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A Jewelry Mogul by Her Own Design

When Michael Caine goes off and makes movies, his wife of 17 years, Shakira, doesn’t stay home playing the role of the stereotypical Hollywood wife.

Several years ago, after seeing an exhibit of royal costumes of India organized by the late Diana Vreeland at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, Caine, a former Miss Guyana and second runner up to Miss World, went to India to check out the jewels for herself.

“Being Indian, I was inspired by all the Mogul jewelry,” she says. She decided to have copies made for herself, including a dramatic necklace woven with gold thread that originally held gold stones and diamonds. She took her dozen samples to Harrod’s in London, where the Caines had just moved after living in Los Angeles for 10 years. “They said to come back with more scarfs, bags, anything.”

Caine added more jewelry, as well as shawls embedded with “beaten” silver. Now the collection is carried at several American specialty stores, including Neiman-Marcus in Beverly Hills. Prices for the jewelry range from $60 to $300; shawls are $600.

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Recently ensconced in Beverly Hills for a month while her husband filmed “Mr. Destiny” in North Carolina (“He’s playing God--he’s finally typecast,” she cracks), Caine made the social rounds with a little camera at the ready. “I get lots of ideas from real jewelry, so I steal all my girlfriends’ jewelry ideas.” In return, she gives her girlfriends, including Wendy Goldberg, Barbara Davis, Jackie Collins and Joanna Poitier, pieces of her costume jewelry, which is all signed, “Shakira.”

Caine says she has started moving away from the ethnic look. The inspiration for her newest line, full of seashell motifs, came from the couple’s seaside Christmas holiday in Barbados. But Caine says her threaded Mogul necklace, earrings and bracelets are classics and will always be available. Later this year, she says, Neiman-Marcus will carry her new handbags and belts, which, along with the jewelry, are being manufactured in Paris.

“I’ve always been interested in fashion and accessories,” says Caine. “I never particularly wanted to spend a massive amount of money to buy real jewelry, and you can be so outrageous with costume jewelry. I have a huge collection. I’ve been buying it since the ‘60s.”

Besides, she adds, since she and her husband travel so much, if she had the real thing, “I’d always be worried.”

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