Sunday, November 30, 2008

Diamonds Make the Man

Diamonds, gemstones and gold have found their way on just about everything this year – from ipod earphones to TV remotes to glittering doggie beds. And now I’ve found them on something else ‘non-traditional’.

A hoodie. For guys.

Konquest Clothing, a premium menswear line, took diamond bedazzling to the next level with a $10,000 hoodie that features over 4,000 Swarovski crystals and a three-carat diamond zipper pull.

The hi-falutin’ hoodie was worn at last week’s American Music Awards by singer, Colby O’Donis, who wanted to bring attention to the new clothing line and to raise funds for building schools in Uganda (30% of the line’s profits goes to charity).

Konquest, described as “affordable couture” that is both masculine and stylish, launched its premium casual menswear line at its new showroom, ToolboxLA at LA New Mart last month. The debut line from the makers of Key Closet, creator of the $10,000 jeans the singer also wears above, features ultra-premium T-shirts with bold designs for the man who knows how to get what he wants in life.

Diamond hoodies and bedazzled jeans. I’m not sure when that meant ‘masculine’ in the real world, but apparently if that’s what the man wants in the Konquest universe…that's what the man gets…

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bling Interrupted –Winona Ryder ‘Loses’ Loaner Jewelry

How does a diamond-encrusted bracelet and ring worth more than $125,000 go missing? That’s exactly what authorities in Madrid are asking actress and convicted shop-lifter, Winona Ryder.

The Girl Interrupted star told Bulgari jewelers that she ‘misplaced’ the gems that were on loan to her for a Marie Claire bash. She then told authorities that she lost track of the baubles after handing them in an envelope to her hotel’s front desk for safe-keeping.

French celebrity-news magazine, Voici, reported that no hotel surveillance cameras captured Ryder giving the jewels to front-desk personnel.


Ryder's European trip got off to a shaky start last week, when the actress fell ill on a Los Angeles-to-London flight, forcing pilots into a fast landing at Heathrow Airport.

Medics greeted the 37-year-old actress at the gate and rushed her to a west London hospital, where she was treated and released within hours.

Ryder's representative said the actress was fine, but didn't elaborate on what ailment she had suffered.

Five-finger discount syndrome, perhaps?

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ballet, Baubles and Bad Tans

Everything is beautiful at the ballet. That is, everything but an overly tanned fashion guru.

New York City Ballet’s annual Opening Night Benefit took place last night at the David H. Koch theater, and the red carpet included some dazzling diamonds, famous faces,and an unfortunate misstep in the tanning lotion department.

Designer, Rudolph Valentino, is always perfectly put together, but looking at him next to a stunning Sarah Jessica Parker makes me wonder if he gets dressed with the lights on.

I guess orange is the new white?

Poor tanning products aside, the jewelry fashion at the ballet is always on point. SJP’s bejeweled mini dress was perfectly accented by huge diamond studs and several icy bangles. The elegant Vanessa Williams wore a tasteful diamond ensemble with her floor-length metallic gown, and model, Veronica Webb’s statement necklace made her mini mouse-sleeved black bubble dress really work.

The gala event included a series of ballet numbers set to American music by such composers as Leonard Bernstein, Samuel Barber, Charles Ives, Wynton Marsalis, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, and Ray Charles.

The evening also marked the first performance in the newly named David H. Koch Theater. Mr. Koch recently made a $100 million gift to support the theater – certainly enough to get a building named after you.

And a lifetime supply of tanning gel.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Harry Winston Brings Wares to the Web

It wasn’t long ago that buying diamonds, gemstones and gold online was considered either a big risk or a bit tawdry. But online jewelry aggregators like and cutting edge retailers like JCPenney helped to redefine the experience, and now shopping jewelry on the web is as normal as buying airline tickets and overstock sheets.

Luxury jewelers have been the last to hold out on the online movement – until recently. Diamond lovers everywhere all know that the words “Harry” and “Winston” signify the ultimate in icy jewelry fashion, and lucky for us, they are finally jumping on the web-worthy bandwagon.

