To All the (Jewelry) Women I’ve Loved Before

I arrived in New York City on Thursday morning on a red eye flight from L.A. (which always seems like a good idea until I take it and realize it’s actually a spectacularly bad idea). After a few hours of shut-eye, I stumbled into the office wearing an oversize boyfriend sweater and jeans—the epitome of casual. That was my first mistake.

I’d forgotten that Thursday night was the Women’s Jewelry Association’s second annual Spring Gala at the Harmonie Club in Manhattan. The cocktail event and dinner presentation honored WJA’s Shining Stars and Diva Design Competition winners and most of my favorite women were there. I rearranged my dinner plans—which involved a blogger friend visiting from L.A.—so that we could make a cameo appearance (thanks to the urging of WJA board member and JCK Events group vice president Yancy Weinrich, a wonderful woman who also happens to be a fantastic colleague!).

Let this blog serve as both a shout-out to the friends I saw that night, and a public apology for my somewhat-flustered appearance. After walking 10 blocks from the JCK office in slushy snow and sideways rain, arriving at a party in full swing attended by the most stylish ladies in the jewelry business suddenly made my sweater and jeans feel a lot less comfortable. (My red cheeks, damp hair, and runny eyes didn’t help.)

The first familiar face I saw belonged, fittingly, to my longtime friend and Brooklyn Heights neighbor Michelle Orman, WJA’s VP of public relations, who graciously took care of the last-minute RSVPs for my guest and me! Thank God for friends in high places.

We sidled up to the bar, ordered glasses of red wine, and proceeded to make the rounds of WJA’s stellar membership. There was designer Reena Ahluwalia, looking resplendent in an emerald green dress, along with her good friend and frequent collaborator, Lita Asscher of Royal Asscher, whose stylish diamond jewelry I have been coveting since I test-wore one of the brand’s Shining Stars rings in Las Vegas last June.

Next came a sight for very sore eyes: the lovely Desiree Hanson. As event director for the LUXURY Privé events in New York City and the new buying show in Panama, Desiree is a busy lady—as a matter of fact, she just returned from a trip to Brazil and Panama—but she never, ever, looks harried or stressed out. (If only I could borrow a page from her book…)

Des then introduced me to the utterly charming Clare Ullman, a Berkeley, Calif.–based designer with an infectious laugh (and some funny stories about the Burning Man festival!).

Before the cocktail session was over, I even managed to clink glasses with three fellow Angelenos: Omi Gems’ Natalie Weisiger (a Shining Star honoree!), Communiqué’s Rebecca Moskal, and Luxury Brand Group’s Jen Cullen Williams. The cruel irony is that Jen and I have been trying to get together for weeks—and though I loved seeing her at the Spring Gala, a proper catch-up continues to elude us.

 

Me with Rebecca Moskal, Desiree Hanson, and Jen Cullen Williams

Rather than join the seated dinner that followed (my friend and I were already late to our own dinner), we shared another glass of wine, this time with one of the few men who consistently attends WJA events, David Stewart Brown, my favorite industry photographer. David and I go waaaay back—to my first WJA event (I think it was the year 2000)—and seeing him always feel like a happy homecoming. Plus, he (generally) makes me look good in pictures!

Finally, on our way out the door, my friend and I shared a few laughs with Cindy Edelstein and Esther Fortunoff in the Harmonie Club’s well-appointed ladies room—the perfect sendoff to a night that ended a little more hazily than I’d bargained for.

Without revealing too much about my wayward evening, let me just say that when I showed up at WJA’s In the Know Conference the following afternoon to catch a panel on blogging moderated by my dear friend Randi Molofsky, I was feeling even less “fresh” than I felt the night before. Thankfully, the insights shared by the panelists—including JCK’s very own Daniel Ford!—snapped me to attention.

At the conclusion of the panel, I waved goodbye to the Tanzanite Foundation’s Hayley Henning, jewelry consultant Beth Anne Bonnano, and JCK’s hard-working editorial assistant Stephanie Schaefer so I could return to the office, finish up some work, and promptly collapse. Lucky for me, Steph officially covered the conference for JCK, leaving me with no obligation other than to learn my party-hopping lesson!