Jewelry Gala Glitters at the Louvre
For the second year in a row, industry leaders and celebrities gathered at the Louvre in Paris for a gala dinner celebrating jewelry.
The event was organized by the U.S. National Jewelry Institute. Co-hosting the event was Burak Cakmak, dean of the School of Fashion at The New School’s Parsons School of Design, and Princess Camilla of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. The Princess wore a daring yet fashionable black nude-effect gown.
Some faces in the crowd included jewelers Solange Azagury-Partridge, Laurenz Bäumer and Fawaz Gruosi. Also in attendance were celebrity couple and reality TV stars, Lisa Rinna and Harry Hamlin. Rinna told WWD, “I love vintage jewelry. I like new, but I think vintage is really my favorite because it’s almost like history. It tells a story of what was going on at the time, and I’m most attracted to that.”
Rinna has a collection of family heirloom jewelry from her husband, who said, “I’m very fortunate that in my family, there were some beautiful pieces that we have remade and reused and repurposed for Lisa, and so far, that has sufficed. I haven’t had to go out and buy any crown jewels.”
Which is just as well, as the jewelry industry is suffering at the moment. Political instability and the threat of terrorist attacks has made buyers reluctant to do business. Solange Azagury-Patridge said, “My personal experience is this year has been the most volatile I’ve ever known in 25 years.”
However, the London-based jeweler knows her industry and has confidence that it is able to bounce back: “I know that I always want jewelry. If I’m an average woman, then so does every woman, so I think it’s not something that’s going to die out,” she said.
Judith Price, president of the U.S. National Jewelry Institute, also pointed out that the courses held at Parsons in partnership with the National Jewelry Institute are entirely filled for 2017. However, most of the students are not American.
“The average age is 43, primarily from Asia. Americans feel they know it all. But Asians, there’s an insatiable desire for education,” Price said. “There’s a gap in the marketplace. They don’t want to learn about one brand. They want to learn about all brands. Telling real-life stories, no-nonsense stories, that’s what people want today. They want to be informed.”