Australia’s Diamonds Are Tickled Pink

The Australian Open isn’t the only thing Aussie on my mind these days. "G’Day USA Australia Week", a celebration honoring the best of Australian business and culture, took place in Manhattan last week, and the star of the show wasn’t my favorite Aussie export, Hugh Jackman. Even better (yes, it’s possible), the belles of the ball were rare, one-of-a-kind pink diamonds.

Diamond miner, Rio Tinto was a supporting sponsor of a glittering, black-tie gala that ended the week-long celebration, featuring millions of dollars of the little beauties on the red carpet.

Pink diamonds from Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine dripped from the likes of Australian supermodel Kristy Hinze, in L.J. West's "Argyle Finest Pink Diamond Bracelet" with 204 marquise and radiant-cut Argyle pink diamonds, and Australian actress Ursula Yovich, who wore Calleija's "Kimberly Rose" necklace, valued at around $1 million. Catherine Martin, costume designer and wife of famed director Baz Luhrmann, wore L.J. West's "Pink and Green Ring" featuring a 3.42-carat, fancy-intense Argyle pink diamond.

“Argyle Pink Diamonds are both symbolic culturally and highly prized globally. We are delighted to be here to tell the remarkable story of the world’s rarest diamonds and to display these fine examples of truly master craftsmanship” noted Jean-Marc Lieberherr, General Manager of Rio Tinto’s Diamonds Sales and Marketing in a press release.

Pink diamonds have been found in very few mines around the world. Australia’s Argyle mine is the world’s only consistent producer of pink diamonds, supplying over 90% of the market with the pink princesses.

Celebs like Jennifer Lopez and Portia de Rossi were given rare pink diamond engagement rings by their significant others Ben Affleck and Ellen DeGeneres. J-Lo gave hers back when the Bennnifer chapter closed for good, but I’m sure Portia’s pink has more staying power.

Bring Out the Bangles for Spring

While I would certainly love to “Walk Like an Egyptian” again, the bangle craze sweeping the nation this spring isn’t in the guise of an 80s girl band – it’s all in the wrist. If the recent runways are any indication, the ‘in’ way to accessorize this season is to layer big chunky bangles elbow deep and clink your way into sartorial bliss.

“Bangles are making a comeback,” stylist Edward Enninful, who used them at Alessandro Dell’Acqua’s Spring show for Malo, told “The clothes were so urban, clean, and refined, we decided to pile bracelets on to give the collection a tribal edge.”

Designers like Christian Lacroix, Zac Posen and Marc Jacobs used the look with their lines, and if you haven’t gawked at Madonna’s bangled appendages for the new Louis Vuitton ads, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see that the iconic bangle wearer has brought the trend well into the 21st century.

Bangles have gone in and out of style over the years – from Nancy Cunard, the rebellious Jazz Age heiress, to Madge’s Dress You Up In My Love era in the 80s. But the bangle has been around for thousands of years, originating in India and Pakistan.

Indian tradition dictates that women wear bangles called Chudi to signify their recent marriage. Wearing a single bangle is frowned upon, perhaps because that familiar ‘clinking’ sound is such a part of Indian culture – even Bollywood incorporates the ‘bangle clink’ in many of their movie soundtracks.

Bangles are made from a variety of materials – from affordable plastics to more luxurious precious metals like silver or gold - all good news for us frugalistas who want to stay hip to the trends but not to our falling bank balances.

So whether you want to add a little flair to your “Manic Monday” or clink it up for a night on the town, layered bangles are a trendy, colorful – and most of all - affordable way to make your own jewelry statement for spring.

Clink on, jewelry hounds. Clink on.

Jewelry Explodes in Paris

The Paris couture shows are taking the runways by storm this week, and while folks generally take a gander at the often-outrageous looks and wonder who on earth would ever wear such nonsense, I find couture gawking the perfect indulgence – especially in these trying times. It’s like rolling around in a vat of Cherry Garcia or having that third - ok fourth - margarita.

