Two years ago I penned 36 things every man should do before dying, on the list was to create your own piece of jewelry. With the birth of my daughter I decided to add one more piece to the short list of items that I’d like to pass on to her long after I’m gone. I decided to have commissioned a bracelet from Comstock Heritage.
I was initially introduced to Comstock Heritage while at Axel’s in Vail Colorado, one of the exclusive shops to carry Comstock Heritage products. I eventually had a chance to interview James Stegman, president of Comstock Heritage. While Italian brands continue to promote craftsmanship, great quality and tradition, I must say I have yet to find an American brand that exemplifies that idea more than the oldest Western Silversmith shop in America. The difference between this and some of the best Italian product I’ve had the opportunity to come across is that the backbone of Comstock Heritage is 100% Americana. If you associate America with rebellious undertones and adventurous spirit, this brand and its product is a true example of American work at its finest.
Comstock Heritage is best known for its belt buckles that are second to none. Be it the hand engraved silver belt buckles (starting around $700), sterling silver and gold pieces (around $2,700 ), or the solid gold pieces ( up to $39, 000) there is no compromise in quality, or dedication, no two pieces are exactly alike as each item is handmade. Add bracelets and a few other silver accessories to their inventory and you have a gold mine (literally and figuratively) on and in your hands.
For my bracelet I decided on a sterling silver and rose gold detailed bracelet with as much detail as a watch with the most complex movement.
Without question this is not my last piece from Comstock Heritage ( I have my eye on one of the belt buckles, and be it a bespoke suit or off the rack, the little details are always what make the difference in the end.)
I must admit that at times my sense of luxury brands may have been a bit distorted by great ad campaigns and overall good marketing, but being somewhere between 9000 and 10,000 feet above sea level has a way of rendering you both short of breath and with lucid thinking.
Prior to the new year I visited Axel’s in Vail Colorado while they hosted their annual holiday trunk sale. There I learned intricate details about some of the Italian brands they had relationships with (in particular Kiton, Finamore, Sartorio, Luciano Barbera, and few American brands that they carried Comstock Heritage, and Stallion boots). While there I made it a point to simply observe and take in the whole experience, I went with one goal in mind - to really dissect the shop.
Before venturing to Vail there was one brand/ name that I really felt promoted a complete lifestyle from a distance the unnamed brand encompassed living a certain lifestyle and I have long respected its movement. My experience in Vail added the name Axel’s to my short list of brands that I really felt promote lifestyle over product, and remained consistent in every aspect of what they did. Axel’s stocks only items that the family believes coincide with the shop’s philosophy - only the best, from the shearling they stock, the Kiton suits, the Finamore shirts, to the Comstock Heritage belt buckles (more on them in a future post) each piece was possibly the best in terms of construction, quality and detail. Prize fighters are measured pound for pound, shops should be measured item per item, and if that is the case,Axel’ s may just be the best overall luxury clothing shop in America.
I traveled to Vail to get away from the bright lights and New York shops all while experiencing a different side of America (we tend to forget that New York is not America). There I had a chance to see the other side of American style and Americana. Americans don’t only wear Italian suits and English shoes, there is also a large population that embraces cowboy boots and belt buckles without being cowboys. Some stores talk of American made product, others focus on Italian made items, Axel’s captures the best of both worlds.