NEW YORK — The jewelry crowd was out on the town last week, as Pomellato held its first U.S. soiree and Mikimoto showed off its new Miss USA crown and bridal jewelry collection.

Pomellato, the fast-growing Italian jewelry brand, took over a floor of Sotheby’s to showcase its bold jewelry designs, as well as its latest ad campaign shot by Michel Comte. The 35-year-old firm has been expanding its presence in the U.S. and this was its first major event on these shores.

"We are working to build our business in the U.S.," said Francesco Minoli, Pomellato’s chief executive officer, who was in town from Milan. "We would like to eventually be in about 60 points of sale here."

Known for its bold gold and gemstone jewelry, the firm is now in 16 stores here, including Bergdorf Goodman and select Saks Fifth Avenue locations.

At the event, a number of retail executives sipped champagne and checked out the jewelry, including Joan Kaner of Neiman Marcus; Katherine Adler and Marta Nowakowski of Bergdorf Goodman, and Mark and Candy Udell of London Jewelers, as well as consultant Philip Miller, the former chairman and ceo of Saks. There were also plenty of socialites on hand, such as Marjorie Gubelmann, Reza Raein, Nina Griscom and Amy Sacco.

Meanwhile, Mikimoto drew a crowd of hopeful Miss USA 2003 contestants, including Miss New York and Miss New Jersey, to its Fifth Avenue store last Wednesday when it premiered the new crown it has designed for the pageant. Even Donald Trump managed to pop in, although he only stayed long enough for a few pictures and to crow about the new deal between himself, the Miss Universe Organization and NBC, which will now broadcast the event.

The current Miss USA, Shauntay Hinton, joked that she will be "jobless and homeless" when her tenure is up. "I am looking to become an entertainment correspondent," she said.

The sparkly tiara has more than 482 diamonds and more than 100 pearls, and is designed to depict the symbol of Phoenix Rising, said Toyohiko Mikimoto, president of K. Mikimoto & Co. Mikimoto will complete a yearlong project to crown all the three winners for Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA.In an interview, Mikimoto said the company’s U.S. business has been standing out despite the challenging economic times.

Mikimoto, which celebrates its 110th anniversary this year, also used the event to launch its new bridal collection, which features necklaces, pendants, earrings and men’s cuff links in both silver and 18-karat gold and, of course, plenty of pearls. Prices start at about $350and range up to $15,000 for a diamond and pearl tiara. The company declined to give sales projections for the collection, which just hit stores.

"Pearls and brides go together," Mikimoto added.

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