So imagine my dismay when I came across the Karl Lagerfeld show for Chanel. It’s all white. It’s suit skirts. It’s a jewelry wasteland. Of course there were fabulously intricate white hats that dazzled the well-heeled crowd, but I’m not in the mood for white right now, Karl. This economy blows. I’m no longer getting my hair highlighted. I want an escape, not a reminder of how bland life is now that I'm off the $4 lattes.

Thankfully, Christian Lacroix is my new ‘white’ knight in shining couture. Not only are there colors exploding all over his catwalk, but the jewelry is an over-the-top display of decadence the likes of which I’ve never seen before. It’s like going down a bauble-filled rabbit hole on crack.

Dinner plate-sized hoop earrings, stacks of mismatched lacquer and crystal cuffs, multiple layerings of giant necklaces, gilded heart-shaped lockets, faux fronds of coral, beaded everything but the kitchen sink… Clearly, words don’t do the show justice, but’s reviewer comes close:

“(The show) was a pleasure to witness and something to be inspired by. Even if only the very few will own a part of this collection, there's an idea in there for every fashion watcher: If you've got jewelry, it's time to bring it out and try piling it on all at once.”

So perhaps we mere mortals can take a lesson from the ivory tower of runway fashion. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Anything goes. If you’ve still got those rubber bangles from the 80s, put 'em on with your diamond necklace and that beaded choker you're afraid to wear for fear it makes you look 'easy'.

I may be getting a little couture-crazed, but if you don't want to scare the neighbors, you at least have to get the full effect of the Lacroix jewelry dreamscape by checking out the dizzying pics on And be sure to pair your viewing with a nice pint of New York Super Fudge Chunk. You’ll thank me for it later.

Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi Launches Jewelry Line

Joining Heidi Klum as a model-turned-reality show host-turned-jewelry designer, Top Chef’s, Padma Lakshmi, is launching a line of fine jewelry, which is inspired by (big surprise) cooking ingredients.

"It's inspired by things like seeds and pods, like cardamom, lentils and cloves," the Indian-born Lakshmi told WWD.

"I wanted jewelry that isn't big or grand. I wanted to make something with an exotic lilt and a nod to my background."

Called “Padma”, the day to night collection consists of more than 50 styles of 10-karat and 14-karat gold jewelry, including necklaces, rings and cuffs. There are delicate bracelets with citrine briolettes, four-row gold cuffs with charms, and dangling gold earrings reminiscent of that delicate culinary carnage - a fish bone. Other details echo Lakshmi's Indian heritage.

If you want to ‘pack up your knives’ and order a Padma piece for your jewelry box, the line will hit Bergdorf Goodman in May with prices ranging from $375 to $6,600.

In the meantime, it’s getting down to the wire for this season’s Top Chef hopefuls in New York. Catch the series on Bravo! and regale in Padma’s signature look of disdain.

SAG Jewelry - Golden Ears, Bejewled Necks and a Case of the Blues

Are you as tired of seeing giant earrings on the red carpet as I am? I understand the sentiment. Hollywood doesn't want to overdo it with a huge diamond ensemble or a Titanic-sized necklace during these trying times, yet it IS the red carpet, after all, so stylists compromise with.... the ubitquitous giant earring.

Last night's Screen Actors Guild Awards had big earrings a kimbo - from Christina Applegate in Lorraine Schwartz wagon wheels and Paula Abdul in diamond danglers to Amy Adams in giant H. Stern gemstone chandeliers and Lisa Rhinna's flower look. And they are lovely, don't get me wrong. But imagine my surprise when new trends presented themselves for a change - like basic gold earring statements from the likes of Angelina Jolie (the poster child of basic), Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss and the hilarious Jane Krakowski.

And the new looks didn't end there. Bejeweled necklines made a glittering show on Anne Hathaway, January Jones and Eva Longoria - perhaps inspired by Michelle Obama's diamond statement on Inauguration Day?

