No, we don’t like jewelry. Not a bit.

Times Staff Writer

Maybe it was material modesty. Or a blip in the gilded zeitgeist. Whatever the reason, it was decidedly ironic that no one wanted to gush about gems at a party to celebrate jewelry.

“To me, jewelry represents vulgarity because the trend is about ostentation and bravado,” said Jamie Lee Curtis, perched on a window seat at her Pacific Palisades home. The actress fingered her small ear studs and pointed out her simple diamond wedding band that never comes off. “I have given away 99% of my jewelry.”

But not her pieces designed by Cathy Waterman, of course. On this afternoon, Curtis was hosting a garden party to launch Waterman’s latest collection: Muse-inspired silver and gold pendants that celebrate modern female archetypes like the Guardian and the Sprite. Waterman deemed Julia Roberts an honorary Juggler -- a bit of a stretch, even though the leading lady is a mother of three. Waterman’s Dreamer muse, L.A. chef Nancy Silverton, seemed more plausible. The 22-karat gold amulets -- with ornate bas-relief images -- sell for $575 to $2,600.

“We all fantasize about bread, but it took Nancy Silverton to bring us La Brea Bakery,” said Waterman, whose jewelry has always been inspired by nature and architecture. “I only wear pieces that are meaningful to me.”


Same goes for Maria Shriver, whose only visible bauble -- besides a Waterman Wellspring pendant, natch -- was a long string of ornate rosary beads.

“I don’t have a collection of jewelry,” she said, somewhat taken aback at the notion. She also puzzled over the idea of holding out for a man to buy her jewelry. For her 50th birthday, the first lady of California gave her dearest friends a gold ring with a diamond crest of heart and crown. “I like the cheap stuff I get when I go and shop with my girlfriends.”

Out on the sun-gilded patio, no truffle-sized diamonds blinded guests, including Rita Wilson and Jessica Capshaw. The accessory aesthetic was sentimental and subdued, with many ladies adorned in slender gold bands and charms engraved with the names of their children.

Inside the dining room, however, it was less civilized. A veritable mosh pit of women crowded the ad-hoc display of pendants for sale to benefit the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. There was some aggressive jostling, but no fisticuffs.

Clearly, it was more fun to buy jewelry than to talk about it.