in little-worn vintage handbags, shoes, clothing and accessories, pieces Agha calls “pre-loved.” 

“The term goes with our ethos of supporting the circular economy, where one item has many users over its life cycle,” says Agha, a serious advocate for sustainable fashion. The concept is simply to make existing products last. “We aim to be a pioneer in reducing the millions of tons of waste fashion generates each year,” she explains. “Even Selfridges has a pre-loved department. It’s more than OK to buy and gift something that’s been owned before.”

GUCCI OPHIDIA ROUND MINI SHOULDER BAG
Gucci Ophidia round mini shoulder bag, contemporary

Papillonkia’s base in the UK, where the European luxury brands tend to launch their collections, is a natural fit. “Accessibility of designer items is easy here,” says Agha, who replenishes her stock through longtime clients and people who find the store via search engines and social media. 

With pre-loved items, she notes, in addition to savings, “you get a stunning piece in excellent condition that still looks incredible. Plus, you’re doing your bit to reduce your carbon footprint.” 

Aqila Agha’s Holiday Picks

Chanel large Deauville tote in black caviar leather, contemporary
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Chanel large Deauville tote in black caviar leather, contemporary

“Chanel releases a Deauville tote every year, usually in canvas. This limited-edition version is black caviar leather with studded detailing. It’s a must-have bag in terms of both quality and functionality.”

Chanel Classic double-flap jumbo handbag, contemporary
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Chanel Classic double-flap jumbo handbag, contemporary

“The jumbo lambskin flap bag from Chanel is the most common size used by women and very wearable. Not many were made in this amazing shade of pink.”

Chanel red satin Timeless clutch, contemporary
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Chanel red satin Timeless clutch, contemporary

“Issued in a limited edition and now discontinued, the classic Timeless clutch in red satin with a crystal CC clasp is both hard to find and breathtaking.” 

Louis Vuitton limited-edition Tissue Rayures tote, Contemporary
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Louis Vuitton limited-edition Tissue Rayures tote, Contemporary

“This roomy twenty-one-inch-wide tote inspired by the classic Louis Vuitton steamer trunk is fashion and function rolled into one.”

Chanel Naked transparent black-lambskin-trimmed tote, contemporary
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Chanel Naked transparent black-lambskin-trimmed tote, contemporary

“This limited-edition transparent Chanel tote with black lambskin detail is not only huge but very rare.”

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