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Big ideas for big spenders this Valentine's Day

Feb. 11, 2012 at midnight
Updated Feb. 11, 2012 at 8:12 p.m.


Want to go even bigger this Valentine's Day? Consider an auction bid.

California artist Alex Carroll will auction off what he calls the world's oldest timepiece - dubbed "The Crown Jewel of the Sea" - on Valentine's Day.

The handcrafted timepiece is made of naturally heart-shaped, fossilized Bali Star Coral, according to the artist's website, and naturally heart-shaped red sea glass. It is paired with a matching gold pendant with a matching piece of heart-shaped sea glass.

The clock's pieces are 20 million years old, according to the site.

Bids start at $1 million and proceeds benefit the charity of the winner's choice.

To date, the world's most expensive clock sold for $5.7 million at a 1999 Sothebys auction, according to the website.

"The Crown Jewel of the Sea" is the first in Carroll's "Heart Rock Clocks" collection.

For more information on Carroll's pieces or the auction, visit


Men are more likely to spend more on their significant others than women, according to a National Retail Federation news release.

Guys will shell out an average $168.74 this year, versus their female counterparts' $85.76.

What gifts are most popular this Valentine's Day?

A National Retail Federation survey by BIGinsight polled 9,317 consumers this year, asking about their holiday spending plans.

Here's what people plan to shell out nationwide:

Jewelry: $4.1 billionSpecial evening out: more than $3.5 billionFlowers: $1.8 billionCandy: $1.5 billionClothing: $1.4 billionGift cards: $1.1 billionSource: National Retail Federation news release

As Feb. 14 inches its way nearer, Cupid isn't the only one with extra work on his plate. Many people are working to find the perfect gift for that special someone.

Nationwide, people plan to spend an average $126.03 on Valentine's Day this year, according to a National Retail Federation news release. While they plan to spend the most - an average $74.12 - on their significant others, gifts for children, friends and even pets join the mix.

Total national spending is an estimated $17.6 billion.

But, with the oil and gas industry booming throughout the region, some Crossroads residents have a bit more cash at the ready. And that means some can afford to shell out more this Valentine's Day.

Here are some ideas for the bigger spenders out there:

Sweets for your sweet

From heart-shaped boxes to conversation hearts and everything in between, candy is a traditional way to show that special someone just how you feel. But there are ways to give this holiday favorite a boost. Oversized boxes can start in the $40 range and go up from there, while gourmet chocolates from candy counters allow buyers to pick and choose to their loved one's preferences. Still other stores offer non-traditional goodies, such as beer-and-pretzel baskets, cookie bouquets and more.

Specialized sparkle

Custom jewelry is a way to not only show that special someone just how much you care, but also maintain a bit of that traditional Valentine's Day feel. Take into consideration just what your sweetie is interested in - wildlife themes are popular for some younger people in the area - and consider which precious metals they prefer. Nowadays, silver and white gold tend to be more popular than yellow gold. Another benefit to jewelry is that buyers can go as big or small as they want. Nationwide, people will spend an estimated $4.1 billion on jewelry for the holiday.

Works of art

The greatest gift you can give a loved one on Valentine's Day is something as unique as they are, and original art is a great option. Numerous artists live within 30 miles of Victoria, so there's a huge selection of one-of-a-kind art to choose from. An original Western watercolor by John Naunheim can start at about $150, for instance, while his larger, custom-framed works can go up to $525. Oftentimes, these works of art only continue to gain in value through the years.

Romantic getaways

Sometimes it can be nice to get away from the chaos of day-to-day life by taking a trip with that special someone. Valentine's Day isn't a common time to take a grand adventure, but it isn't out of the question, either. Younger generations often choose Las Vegas or tropical beach vacations, while the more mature crowds tend to prefer places like Branson, Mo. For those really looking to splurge, romantic European vacations provide great opportunities for marriage proposals.

Beautiful blossoms

A Valentine's Day staple, flowers are always a good idea when it comes to celebrating the holiday. Roses are still the No. 1 pick for most people on this day of love, but blooming plants and other arrangements are available, too. A benefit to this gift choice? It's easy to ramp it up simply by adding another dozen or so to the order.

Sources: Peggy Macha, travel agent with Windstar Travel, Sandra Ondreas, co-owner of Port Lavaca's Ondreas Custom Jewelry & Gifts, Sharon Parker, designer with Cuero's Kleinecke Flower Shop, Kerry Rhotenberry, owner of Cuero's Courtyard Gallery and National Retail Federation news release.



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