Sunday 21 January 2018

A girl's best friend and a smart way to invest

OK folks, we're saved! Our shares are worth nothing and our houses have gone down in value but, just in time, the luxury jewellery houses of Tiffany & Co, Cartier and Theo Fennel have ridden into town to take care of our investments.

You may think I'm joking but maybe Holly Golightly had the right idea as she swished around Tiffany's in New York in Breakfast at Tiffany's -- nothing but the best! I was pondering over this as I succumbed to the temptation, and the solicitous gentle attentions of a good-looking white-gloved salesman in Cartier, in the new Fine Jewellery Hall of Brown Thomas in Grafton Street, Dublin, to try on a Cartier Tank Francaise watch. It slid sleekly over my hand on to my broad wrist and was too big!

I was in heaven as the salesman said: 'That is no problem, Madam, we can take out a couple of links and it will be perfect.' Anyone who says they can take out rather than add in is on a winner with me anyway!

This was a watch on a bracelet in brushed steel that felt like silk satin, and I was in love.

Jewellery from time immemorial has not been merely decorative but was an investment. To have the missus, or the mistress, dripping in jewels was a way of displaying one's wealth -- some even took to their graves with them! The pharaohs of ancient Egypt were buried with jewellery and with massive gold vessels and objects on the basis that they might need them in the afterlife. I often wondered where the expression "that ring was to die for" came from! The Jews have always had a history of buying gold and diamonds because they were easily portable, and many escaped from Germany just before the war with valuables sewn into their clothing.

As I pondered further over the watch, I reasoned with myself (and himself) that this was a really good investment. Cartier watches hold their value or, if they are a very special model, can even increase in value.

Cartier buys back vintage watches, restores and re-sells them under the Cartier Traditional range and these are hugely popular.

Of course it doesn't just have to be the watch -- think of all those gorgeous Cartier Panther broaches and rings that went to auction when the Duchess of Windsor died. Buyers from all over the world were drooling over them. Maybe if I drop the hint to himself ... He knows I love cats. "Darling, I'd love a little panther under the Christmas tree. Not my usual Siamese kitten, but an 18 ct Panthere de Cartier with emerald eyes, paved diamonds and an onyx nose."

I wonder would he bite?

Zsa Zsa Gabor was a great girl for the diamonds. When complimented on her beautiful jewellery by a talk show host on one occasion she retorted: "These? Darling, these are my working diamonds."

She also said: "I want a man with kindness and understanding. Is that too much to ask of a millionaire?" Married and divorced from Conrad Hilton and urbane actor George Sanders, amongst many, when it came to divorce she famously said: "I never hated a man enough to give him diamonds back."

When one writer said: "I'm breaking my engagement to a very wealthy man who gave me a beautiful home, a mink coat, diamonds, and an expensive stove", Zsa Zsa advised: "You have to be fair darling, give him back the stove."

Leaving Cartier, I sashayed next door to Tiffany's remembering the words from Eartha Kitt's famous song "I like old fashioned flowers, violets are for me. Have them made with diamonds by the man at Tiffany."

True to its reputation of having something for everyone, you can buy a gift from €95 upwards. It has jewellery designed by Paloma Picasso as well as fab Elsa Perretti charm bracelets from €170 -- or of course you can spend millions if you are married to a Russian oligarch. Angelina Jolie, Kate Hudson and Maria Sharapova have all been photographed wearing Tiffany's best.

I skirted around Theo Fennell's amazing takes on crosses and chains in brilliant colours with diamonds blazing but I couldn't concentrate. I was still thinking of the watch! Back we went to Cartier, to put it on again.

"How much is it?" said my better half. "€3,175", he was told.

I knew my chances were slim when my husband said: "Does it tell the time as well?"

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