Colorful, off-the-shoulder looks were everywhere, and blue emerged as fashion's big winner. Best Supporting Actress, Kate Winslet, stunned in steel blue Narciso Rodriguez and Chopard diamonds; and Desperate Housewives, Teri Hatcher and Marcia Cross, added blue gemstone earrings to their SAG looks. And the usually gothed out Evan Rachel Wood channeled classic Hollywood in teal and a unique diamond eagle brooch. Her split from Marilyn Manson is the wise choice that just keeps on giving...

So OK. Gold earrings, jeweled necklines and the color blue are certainly not big red carpet revelations, but can we admit that they are a welcome change from the big earring brigade that seems to scream 'lack of imagination' when it comes to accessorizing a high profile look these days? Thank you.

I'm looking forward to more of this 'mixing it up' when it comes to the Oscars, OK ladies? Let's just hope Oscar voters do the same when they see Meryl Streep's name on the ballot this year. She's great - and she nabbed the SAG this year - but let's give someone else a go, shall we?

Diamond Engagement Ring Gets a Royal Flush

So you’re wearing your $78,000 diamond engagement ring to the Black Bear Diner in Phoenix. (It could happen, work with me). Before Vera serves you your patty melt, you excuse yourself to ‘powder your nose’, and somewhere in the process your record-breaking rock slips from your finger. And you flush it down the toilet.

And you thought George Michael’s arrest was the worst thing that could happen in a public bathroom?

Every married woman’s nightmare is to lose their diamond ring in a menacing sidewalk grate or a pesky sink drain, but this true-life story takes the cake.

Allison Berry of Eureka, California quickly told the restaurant management and after a failed attempt by the city to flush the ring out, they called in “The Fixer” – aka: Mike Roberts from Mr. Rooter in nearby Tempe.

The Mission Impossible of plumbers guided a tiny video camera into the pipe with an infared light attached and ironically found the ring just three feet away from ‘flush zero’. After an hour-and-a-half of jack-hammering and pipe removal, Roberts recovered the ring like a sewage-stained Excalibur.

A pipe dream come true.

"They always say diamonds are a girl's best friend. In this case, a plumber is a girl's best friend," Roberts said. "She was just so excited, she had tears in her eyes. She gave us a hug and said 'Thank you so much."'

Ms. Berry also paid $5,000 for the plumbing bill and covered the cost of re-tiling the bathroom. She also gave each of those who helped a $400 tip.

And if the Jewelry Insider could be so bold as to give a tip to Ms. Berry? Flush with your right hand next time.

Inauguration Jewels – Be the Belle of the Ball!

Before the excitement of this week’s Inauguration festivities fades into history, I thought it wise to share a way you can capture the feeling forever - in jewels. The celebs came out in droves to the endless Inaugural Balls, wearing gowns, updos and baubles a kimbo. Get their Inaugural looks for less and kickoff your own fashion administration in style.

Yes you can!

We haven’t seen Ashley Judd in a while, but her classic red carpet style is always a winner. Her pearl-drop earrings fit in perfectly with the doyennes of DC , and these white sapphire and pearl drops will impress any economic advisor at only $85 from Zales.

Jennifer Lopez put the pesky marriage rumors to rest, as she and hubby Marc Anthony made a snuggly showing at the Latino Inaugural Ball. Her champagne and black diamond earrings glittered as much as her resurfaced wedding ring. Pop the bubbly for your own pair in 10 karat gold!

Maura Tierney rocked the rotunda with her interlocking circle style. These golden eardrops give you two DC trends in one with cultured pearl drops to bring things full circle.

Earth tones warmed up Gloria Ruben's multi-colored gemstone look at the Creative Coalition Ball - and let’s face it, anything involving heat in a DC winter is a welcome sight. These smoky quartz, garnet, and citrine earrings keep the home fires burning and the ball gowns glowing. And they’re on sale !

Last but certainly not least is a diamond look worn by our First Lady, who danced the night away at what seemed like an endless ball circuit. Luckily, she had a capable partner to give her a hand.