Gold in Jest & Gold Ingested: A Cautionary Tale of Two Gold-Diggers

An amusing fashion spread appearing in the December 2009 issue of Harper’s Bazaar is “Trophy Wife: A day in the life of George Hamilton and his plastic princess, as played by actress Amber Heard.” The premise of the tongue-in-cheek article, of course, is that the rich, powerful man is showing off his young, beautiful trophy wife.

Hamilton looks fit and bronze, as always, and is shown appropriately attired in a robe by designer Tom Ford, a suit by the luxury Italian line Kiton, and his own, no-doubt-custom-made tuxedo, along with his own jewelry. The “wife,” on the other hand is shown wearing a mix of high and low-end clothing, ranging from inexpensive ($68 – $150) tennis whites by Lacoste to a $975 sequined dress by 3.1 Phillip Lim.

The mix of high and low is practically a fashion mandate these days, and is hardly surprising. What is surprising and completely out of touch with reality, however, is the jewelry selected for the plastic princess to wear. While I can appreciate the perhaps inadvertent practicality of wearing $88 gold-tone bangle bracelets rather than fine jewelry while she is soaking up the sun in her bathing suit, presumably slathered in tanning lotion, the picture that jarred was the following one:

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Here is the young woman toying with celery sticks in lieu of lunch wearing a $448 Tommy Hilfiger dress and a $425 headpiece by Leah C. Couture Millinery teamed up with huge, obviously faux pearls by Kenneth J. Lane: $40 earrings, $50 ring, and $88 necklace. The ring doesn’t even fit properly.

As if! Costume jewelry? Obvious costume jewelry? From George Hamilton to his “trophy wife”?!

To determine the qualifications for a genuine trophy wife, I consulted a resource that by right should be knowledgeable about such things, the web site askmen.com. In the article “Top 10: Trophy Wives,” the site’s entertainment correspondent Marc Voyer writes:

Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a trophy wife if you’ve got enough to spare. Trophy wives can make an old guy look young, and an ugly guy look good. It’s no surprise, then, that men of power and influence have sought them out for years. In exchange for their beauty, trophy wives are given a lavish lifestyle, a fat spending allowance and a life of leisure.

Do you think Melania Trump, The Donald’s third wife and Number One on the askmen.com’s Top 10 list of trophy wives, would settle for a $50 faux pearl ring? Her wedding dress by John Galliano of Christian Dior, was reputed to cost over $100,000, and as for her jewelry, her 15-carat diamond ring was reportedly valued at $1.5 million.

On the other hand, a love of the lavish lifestyle and fat spending allowance can be taken too far. The Associated Press published an item last week reporting on an intriguing article in the British medical journal BMJ. The article contained findings that Diane de Poitiers, a mistress of the 16th century French King Henry II, may have died from consuming too much drinkable gold:

When French experts dug up the remains of Diane de Poitiers last year, they found high levels of gold in her hair. Since she was not a queen and did not wear a crown, scientists said it was hard to see how jewelry could have contaminated her hair and body.

Experts now say that the popularity of drinkable gold – believed to preserve youth – in the French court makes it very likely de Poitier’s beauty elixir ultimately killed her.

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Incidentally, de Poitiers was some two decades older than her lover, the king, and was his trusted and trysting confidant for approximately 25 years, by various reports. Perhaps the elixir was meant to stave off the potential for encroachments by younger paramours, the royal equivalent of trophy wives.

It seems that being a trophy wife presents the risk that one might receive not a trophy, but a booby prize.