The Shmooze

Lily Safra To Auction Jewels for Charity

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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If you are in the market for some expensive jewelry, you’ll want to know that philanthropist Lily Safra’s personal collection will be on the auction block at Christie’s in Geneva on May 14.

The auction will feature 70 lots, which are estimated to fetch in excess of $20 million, all of which Safra plans to give to 20 different charities. Safra’s collection includes “important diamonds, rubies and sapphires, as well as an outstanding array of fine antique and period jewelry,” according to Christie’s. All the pieces in the auction were collected by Safra between the 1970s and now. Eighteen of them are by JAR,who crafted them specifically for Safra. According to Christie’s, “this is the largest private collection of creations by JAR ever to be offered at auction.”

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Update: Pols Weigh In on Swastika Earrings

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

A quick addendum to Renee’s earlier post on the swastika earrings for sale at a Brooklyn jewelry store.

The earrings have drawn condemnation from Jewish elected officials in New York, including Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, and New York City Councilman Steve Levin.

And though the earrings aren’t exactly Nazi swastikas, the elected officials say that they still found them objectionable.

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Brooklyn Store Sells Swastika Earrings

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Looking for some earrings? No problem: You can just pop into the Bejeweled store on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint, Brooklyn to choose a pair from a variety of designs. There are little hearts, peace signs, initials… and swastikas.

Yes, they sell swastika earrings — though whoever made them appears not to have been able to tell right from left. Nonetheless, they still look unmistakably like the symbol of Nazi Germany.

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Liz Taylor's Jewels Fetch $116 Million

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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This tiara sold for $4.2 million.

It is no secret that Elizabeth Taylor loved jewelry. The fact that her signature fragrance was called White Diamonds was a big hint, as was the fact that she always appeared in public laden with baubles and bangles (the real kind).

So, it may not come as a shock that the auction of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewels netted a cool $116 million, some of which will benefit the late screen legend’s Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. The final tally was, however, a surprise for Christie’s, which thought the jewelry would bring in only $20 million.

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Why is Rachel Weisz Wearing a Cross Pendant?

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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We’ve noted the recent trend of non-Jewish celebrities and public figures wearing Jewish jewelry. Remember Sarah Palin’s big Magen David pendant and Elijah Wood’s ring inscribed with a quote from Pirkei Avot? Now the Shmooze wonders why Jewish actress Rachel Weisz has started the reverse trend by wearing a cross — and one that costs $6,400.

Weisz, whose full name is Rachel Hannah Weisz and who refused to change her identifiably Jewish name for the sake of her career, can be seen in the Wall Street Journal’s latest glossy fashion supplement modeling menswear-inspired ensembles. The attractive actress looks great in all those tailored pants and jackets, including one outfit comprised of a jacket by Michael Kors, a The Row t-shirt from Barneys and trousers by Pringle of Scotland. The text with that photo also mentions that her bra (noticeable through the sheer t-shirt) is by Dolce & Gabbana and her pendant (that would be the aforementioned cross) is by De Beers.

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Elijah Wood’s Mysterious Ring (No, Not That One)

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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It’s been quite a while since you’ve been able to assume that someone wearing jewelry or other adornments with Jewish symbols or Hebrew writing is Jewish.

Just think about all those Kabbalah red-string bracelets around the wrists of celebs like Madonna, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. And what about Justin Bieber’s new Hebrew tattoo he got while in Israel? (Okay, it says “Yeshua,” which means Jesus. But hey, it’s still in Hebrew.)

Unlike us, these stars did not get their Jewish bling from their bubbes (didn’t we all get our first Chai and Magen David necklace from our grandmothers?). In most cases, though, they did get it from Jews or in relation to a Jewish experience.

But that, however, is not always the case. This month’s American Way magazine (available online or in the seat pocket in front of you) features a close-up shot of actor Elijah Wood sporting a hard-to-miss silver band imprinted with “Im lo achshav aymatai” (“If not now, when?”) on the ring finger of his right hand.

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