Gem warfare hits Hollywood
Ah, the glitter, glamour and greed of awards season.
Last year's Golden Globes skirmish between top jewelers Chopard and Harry Winston got so vicious that Hilary Swank and Charlize Theron returned their borrowed Winston designs a day before the awards after receiving hefty paychecks to sport Chopard's creations.
Those skirmishes over red carpet jewelry placement could seriously escalate now that De Beers — the controversial South African King of Bling — has stepped into the fashion fray.
De Beers has a new chic boutique on Rodeo Drive, and the company has an interesting plan to snag headlines and seduce stars.
De Beers will support not just one but three AIDS charities — AmfAR, the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and Project Angel Food — under the umbrella of their new "Gift to Give" program.
The events kick off on World AIDS Day, Dec. 1, when top De Beers execs Guy Leymarie and Alyce Alston, along with ambassador-jewelry designer Neil Lane, will host a cocktail party at the Rodeo shop to unveil the "Gift to Give" program. This particular evening will benefit Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.
On Dec. 5, the boutique will host a cocktail party for Distinction magazine's "Givers and Shakers of Philanthropy," hosted by editor in chief Holly Palance, with the night devoted to AmfAR.
Then on Dec. 6, De Beers will again fling open its doors for more cocktails to honor Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment: Power 100, hosted by Sherry Lansing. The evening will support Project Angel Food, an L.A.-based AIDS organization that helps feed the city's terminally sick, homeless and needy.
And if that's not enough proactive philanthropy, De Beers says 10% of its December sales will go to benefit these organizations.
Of course, such an overt display of generosity makes us even more cynical than usual. To be completely frank, De Beers needs all the positive PR it can muster, considering the well-documented dark realities of the diamond trade reported by human rights activist groups such as Amnesty International.
We can only hope some of Tinseltown's bling-besotted babes will do a little research before they start glittering up their awards gowns.
In fact, wouldn't it be a great for a smart, politically-savvy actress to make a statement this season by just saying no to diamonds this year altogether? Are you listening, Angelina?