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Saks Jewelry Takes Center Stage

<CS:BOLD>NEW YORK -- There were diamonds in the air and pearls strung around town last week, as the fine jewelry industry held some sparkling events.<BR><BR>Jewelry designers and executives came out in force on Monday night at Saks Fifth Avenue for a...

NEW YORK — There were diamonds in the air and pearls strung around town last week, as the fine jewelry industry held some sparkling events.

Jewelry designers and executives came out in force on Monday night at Saks Fifth Avenue for a sneak preview of jewels that may be worn during the upcoming Academy Awards.

Sponsored by the Women’s Jewelry Association and WWD, the event drew designers such as Robert Lee Morris, David Yurman and Kenneth Jay Lane, as well as Ralph Destino, the former chairman of Cartier in the U.S., and Helene Fortunoff, head of the Fortunoff chain.

Inspiration for the jewels came from star stylists Phillip Bloch and Anne Caruso, who didn’t attend the event, but sent their ideas for Oscar jewelry styles. Among the items on display were gold and diamond necklaces from Cartier, a green stone choker from Antonini, a diamond and pearl necklace from Stefan Hafner and a gold weave choker with emeralds from Roberto Coin.

The event, which came on the heels of the JA fine jewelry show at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, gave Saks the opportunity to show off its refurbished jewelry boutique, which opened earlier this year, as reported.

“We felt this was a great way to introduce the department,” said Sue Ann Newberg, vice president and divisional merchandise manager at Saks. “So far, we are very pleased with its performance. Diamond fashions have been selling particularly well.”

“I love what Saks has done here,” said Destino. “It was a very smart and savvy decision to make the floor like this.”

Robert Lee Morris said fine jewelry has become more important to the Oscars, but he doesn’t go out of his way to get his designs on the red carpet, although his creations have often made it to the big event.

“I never try, although placing jewelry on a celebrity can make someone,” he said. “Getting jewelry on Britney Spears can definitely help launch a career.”

Saks got into the party spirit once more Thursday night when it teamed up with Cartier, which has an exclusive boutique in Saks, for a cocktail reception in honor of the New York Botanical Garden. With Valentine’s Day approaching fast, Cartier put a love bracelet up for grabs for anyone who picked the right key for the display case.

“Fortunately, my wife didn’t win it; it would have been so embarrassing,” said Alain Viot, president and chief executive officer of Cartier Inc. “But thankfully, she already has one.”

Meanwhile, a few blocks up the street, Tiffany & Co. hosted a reception with a live and silent auction to benefit the Wildlife Conversation Society.

Dancers in mermaid costumes emulated ocean living, and Tiffany pearl jewelry was on display, often paired with models in eveningwear by Carolina Herrera.

“I realized how amazing these pearls were when I took a walk on the floor,” said Michael J. Kowalski, Tiffany’s president. “I am quite a pearl junkie.”