In mid-October, at the grand opening of the new Twila True Fine Jewelry & Watches boutique at Resorts World Las Vegas, the city’s first new casino resort to debut on the Strip since Aria opened in 2009, singer-songwriter Jordin Sparks admired her reflection in the mirror as she tried on a $244,200 white gold necklace set with a 21.27-carat emerald.
Sparks, who was planning to attend a gala event the following night, also in Las Vegas, was looking to borrow a spectacular jewel. “I love this necklace, but my dress is green and I’m not sure how I feel about the green on green,” she said.
With a sigh, she moved on to the adjacent showcases, variously stocked with red carpet–worthy ruby jewels, iced-out Cuban chains, and significantly more affordable, though no less stylish, diamond basics—including a collection Sparks had personally curated for her fans.
“It’s something they can afford, maybe if they don’t buy Starbucks for three months,” she explained.
Sparks was not the only celebrity at the event, which marked the opening of the Southern California retailer’s second location after its 5-year-old flagship boutique in Newport Beach. A who’s who of hip-hop royalty was also in attendance—including Diamonté Quiava Valentin Harper, the rapper known professionally as Saweetie (whose breakout hit was, appropriately enough, “Icy Grl”).
The crowd reflected True’s deep ties to the music community and her reputation as a collaborator. (Twila True offers collections curated by a handful of celebrities, including Grammy winner James Fauntleroy and television personality Evelyn Lozada in addition to Sparks’ line.)
Sparks said she met True through an acquaintance and reconnected with her last year in the middle of the pandemic. “Twila, she inspires me so much,” she said. “I asked her if she would be my mentor. I just love her mind and the way she thinks. She’s just a boss.”
One glance at the philanthropist and entrepreneur’s CV and there is no denying the truth of that statement.
True is an Oglala Sioux Native American from the Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota. As president of True Family Enterprises—which also owns Volume Ventures, 1500 Sound Academy, and Twila True Collaborations—she oversees numerous businesses. But during a brief conversation at the opening event in Las Vegas, she told JCK that jewelry is one of her passions.
The mix on offer at True’s Resorts World location speaks to the breadth of that passion.
“What sets Twila True apart is she mixes fine affordable, urban, and high jewelry,” said Phillip Bosen, founder of Bosen Associates, a jewelry retail consultancy based in Vermont that worked with True to open the Las Vegas store. “We have pieces from $400 to $500 up to $500,000 or $600,000.”
At the high-end of that range are the store’s emerald, ruby, sapphire, and opal jewels, which dominate the showcases in the center of the 1,164-foot boutique. Manufactured by numerous partners, the standout styles at the grand opening included a white and yellow gold cuff bracelet set with a 150 ct. carved ruby and 10.71 cts. t.w. diamonds ($49,650); an 18k yellow gold and black enamel cuff bracelet set with pearls, emeralds, and 3.37 cts. t.w. diamonds ($18,000); and a 42.52 ct. ruby ring in 18k rose gold with 1.53 cts. t.w. diamonds ($20,250).
Perhaps not surprising, bold diamond styles in particular have been a big draw since the store opened its doors in mid-September. “It’s surprised me how well we’ve done with the urban jewelry,” said Bosen. “Think of what a rapper would wear: big, blingy iced-out Cubans. We have a male model wearing one—it’s a $155,000 piece of jewelry, and we’ve done very well with those pieces.”
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