"The Harry Winston Online Salon is an exciting step in our retail development plan," Thomas J. O'Neill, chief executive officer of Harry Winston, Inc. told Fashion Week Daily. "Designed to showcase our signature diamond jewelry collections, the new Online Salon will offer a discreet and highly personalized experience for customers who prefer the convenience of online shopping."

Whether you are lucky enough have immunity from our depressing economy or just want to drool at your computer screen, the Harry Winston online salon showcases diamond styles that will make your inner diva sit upright – from rings, necklaces and bracelets to earrings, pendants and cufflinks.

The pièce de résistance is this stunning necklace from the sunflower collection, which weighs in at approximately 25.8 carats and sells for $135,000. Or you can downgrade to the 15.70 carat sunflower bracelet for $85,000.

There's probably not a Harry Winston Black Friday coupon online yet is there? There's always next year...

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Monday, November 24, 2008

JCPenney Helps Guys Avoid The Doghouse!

Tired of getting yet another bathrobe and colored sock set for the holidays? JCPenney is launching a brilliant new campaign to help your significant other avoid the gift-giving doghouse by steering them towards the Jewelry Insider’s favorite present – diamonds!

The viral Beware Of The Dog House campaign enables women to retrain their leading men in the fine art of gifting by showing them a dazzling array of diamond jewelry styles – from three stone rings, to Journey pendants to jewelry box staples, like diamond studs. And frugalistas will be happy to know that price points leave plenty of room for more boxes under the tree.

“Women love gifts that are bright, shiny and beautiful,” said Beryl Raff, executive vice president, JCPenney Fine Jewelry. “And guys, that means diamond earrings or a pendant, not a vacuum cleaner.”

How to teach the old dog new tricks? Send him to, where he can watch an amusing film showing what life in the doghouse is really like. The “Stay Out of the Doghouse” button will lead them to valuable information about how to stay in your good graces this season, including a glittering product offering and information about how to buy the right diamond jewelry style.

A partnership with Facebook® Connect will allow avenging females the opportunity to put offending friends in the doghouse for all to see. And if the gift-challenged guy is just in need of a “tap on the nose,” you can send him an e-mail warning, giving him one last chance to avoid the doghouse this holiday season.

So let JCPenney give your guy the perfect way to avoid spending a dog day afternoon in the return line this year.

Opening a box full of diamonds instead of another box full of scented candles and matching bath gel is enough good news to make any jewelry hound bark at the moon!

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Diamonds and Metallics Win Big at American Music Awards

Icy diamond cuffs, dazzling statement earrings, and layered chain necklaces all made a glittering appearance at the American Music Awards last night at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles - and the frocks followed suit with a metallic parade of shimmery sequins in gold, silver and bronze.

Taylor Swift is proving to be as big a fashion plate as she is a singing sensation, appearing in an off-the-shoulder silver gown with tasteful diamond drop earrings. The show’s opening act, Christina Aguilera, dazzled in a sequined number reminiscent of old Hollywood, with a diamond cuff as thick as a McEnroe sweatband. Pink and Paris wore their diamonds with golden fabric hues, and Queen Latifah and red carpet host, Carrie Ann Inaba, brought home the bronze.

Competing for several AMA awards, Rhianna and Alicia Keys also battled it out in the “who wore the biggest earrings” category, with the former in thick diamond and gold hoops and the latter in a unique diamond and mother-of-pearl design. Ms. Keys took the look further by adding a traditional Indian accessory, a diamond tikka, which dropped down her forehead in a glittering display.

The AMAs traditionally center around performances, and last night was no exception. The show featured high-energy sets from Miley Cyrus, Ne-Yo and Beyonce, though a pair of lackluster medleys opened the program from Christina Aguilera and the reunited boy band from yesteryear, New Kids on the Block. Yes, folks, they're still hanging tough.

Other highlights included an inspired performance by the Award of Merit winner, Annie Lennox, who brought the crowd to their feet with her stripped down performance of “Why”. And in a pleasant surprise, Pink joined Sarah MacLachlan on stage to harmonize beautifully to her hit “Angel”.

