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Hollywood A List Parties

After all, a state that can claim Mardi Gras, the Bayou, Cajun cooking and authentic though generally "boarding house" aristocracy will probably produce a different breed of creative genius. Aucoin could take a nothing looking little girl and turn her into a forties screen siren, Mr. Beene can take a couple yards of double face wool and turn his client into a goddess, and Erica Courtney can take a few diamond briolettes and turn them into the chandelier earrings that all of Hollywood and its style setting sisters are lusting for. Maybe Gone with the Wind took place in a different southern state, but I'd be willing to wager these designers loved the scene where Scarlett O'Hara ripped the draperies off the windows of Tara to make a ball gown.
Erica Courtney began her design odyssey as so many artists do-at the kitchen table. This was back in 1984, and Erica was not following fashion trends but her heart. You can see trendy mother-of-pearl in Erica's most recent collection, but she says, "Whatever strikes me, whatever is fresh, whatever is in the air is what I love. It's not like I invented mother-of-pearl. It was in the air." This designer loves mother-of-pearl, sterling silver and chandelier earrings with tons of diamond briolettes (OK, so I lied in my introduction-it takes more than a couple of diamonds to make Erica's signature chandeliers.) But Erica is not exclusively focused on huge carat diamonds. "The tiniest diamonds can make all the difference," she says. "I tell my clients, 'You know so much more about jewelry than you think you do. You know which pearl or which diamond is the best.' And I tell my clients, 'The jewelry picks you.'" Among the celebrities picked by Erica's jewelry have been Jada Pinkett, Rachel Weisz and Yolanda Ross.
Asked to list her "top five" best pieces of Erica Courtney jewelry to own, Erica says, "A gorgeous pair of earrings to wear with jeans or a gown-clover shaped briolette earrings in eighteen carat. Platinum hoops with diamond beads. A diamond charm, like a heart with a crown or a cross on a ribbon or as an enhancer. A set of pearls. Coral necklaces to wear with pearls." In fact, Erica loves to work with her clients' other jewelry so that her own pieces can complement the existing pieces.

Although Erica began her career by designing costume jewelry, she would never mix faux and real stones now. "I made sunglasses and watches in the early days. I loved sterling, but no one was wearing silver in the Eighties. I thought, 'Why not? Why not wear sterling?'" Erica became a fine jeweler "purely by accident" she says. "I was trying to make white metal castings into costume jewelry. My assistant said, 'why not sterling?' So my early pieces were little love notes on charms. Love brought me to Los Angeles, by the way, not job opportunities."

Erica opened her Los Angeles store five years ago and has attracted a celebrity clientele that leave many agog. Erica acknowledges the professional jealousy in her business, as well as the sexism. Male jewelers still get the first nod from department store buyers, and Erica does not see this changing. But Erica is a woman who is fulfilling her own dreams as an artist, and making the jewelry that today's most fashionable women crave. Most certainly, Erica Courtney is a Fashionlines Favorite!
For more information about Erica Courtney, please contact Sara Stein or Margaret Schell at 323.466.8001

Some of Erica's clients include Ashley Judd, Brooke Shields, Calista Flockhart, Courtney Love, Demi Moore, Elizabeth Taylor, Geena Davis, Jennifer Aniston, Heather Locklear, Kate Hudson, Madonna, Queen Latifah, Ricky Martin, Uma Thurman, Whoopie Goldberg and Vanessa Williams.

Well, no wonder Erica Courtney is envied in her world! Even Brad Pitt ordered a sterling silver key chain!