Diamonds ARE a girl's best friend.......................


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Posted by Ahem on November 13, 2001 at 17:49:03:



Undercover with Santa and Mrs. Claus
Updated: Tue, Nov 13 9:10 AM EST
By Jan Paschal
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Even Santa likes a discount.
So this year, Victoria's Secret wants to give him one.

The Heavenly Star Bra, this year's Christmas fantasy gift, costs a whopping $2.5 million LESS than last year's $15 million rubies-and-diamond bra, panty and belt from Victoria's Secret.

For Santas who keep an eye on the bottom line, the Columbus, Ohio-based retailer offers this option: Matching panties priced separately.

More than 1,200 pink sapphires (yes, PINK!) and more than 2,300 diamonds cover the Heavenly Star Bra.

Price? Bra, $12.5 million. Panty, $750,000.

Together, the 2001 Heavenly Star bra and panty are still a bargain -- $1.75 million less than the Christmas 2000 set.

"It was not a reflection of the economy," Victoria's Secret spokeswoman Marnie McLaughlin told Reuters, referring to the slightly lower price of this year's fantasy lingerie. "We started working on this last spring, before the downturn."

For would-be Santas, she has a shopping tip: "If a gentleman wants to give this to someone, he should buy both."

Victoria's Secret, the lingerie and beauty products retailer owned by Intimate Brands, started its holiday tradition several years ago by commissioning the creation of a jeweled fantasy bra costing $1 million or more to feature in its Christmas Dreams and Fantasy catalog. That rustling of pages across America may be from the 2001 catalog, which began arriving in U.S. mailboxes Nov. 1.

Has anyone ever bought the bra?

"We've come close," McLaughlin said, laughing. "Every year, we get tens of thousands of calls about the Fantasy Bra from all over the world."

Santa, be prepared to pay by certified check. Delivery is by armored truck. For details, call 1-800-555-5861.

MOUAWAD MARKS THE SPOT

A 90-carat diamond is nestled between the bra's bejeweled cups. The emerald-cut diamond alone is worth $10.6 million.

The stone was provided by Mouawad, the fourth-generation house of jewelers that creates custom-made jewelry for the royal family of Saudi Arabia. Mouawad also has offices in Geneva, London and New York City, where its clientele includes royals and celebrities from all over the world.

"We're famous for building things," Pascal Mouawad told Reuters.

Mouawad also supplied the pink sapphires (mined in Sri Lanka) and other diamonds, and designed the Heavenly Star bra and panty for Victoria's Secret.

"We worked on it for about six months," Mouawad, a principal in the jewelry company, said. "First, we made a big mold. Then we built the bra. It fits just like a piece of jewelry, like something you would put on your neck."

The stones are set in platinum, finished smooth to caress the skin. (The bra has no fabric lining.) The pink bikini panty is trimmed with diamonds arranged in curves of angel wings.

He worked closely with Heidi Klum, the German-born model who wears the Heavenly Star bra in the Victoria's Secret's catalog and online at: http://www.VictoriasSecret.com.

Pink sapphires were chosen because "this last year, the pastel colors have been in fashion. It's a matter of trend."

Sapphires, which most people outside the jewelry business probably think of as dark blue precious stones, are members of the corundum family of minerals and gems, he said. Sapphires can be any color except red, "which is called ruby."

When asked where a woman should wear the Heavenly Star bra, Mouawad didn't skip a beat. First, he laughed and said, "On the beach." On second thought, he advised: "At home."

Fashion trivia fans, here's a tidbit: Klum is the only model to wear the Victoria's Secret Fantasy Bra twice. Attentive readers of the catalog will remember her from the holiday 1999 season when she wore the $10 million bra of blue sapphires and diamonds.





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