But the biggest shock of the night wasn't when Kanye West called himself the new Elvis, but when the Artist of the Year award went to a stunned Chris Brown.

"I was shocked," the 19-year-old crooner said backstage. "I'm so thankful and grateful. I thought Coldplay should have won the award, but I'll take it."

Click here for a complete look at last night’s big winners.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

A-Listers Bring the Bling to Dubai

How do you throw the priciest party the world has ever seen? It’s simple. You build a billion-dollar hotel on a man-made island, invite a slew of celebrities and billionaires, fly in world-renown chefs and designers, and create a fireworks display so huge it can be seen from outer space.

And drop a cool $20 mil.

The economic crisis was nowhere to be found in Dubai this week, as the Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, the Executive Chairman of Nakeel, celebrated the grand opening of his $1.5 billion luxury hotel, Atlantis - The Palm, with a party rumored to be the biggest bash history.

“I’m thrilled and proud,” beamed the Sultan. “Five years ago where I am standing now was water.”

There was enough pomp and security for a royal wedding, as the 2,000 guests had to go through several check points to gain entrance to the soiree. The entire artificial palm-shaped island where the hotel is located was locked down several hours before the festivities began, and a special “exclusion zone” was established along the coastline, which banned boats from coming within two nautical miles of the shore.

Glittering guests included Lindsay Lohan in a gorgeous diamond and onyx Y neck with matching drop earrings, the always-stunning Charlize Theron in gold chandelier drops, uber-model, Agyness Deyn, in a unique diamond statement necklace, and designer Jade Jagger in a layered series of pearl strands.

Other A-list attendees included Denzel Washington, Robert DeNiro, Sir Richard Branson, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, Janet Jackson and fashion moppets Mary Kate and Ashley Olson. Notable no-shows were Oprah Winfrey and Ben Affleck.

The guests were treated to a banquet prepared by several Michelin-rated chefs, a private performance by Kylie Minogue, and an after party at the nearby Royal Afterglow bar, where DJs, including Samantha Ronson, played live sets.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Diamonds, Gold and Dreams

Movies and jewelry are always a winning combination in my book, and Cartier is combing both in a unique installation at next month’s Art Basel Show in Miami. Cartier, the only jewelry sponsor of the world renowned art destination, will present a visual installation by the expert filmmaker and creep master, David Lynch, called “Diamonds, Gold and Dreams”.

The installation will be housed in the Cartier Dome, which includes a seven-minute "floating diamond" projection that will be displayed each hour accompanied by a musical score in an atmosphere with golden-fabric walls, gold-printed carpeting, gold trimmed display cases, an ornate curved display case for the famous Patiala necklace, and gold-accented furniture with reflective glass tops.

Lynch has come a long way from Laura Palmer, severed ears and the log lady. Oh how we miss them all…

Cartier will also debut two new glittering jewelry lines. The first, Hypnose, is a collection of black and white rings, pendants, bracelets and drop earrings made of 18-karat white gold with diamonds. Cartier says it’s reminiscent of the Art Deco movement and was inspired by a necklace Cartier created in 1907 with diamonds imitating watered silk. The other is a high jewelry collection of 17 one-of-a-kind tasseled pieces featuring blue sapphires and spinels with red hues.

The jewelry will arrive in Cartier boutiques in March, and the Lynch installation will loom large from December 4th – December 7th. Seems the perfect time to find yourself in Miami, no?

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Gold Glitters at Four Christmases Premiere

Reese Witherspoon lived up to her golden girl image on the red carpet at her Four Christmases premiere in Los Angles yesterday. Gold drop earrings and a dazzling gold dagger statement necklace were the perfect accents to her Nina Ricci LBD and gladiator pumps. The only thing missing was her leading man, Vince Vaughn, who was in Bora Bora shooting another movie.

Four Christmases tells the story of couple who is forced to visit all four sets of parents over the Christmas holidays – an event they have blissfully managed to avoid until now. And it looks like they have good reason.

