Here We Go Again

Last week, I had the surreal pleasure of spending not one but two evenings at Chateau Marmont’s famous (and infamous) Helmut Newton penthouse party suite, for unrelated events that happened to take place on consecutive nights. With its mesmerizing view of the city as seen from the epicenter of the Sunset Strip, the terrace that dominates the suite is L.A. at its most iconic.

Balthazar and Rosetta Getty hosted the first event, on Wednesday, Jan. 30, to celebrate the debut of a bridal jewelry collection by Hoorsenbuhs for Forevermark. Having met the well-connected duo behind the Santa Monica, Calif.–based brand—designer Robert Keith and brand ambassador Kether Parker—I knew to expect a stylish crowd. But I was not prepared for the scene that greeted my friend Jennifer and I when we arrived at the hotel. (The gaggle of paparazzi standing at the end of the driveway was our first clue.) As we made our way to the edge of the terrace, the sea of partygoers parted just long enough for me to recognize the handsome Mr. Getty in our midst. Seconds later, actress Courteney Cox flashed us a big smile as she made room for us at the bar.

Courteney Cox at last week’s Hoorsenbuhs and Forevermark Diamonds launch at Chateau Marmont

The crowd included a few (personally) familiar faces—Forevermark’s Adelaide Polk-Bauman, for example—but this was far from your average jewelry trade event. We were chatted up by a number of Brits who’d blagged their way into the party, plus countless Hollywood movie types, none of whom seemed to know much about Hoorsenbuhs or Forevermark. Display cases showcased the sophisticated jewelry (being sold at Barneys New York, where retail prices will begin at $16,000, according to WWD), along with placards explaining what distinguishes Forevermark diamonds from the generic variety, but I think it’s safe to say that the bottomless glasses of booze were a fairly significant distraction to most people in attendance. After a fun few hours of schmoozing, Jen and I maneuvered past actress Jaime King and stumbled into a taxi when it became clear that one more drink would be our official undoing.

Jaime King at last week’s Hoorsenbuhs and Forevermark Diamonds launch at Chateau Marmont

I woke up the following morning with a pounding headache—and the somewhat terrifying realization that I would soon be returning to the scene of the crime. Thankfully, Thursday’s event was super-civilized. Patek Philippe had commandeered the penthouse suite for an intimate press dinner hosted by brand president Larry Pettinelli and Tom Blumenthal, the owner of Gearys, the Beverly Hills retailer that owns and operates Patek’s boutique on Rodeo Drive.

I could hardly believe the space was the same one that had been packed with wall-to-wall people the night before—and that it had emerged from the Hoorsenbuhs party unscathed. (Well, not entirely; it seems a red stain in the bathroom greeted Jessica Kingsland, Patek’s lovely PR manager, when she arrived to scope out the space on Thursday morning. Wine or blood? We may never know!)

My two nights at the Chateau reminded me that in the jewelry industry, déjà vu is par for the course. The rituals of the trade’s calendar are such that every year we find ourselves returning to the proverbial scene of the crime.

January finds us in Vicenza, in the heart of Italy’s Veneto region. In February, we’re off to Tucson to attend the annual gem shows, an orgy of buying and selling in the down-to-earth setting of the Sonoran Desert. March or April means it’s time for the annual pilgrimage to Basel, Switzerland, home to the high-end watch and fine jewelry fair considered the luxury trade’s most important gathering. And June brings us to Las Vegas for jewelry buying week and (another!) debaucherous reunion of all the personalities in the trade.

I know all about this particular brand of déjà vu: I’m writing this from Scottsdale, Ariz., home to the Centurion show, which used to take place at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson before moving locales last year, and once again, I’ve found myself looking around at familiar digs. Tonight, publisher Mark Smelzer and I drive to Tucson, and tomorrow, I begin my annual cruise through the aisles of the American Gem Trade Association GemFair. It wouldn’t be February without it.

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