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Saks woos Republicans with $70,000 elephant necklace souvenir

For the Republican delegate who has everything, Saks Fifth Avenue has an answer: a diamond and ruby necklace in the shape of an elephant.

Just be prepared to break out the American Express black card. This lavish political souvenir costs $70,000.

The necklace is one of 150 pieces available at Saks at WestShore Plaza as part of a two-day trunk show brought in for the Republican National Convention. The special collection by New York jewelry designer Piranesi had a retail value of $4.5 million. The most expensive item? A white and yellow diamond daisy necklace with green tsavorite gems priced at $149,600.

Members of the Florida Federation of Republican Women got an up close look at the jewels Wednesday during a runway show at the store. The private event of about 100 women also featured models in red fur coats priced upward of $80,000.

Reagan Rada, a brand ambassador for Piranesi, flew down from New York City to promote the collection and work the counter. He previously managed Elizabeth Taylor's jewelry line and designs his own pieces.

Federation members, a few of them dressed in patriotic red, were greeted with champagne at the runway show, which was not open to the media. Organizers expressed concern that animal-rights and anti-Republican groups would target the event, but no one showed up.

Audience members mingled around the store after the show, perusing the jewelry and makeup counters. Through Friday, Saks is donating 10 percent of all purchases to the Drug Free America Foundation, founded by Betty Sembler, wife of St. Petersburg shopping center developer Mel Sembler.

Saks has a permanent display of Piranesi jewelry, but the exclusive trunk show ends today.

— Susan Thurston, Times Staff Writer

Saks woos Republicans with $70,000 elephant necklace souvenir 08/29/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 10:42pm]
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