Sex and the City: the jewelry

May 13, 2010
By

Samantha (Kim Cattrall) in the cocktail ring she bid on at a Christie’s auction in the first Sex and the City movie

Sex and the City movie 2 hits theaters this month and I’ll be watching. Yes, I’m a fan. Sex and the City is always good for eye candy and a few laughs with girlfriends.

I’m curious what the big jewelry statement will be. So far I haven’t seen signs of a piece as influential – and central to the plot – as this ring Samantha bids on at a Christie’s auction during movie #1, released in 2008. She’s outbid it turns out, by her boyfriend, who buys the ring for her via phone.

Ellen Barkin’s JAR-designed Gardenia ring on my hand before the 2006 Christie’s sale (photo Cathleen McCarthy)

Unaware and increasingly flustered, Samantha bids furiously, as her girlfriends watch – everyone beautifully dressed, of course. As soon as I saw that scene, I had deja vu. It was filmed in the showroom at Christie’s Rockefeller Center, an obvious reference to the sale held there in October 2006 to auction off the jewelry of a newly-divorced Ellen Barkin – including the JAR-designed diamond Gardenia ring I’m wearing above. Looks familiar, right? (Another guilty pleasure: trying on jewelry before an auction. I also tried on Ellen’s spiky wedding ring, but that’s another story.)

Samantha (Kim Cattrall) bids for her ring inside Christie’s showroom (photo Craig Blankenhorn, New Line Cinema)

While Samantha’s ring ends up selling for $50,000, Barkin’s went for $486,400, four times the estimate. I know because I was in the packed showroom that night. I was the one in the back row with a notepad instead of a paddle, reporting for a magazine on the mother lode of jewelry by Paris-based designer Joel Arthur Rosenthal (JAR). Those 17 JAR pieces brought nearly $8 million of the $20 million worth of jewels sold that night, twice what Christie’s was expecting. “Crazy prices for everything,” a Christie’s spokesperson noted when she sent the final, giddy results.

Christie’s sale of Ellen Barkin’s jewelry in October 2006 (photo ©Cathleen McCarthy/The Jewelry Loupe)

Two-finger CZ ring by Emitations ($139, amazon.com)

Ah, yes, the crazy spending of 2006. Ellen Barkin must be patting herself on the back for her timing. As for Samantha, Carrie and the girls – just how conspicuous will the consumption be in the second movie, two years later?

Patricia Field, stylist behind the original series as well as the 80 costume changes of the first movie, has reported that she didn’t let the recession rein her in. Maybe that’s the right move. After all, we go to the movies to escape reality, right?

Meanwhile, you can still buy knockoffs of Samantha’s two-finger cocktail ring from the 2008 movie from several online merchants, including Amazon. What kind of jewelry will we be coveting after movie 2?

Related posts:

JAR in full flower: 18 rare jewels on the block

JAR: designer jewelry as calling card

Revenge: characters studies in jewelry

Van Cleef & Arpels: glamor and invention

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6 Responses to Sex and the City: the jewelry

  1. Jessica on May 13, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    I loved this ring in the movie! I think it made me begin designing rings and teaching myself some techniques.

    Love it or hate it SATC has a huge impact on fashion and I’m excited to see the trends it spawns.

  2. WendyB on May 13, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Well, Pat used a pair of $7,250 earrings from my line…not super-spendy compared to JAR but not Wal-Mart either!

  3. Cathleen McCarthy on May 13, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Wow, Wendy, that’s great! Talk about top-notch publicity. Please send details so I can include the earrings in my SATC2 followup.

    Jessica, how cool that this ring inspired you. SATC has major impact alright – and jewelry-wise it covers a lot of ground, given the different styles of the leads.

  4. [...] the horseshoe pendant designed by Lizzie Scheck, the large camelia ring by Joel Arthur Rosenthal (like the one Samantha got from Smith in the first movie), and of course, the ‘Carrie’ necklace, originated in Chinatown in New [...]

  5. Hayden Bennett on October 6, 2010 at 8:44 am

    my favorite character in Sex and The City is always Samantha”.’

  6. Hand Winch  on October 20, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Sex and The City has a great storyline but now i watch Cougar Town-.”

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