From the Heart: The Newest Push for Platinum

In the 1990s, Platinum Guild International took platinum from its status as a largely unrecognized metal and brought it to widespread acceptance as a metal of choice for bridal jewelry.

Now, undeterred by pricing or the recent emergence of yellow gold as fashion’s favorite, PGI has a new mission: to plant the concept of nonbridal platinum jewelry into the consumer consciousness. The first step toward this goal was taken this winter and was dubbed “Women with Heart.”

In the works since last spring, the program mixes three key elements in the marketing of fashion and fine jewelry: high-profile celebrities, a good cause, and a Hollywood-style party. Combined with both the eternal appeal of the heart motif and the post-Sept. 11 passion for message jewelry, the promotion has impeccable timing.

Women with Heart gave 22 celebrities—including Catherine Zeta Jones, Britney Spears, and Faith Hill—the chance to design a platinum necklace. Their renderings were passed on to some of the country’s top jewelry manufacturers, who created the pieces. The lure? The jewelry would be auctioned to benefit the celebrity’s charity of choice—not just a good cause, but also appropriate symbolism.

“When you want to send a message of love, a platinum heart delivers something beautiful and enduring,” says PGI president Laurie Hudson.

PGI spokesman Alex Alvarez says the response to the initiative has been surprisingly robust among celebrities, whose hand-drawn renderings often exhibit a remarkable attention to detail.

Nineteen jewelry manufacturers also participated in the program, turning the celebrity renderings into pieces to be auctioned off. Donating their time and resources to the Women with Heart program were A. Jaffe, Alishan, Cédé, Chris Correia, Christian Tse, Jack Kelége, Jose Hess, Judith Conway, Kazto, Kwiat, Lieberfarb, Memoire Paris, Michael Bondanza, North American, Novell, Precision Set, Rudolf Erdel, Scott Kay, and Suna Bros. Each also created a line of platinum heart pendants available for wholesale distribution.

Coincidentally, the number of stars involved in Women with Heart grew after Sept. 11’s terrorist attacks, when Americans were overwhelmed with a powerful desire to help others. Several celebrities chose charities that support families of victims of the attack.

Not content with just a high-profile event, PGI is supporting and continuing to promote platinum hearts with a related consumer-magazine advertising campaign that launched during the holiday season, and possibly a public tour of the celebrity-designed hearts, Alvarez said.