Fabulous Handmade Bags from Fabio

black cavallino

Every time I call Fabio, I am afraid that he will no longer be making handbags. He is quite elderly and one of a dying breed of leather craftsmen. His one of a kind handmade bags are simply works of art with the best hardware, materials and attention to detail. The bag above is black cavallino with python trim. It even has a python cell phone pocket inside!

rosso con pitone

This sweet, smaller red leather bag has python trim as well. I love the details on the front of the bag.


Chia remains the most spoiled and most famous dog here in Florence. When I awoke this morning, I was greeted with her face right next to mine! We are looking forward to all the shopping tours in the coming weeks. Lots of new shoes, jewelry and leather this spring- temptations everywhere!

Spring Has Arrived in Florence!


Yesterday Chia and I walked along the river in such nice, warm sunshine. Although I pass by this statue of David often (this is a replica- real one is inside the Accademia), I couldn’t resist taking a photo in the spring light.

And we are about to celebrate Chia’s 8th birthday! She was such a cute little puppy when we brought her home at 6 weeks.
baby chia She remains the most famous dog in Florence, doing her tricks for the tourists and locals alike.

This week my friend and I took a great cooking class here in town. As I waited to meet her, I found this gorgeous dress in the Valentino window. Incredible detail and so different! And so expensive! Fun to look though.
valentino dress

In the cooking class made tortellini from scratch, stuffed with artichoke/cheese puree and topped with fresh tomato/basil sauce. So yummy and so much work!abbey and maren cooking

This evening I will be going outside of Florence to visit an elderly leather craftsman. His one of a kind, handmade bags are works of art, and I hope to bring at least a dozen back to Florence with me to show my clients. I am sure that I will keep one for myself as well….. Will post photos next week!

A New Necklace for Me!

new necklace Here is the first draft of a new necklace for me! The disks are Etruscan inspired and will have a tiny diamond in the center of each. We are re-working the chain to be less modern, and more in keeping with the Etruscan design in the disks. It will be in the rose gold I love. This rose gold is so different from the kind we see in the States. It is a very subtle pink.

Chia has had her portrait drawn by a very talented young artist and former ballet student from Seattle! Chia portrait

The weather here has been so beautiful up until today. Poured rain for most of the day, but promises to be nice this evening. The shopping clients this week have been such fun. Leather jackets, gold jewelry, boots custom made and lots of beautiful silk scarves. spring scarves

Roman Coin Jewelry: Authentic or Replica?

coin necklaces To the left are beautiful gold necklaces with replica Roman coins. An economical alternative to the real deal. F.M. necklace On the right is a necklace with an authentic Roman coin pendant. Notice how the coin is black, and not silver or gold. Only a few of the authentic Roman coins are silver.

There is a huge variety of Roman coin jewelry, and the price varies according to the worth of the coin. The authenticated, certified Roman coins start at about 500 euro, and go into the tens of thousands. The older the coin, the better the condition, the higher the price. coin braceletIMG_3838

This leather bracelet with a Roman coin and my own necklace with a Roman coin. These coins are not certified, nonetheless authentic, and not expensive! The important thing to know when buying Roman coin jewelry is that you are getting what you pay for! That is where I come in, and can help my shopping clients get just what they want in the price range they are comfortable with. You must know who to deal with, because sadly, there are people who try to pass off fakes as the real thing.

Saving Men from Shopping…

This week started with a funny email from a potential shopping client who lives in Canada:

“My wife, her best friend and the two husbands will be visiting Florence this coming May and during my research I learned that you are the savior of many a husband from the threat of a day shopping for clothes.”

When I told him that I would be delighted to take the ladies shopping, he replied, “Bless You Maren
I have been informed of the importance of retail therapy and have been instructed to arrange for your therapeutic services.” Think these people will be lots of fun!

man's ring

men's shoes




I have had men of all sorts shopping with me: men alone wanting to shop for girlfriends or wives, gay men solo and gay couples, reluctant husbands who are entertained by Chia, etc. Once in a while I even have men who love to shop accompanied by their ladies who did not get the shopping gene. The men’s shoes, ties and suits are gorgeous! Even the men who dread shopping have fun with Chia and me!
chia with shopper

The Fine Art of Creating Gold Jewelry

I think that some of the most interesting places to see in Florence are the artisan workshops. Old world craftsmanship abounds here. Wood carvers, sculptures, shoe makers and goldsmiths are just a few examples. I admit to being partial to the goldsmiths! I ran across this video, which shows just what they do! Those of you who are awaiting your pieces of Florentine jewelry made should find this interesting. As you will see, this is not a quick process!


corteccia di pino
These bracelets are an original design called Corteccia di Pino (Bark of Pine). They are made in two sizes in white, yellow or rose gold. Each piece is carved to look like bark, and then strung onto a gold chain to make a flexible bracelet. I love how simple, yet different these are. Simple enough to wear every day, but can be worn with dressy outfits too.

With Valentine’s Day just ahead, maybe I will drop a little hint or two! bracelet:necklace

I also love this multi strand bracelet with diamonds. It converts to a choker as well! Those clever Italian jewelers….

Your personal shopper in Florence, Italy