Hollywood is buzzing with anticipation for this holiday film, which co-stars a slew of Hollywood’s A listers such as Robert Duvall, Sissy Spacek and Jon Voight. If the laugh-out-loud trailer is any indication, audiences will be rolling in the aisles well into the holiday season.

Back to the red carpet…

A glowing Kristen Chenowith, who plays sister to Reese in the film, looked lovely in a Georges Chakra gown and gemstone cluster earrings. And Mary Steenbergen, who plays their mother, wore a stunning pair of gold and diamond drop earrings. Gold hoop earrings glittered on dancer with the stars, Karina Smirnoff, and new mom, Minnie Driver, kept things simple with a gold locket necklace and gold stick earrings.

I’d like to give a special note of congratulations to the original writers of Four Christmases, Matt Allen and Caleb Wilson, who were two of my closet buddies during our college days (we won’t mention how long ago). They kept me in stitches then, and I’m sure they’ll do the same for the masses this holiday season.

So get out your gold, pass the popcorn and laugh your way through Thanksgiving this year! Four Christmases opens wide on November 25th.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jewelry Sparkles at Vogue Fashion Fund

Jewelry fashion is always gawk-worthy when the fashion world gets together for a function. Whether it’s sitting runway-side or throwing a fundraiser, where there’s Anna, Diane, Galliano and Leon – there’s diamonds, gemstones, and gold out the wazoo.

Last night, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund celebrated its fifth anniversary at Skylight Studios in New York, and the glamorous crowd came out in droves. The evening celebrated up-and-coming designers with five and six figure prizes and top designers Narciso Rodriguez, John Galliano, Diane von Furstenberg, Vera Wang and Zac Posen were there to root them on.

The evening’s top prize of $200,000 and a year's worth of mentoring, went to 24-year-old Alexander Wang.

"Four years ago I was reading about this award in my dorm room in a magazine," the youngster told

Looking drop dead gorgeous in Dior and a stunning vintage diamond choker was my favorite jewelry hound, Charlize Theron. And while an understated Blake Lively was there to share the spotlight, no one could hold a candle to the evening’s glamazonian MC.

The guests glittered as well with model, Doutzen Kroes in Hervé Léger and a glittering statement necklace and guest Chiara Clemente, in Giambattista Valli and golden pom-pom earrings.

The only misstep was a usually classic Anna Wintour in an unfortunate short sleeved sequined number with black tights that bordered on the, dare I say, tacky?

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Monday, November 17, 2008

TRL Takes a Final Glittering Bow

Diamond jewelry made a sparkling appearance at the finale of MTV’s TRL last night– from Hilary Duff’s gorgeous white and black diamond fan earrings to Nelly’s icey dog tags.

For those of you who have been able to successfully ignore the MTV phenomenon over the past ten years, TRL is short for “Total Request Live”, an American Bandstand-type show that helped artists promote their latest offerings and gave screaming fans a chance to burst their vocal chords.

Host Carson Daly (the MTV generation’s Dick Clark) welcomed back a dazzling list of performers, including a gorgeous Beyonce, a blinged out 50 Cent, Kid Rock, Christina Aguilera and my favorite boy band graduate, the cute-as-a-button, Justin Timberlake.

Another highlight was Blink 182’s Travis Barker, who appeared via satellite from Los Angeles in his first televised interview since surviving his Sept. 19 plane crash.

"Every day gets better. I feel better every day," he told fans. "I'm already playing my drums again and am back in the studio. I'm thankful to be able to play."

Former host and Nick Lachey main squeeze, Vanessa Manillo, appeared in glittering diamond star drop earrings but unfortunately wore a dress that Paris Hilton made famous on the David Letterman show a few weeks back. Ouch. New stylist, anyone?

But perhaps the night’s most talked about performance was a surprisingly tight showing by the only boy band still standing, The Backstreet Boys. Also surprising was how I found myself singing every word to their hit, “I Want It That Way”, while watching last night.

OK. Maybe it’s not that surprising…

While youngsters like singer, Taylor Swift, remember coming of age to this television classic, many musicians experienced career-changing experiences on the show.

