10 Lunar New Year gifts to kick off the Year of the Dragon

By Kristen Shirley

THE DRAGON is considered the luckiest sign in the Chinese zodiac. Those born in the Year of the Dragon are thought to be bold leaders, and the dragon itself represents strength, power, success, and good luck. As luxury brands invest more in creating Lunar New Year-themed products, the mythical creature is finding itself fêted in intricately carved watch dials and keepsakes, or elaborate packaging for wine and spirits. Many of these gifts feature the color red, which represents good fortune and prosperity.

Louis Vuitton Objects

Louis Vuitton has a whole line of small knickknacks to celebrate the Year of the Dragon. The delightful LV Dragon Vivienne Figurine Key Holder and Bag Charm ($905) features a friendly dragon giving a ride to a figure with the LV monogram as its face. It is a playful addition to a handbag and makes a fun keychain. For more of a statement, give the Dragon Box ($2,710). The red lacquered box has trunk-style gold corners and the LV monogram and is topped with a carved wooden dragon with a red Monogram Flower eye and leather wings.

Penfolds Shiraz

Australian winery Penfolds has a great bottle for celebratory dinners: The 2021 Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz Lunar New Year Magnum ($200) comes with a red gift box decorated with a golden dragon. While Penfolds is best known for its famed Grange wine, a cabernet-Shiraz blend, savvy wine collectors snap up Bin 389, which is affectionately referred to as Baby Grange. The magnum bottle holds 1.5 liters, so it’s perfect for a dinner party, and the large format gives it longer aging potential if you want to enjoy it in the next Year of the Dragon.

Gucci Bags

At first glance, these limited-edition Gucci handbags don’t appear to be designed for the Lunar New Year, which gives them more longevity. Both Dionysus bags have a red chain motif printed on the front, and the top handle bag ($4,250) has a red leather handle and shoulder strap. But the back of both bags features Gucci’s take on the dragon: The chain motif continues, forming the double GG logo with two dragonheads inside. It’s subtle enough to wear even in non-dragon years.

Bottega Veneta Bags

Bottega Veneta has made dragon card cases, bookmarks, and jewelry, but the standout pieces in its Lunar New Year collection are handbags with subtle dragon nods. The Sardine bag ($7,900) features the brand’s signature Intrecciato woven leather and blends red and white for a bold look. The bag’s edges and architectural gold handle are covered in colorful red and white fringe, which evokes spikes on a dragon’s back. The Mini Jodie ($3,500) uses the bag’s curved shape to mimic a curled-up green dragon. Triangular pieces of leather that protrude from the sides add to the effect.

Martell Cognac

Maison Martell is one of the world’s oldest cognac houses. It was founded in 1715 by Jean Martell, and the maison named its most prestigious cognac, L’Or de Jean Martell, in his honor. It features the oldest and finest eaux-de-vie, the name for the young brandies that become cognac when blended. Cellar Master Christophe Valtaud took L’Or de Jean Martell to the next level with the Zodiac Edition – Assemblage du Dragon ($10,000). This cognac features more than 1,400 eaux-de-vie, including the original L’Or de Jean Martell blend and eaux-de-vie from various Years of the Dragon. The final blend can never be re-created and is limited to 750 bottles worldwide. Despite the blend’s age and complexity, the nose has florals, fresh and candied fruit, and spices, and is very vibrant. This blend comes in a unique Baccarat decanter with an intricate crystal dragonhead stopper. To finish the look, the curved gold-toned bottle stand is embossed with scales.

John Hardy Necklace

John Hardy’s Naga collection has featured jewelry with dragonheads and scales since 1975, and the iconic design takes on special meaning this year. The company’s new creative chairman, Reed Krakoff, updated the collection with a sleek, modern look: The gorgeous Naga Lariat ($5,100) is crafted from 14K gold with white diamond accents and closes in an unusual way, with the dragon holding the opposite end of the chain in its maw. The new collection also includes rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets in gold and silver.

Fabergé Ear Cuff

Although Game of Thrones ended five years ago, it still has a hold on pop culture. Fabergé brings the dragon to new heights in its Game of Thrones high-jewelry collection, which features sculptural pieces of jewelry with diamonds and responsibly sourced Mozambique rubies. Some pieces are abstract, but the Fabergé x Game of Thrones White and Rose Gold Ruby and Diamond Dragon Ear Cuff (price on request) best showcases the maison’s artistry. A glittering dragon wraps a wing around the wearer’s ear, with its body curving around the top. Rubies drip from its diamond body, which is covered in diamond spikes.

Chopard Watch

Every year, Chopard celebrates the Lunar New Year with a special métiers d’art watch that has a dial crafted from Urushi lacquer — an ancient Japanese art practiced by highly trained artisans. For this dragon project, Chopard partnered with master artist Minori Koizumi of Yamada Heiando to create 88 limited-edition dials. Koizumi used the Maki-e technique and painstakingly applied layers of lacquer, placing gold flakes between each layer. It took 20 hours to craft each dial. The dial features a stunning golden dragon flying in the sky, clutching a jewel in its claws. The L.U.C XP Urushi Year of the Dragon watch ($27,700) has an 18K rose gold case crafted from ethically sourced gold and is powered by the in-house automatic L.U.C 96.17-L movement.

Parmigiani Fleurier Clock

In addition to watches, Parmigiani Fleurier creates complicated and beautiful clocks. This one-of-a-kind objet d’art features a lifelike dragon sculpture seated atop the clock, and the beast makes a full rotation around the clock once an hour. The dragon is poised to grab the gemstone-encrusted “pearl” mounted on the base, and it always remains out of reach of the dragon’s claws as it turns around the clock. The body was crafted from solid silver and set with 585 scales made from natural jade set in 18K gold — each hand-applied and riveted to the body. The clock tells the time using the traditional Chinese 12 hours, and it rotates twice every 24 hours. This masterpiece took 5,800 hours to create. There is only one in the world, and it’s naturally priced on request.

Breguet Tourbillon Watch

It’s difficult to upstage two tourbillons, but the delicately engraved rose gold dragon steals the show in this Breguet watch. The gold stands out in a sharp contrast to the platinum case and the movement. The dragon curls around the double tourbillons, which each make a full rotation every 60 seconds. This impressive movement is visible through the sapphire crystal caseback. The creature clutches a pearl in its talons, here crafted from mother-of-pearl. The Classique Double Tourbillon Dragon timepiece ($767,800) is customizable; clients can change the dragon’s shape and color, as well as the Roman numerals and hands. — Bloomberg