Harriette Rose Katz recently commissioned her jeweler to make a 32-inch diamond pavé link necklace and matching bracelet. But the sparklers, which together cost $14,000, aren’t real diamonds: They’re cubic zirconia.
Turns out, the Upper East Side event planner has the same bracelet and necklace in 18-karat gold with over 40 carats in diamonds.
Yes, Katz ordered a pricey knock-off of her own gems.
“I am afraid to wear them too often, so I decided to make them into a not-real set,” says Katz, who bought the real set for $250,000 about 30 years ago. “It’s so flashy and gorgeous, but I am really never traveling with it. Even to go overnight somewhere.”
Katz is one of the many monied New Yorkers making Canal Street versions of their bona fide baubles because they’re afraid of being robbed while traveling or walking down the street. They don their real finery for formal galas, but for the daily grind they’ll slip on the bogus bling. It’s a hush-hush practice that’s been on the rise since October, when Kim Kardashian reported being tied up and robbed of more than $10 million in jewelry, including her 20-carat diamond engagement ring, in a Paris hotel.
“It’s the 1 percent who do this,” says Hillary Kahn, the jewelry stylist at Murrey’s Jewelers who is making Katz’s replica. “It’s a sensitive topic. They want to replicate their engagement rings, studs and pearls mostly. And it’s not just diamonds. It’s big stones like sapphires, too.”
Katz, the owner of Gourmet Advisory, wasn’t always so careful about her valuables. For years, she traveled back and forth to Italy, lugging them in a safety deposit box across the Atlantic Ocean.
“And then I said to myself after a while, ‘Boy, are you screwed up.’ It’s very dangerous. Look what happened to Kim Kardashian,” Katz adds.
“After the Kim Kardashian robbery, there was a huge bump in that element of my business,” says jewelry designer Jennifer Miller, who fabricates mock jewelry in her eponymous Lexington Avenue shop, where she also sells real gems.
“I was shocked Kim was traveling with that big old honker of a ring,” Miller says. “I feel terrible for her but it was bound to happen. Even though she has more security than most people, she was the perfect target. But her ring would have been so easy to replicate.”
Miller knows a thing or two about celebrity hardware. In 2001,…