Perhaps a resurfaced Eminem said it best when he phoned in and said, “I feel like they’re tearing down my home.”

Or as *NSYNC would say, “tearing up my heart”…

Good bye TRL! You will (admittedly) be missed…

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Victoria's Secret Brings on the Bling

Diamonds never strutted like this before! This weekend, Miami played host to the annual Victoria's Secret fashion show, and the glittering angels didn't disappoint.

Thirty-five supermodels walked 64 slinky selections down the runway in the recently renovated Fontainebleau Hotel. R & B singer, Usher, started the show followed by the leggy Adriana Lima, who wore the famous $5 million black diamond Fantasy Bra.

Designed by Martin Katz, the ultimate in luxury lingerie is set with 3,575 black diamonds, 117 certified one-carat white round diamonds and 34 rubies. If that weren’t enough, two huge black diamond drops weighing in at 50 carats each swing down from the center.

Adriana Lima, on wearing the bra, said,

"I always wanted to wear the Fantasy Bra. It’s the first time that Victoria’s Secret makes a black diamond bra. A woman could definitely buy it if they love it - and men, too."

But the night's show stopper wasn't the most expensive C cup to see the light of day, it was Heidi Klum in a pink and red winged get-up that truly ruled the runway. Decorated with what appear to be diamond and gold jeweled accessories, the phoenix-esque Klum looked stunning as she strutted her stuff for the grand finale.

Celebrities appearing on the Victoria's Secret pink carpet included Paris Hilton, P Diddy, Russell Simmons, Michelle Trachtenberg, Kim Kardashian and perhaps the only one who can truly afford the black diamond fantasy bra, one Martha Stewart.

CBS will Bra-dcast the show in its glittering entirety on December 3rd.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Citrine: November's Sunny Birthstone

Citrine is the most affordable of all the earth-toned gemstones, thanks to its durability and availability. It has become increasingly popular with budget-minded women looking to expand their work and leisure jewelry wardrobes.

Citrine, a form of quartz, derives its name from the French word for lemon, "citron." It is available in a range of golden hues from lemon to straw to sun yellow to gold, as well as oranges, browns, and deep madeira red. It is generally more inexpensive than amethyst and is also available in a wide range of calibrated sizes and shapes, including very large sizes.

Citrine's lively colors can brighten almost any jewelry style, and it blends especially well with yellow gold. Its low cost makes it an ideal stone for popular free-form fancy cuts for one-of-a-kind and customized pieces. And good cut is as important in determining citrine's quality as it is for more expensive yellow counterparts, such as yellow sapphire.

As with other stones, citrine in very large sizes (above three carats) in rich, deep colors has always been rare and therefore the most valuable form of the gem. Although this stone's dark orange and red shades traditionally have been the most prized, its bright lemony hues have become very popular in recent years because they mix better with pastel colors.

In ancient times, citrine was carried as a protection against snake venom and evil thoughts. It was also thought to give calmness and mental balance to its wearer.

Citrine is the birthstone for November, as well as recommended jewelry gift for couples celebrating their 13th wedding anniversary.

Most citrine is mined in Brazil. Supplies are most plentiful in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, particularly from the Serra mine. The Ira' mine also produces large quantities of the gem.

These stones generally start life as either smoky quartz or amethyst geodes. Heat treatments first turn them clear and then give them a permanent color ranging from yellow to brownish red.

Sometimes citrine is referred to as topaz quartz, which is incorrect. The name refers to the color, which is sometimes similar to topaz. But since topaz is a separate mineral, the name could be confusing and should not be used.

Occasionally, Mother Nature combines the colors of amethyst and citrine into a single gemstone called ametrine.

With a ranking of "7" on the Mohs scale of hardness (from 1-10, with "10" representing a diamond, the hardest mineral on earth), citrine has excellent durability and is suitable for everyday wear. However, since much of the citrine on the market today has been heat treated to improve its color, it should be kept away from prolonged exposure to strong light or heat.

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