I Went to Sotheby’s and Tried on Approximately $500,000 Worth of Jewelry

Being less desirable than the least expensive necklace in the room had me feeling a bit out of my element.
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Courtney Brunson
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Being less desirable than the least expensive necklace in the room had me feeling a bit out of my element.

When your boss casually suggests you accept a private invitation to attend a Sotheby’s “Come Try It On!” cocktail event to preview the Important Jewels auction, you say yes. You go. You drag your broke ass on the bus, and go.

I was fully aware that this jewelry event/showing was meant to preface an upcoming auction, but not once did it cross my mind that attendees were actually intending on buying the jewelry. Naïve, I know. 

This is the type of occasion I have only seen taken seriously in Sex and the City, and even the pieces from that episode looked like Claire’s jewelry in comparison to what I was drooling over.

My loose understanding of Sotheby’s as an establishment could explain my outfit of choice — a grey sweater and rain boots. (It snowed, okay?!) Almost every fashion event in New York claims to require “cocktail” formality, but is actually filled of barefaced editors toting iPads in their Adidas sneakers. Well, surprise, there were only a few editors writing aspirational stories and they were littered in between what looked like the cast of Dynasty.

I feel super uncomfortable around extremely wealthy people (shout out to the middle class!). Lily Van Der Woodsen look-alikes wearing multiple Cartier LOVE Bracelets threw forced smiles my way when they weren’t ignoring me, or shooting blistering side-eyes while gripping the wrists of their andropausal husbands. Do I really give off gold-digging side-chick vibes? Eh, probably.

The men were mostly middle-aged with Jon Hamm haircuts and tailored suits. I overheard snippets of conversation like, “. . . and then I told him how about I buy your building!” followed by raucous, rich white guy laughter. I was like, okay, I’ll be over here with my H&M tote bag.

I’m normally an overly confident asshole, so being less desirable than the least expensive necklace in the room had me feeling a bit out of my element . . . for about five minutes. After trying on my first piece of jewelry, I was on cloud nine. Seriously, I felt euphoric wearing the most gorgeous jewelry my peasant eyes will probably ever see. Let me show you what I’m talking about . . . .

DISCLAIMER: A lot of these photos are filtered for Instagram because, obviously.

Jewelry specialists were stationed behind glass display cases to help you try on pieces and provide information for the auction. I felt like Kate Hudson in How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days, given the opportunity to “frost” herself.

Look at this bracelet that costs more than my tuition.

Platinum, aquamarine (weighing approx. 20 carats) and diamond (approx. 32 carats) bracelet, $25,000 - $35,000.

Platinum, aquamarine (weighing approx. 20 carats) and diamond (approx. 32 carats) bracelet, $25,000 - $35,000.

A photo of this Cartier Panthére ring got me 182 likes on Instagram, which was more fulfilling than wearing the actual jewelry.

18 karat gold, diamond (weighing approx. 7 carats), emerald and onyx Panthére Ring, Cartier, $40,000 - $60,000.

18 karat gold, diamond (weighing approx. 7 carats), emerald and onyx Panthére Ring, Cartier, $40,000 - $60,000.

Say hi to my future wedding ring, assuming I start dating guys with remote financial stability.

I’m pretty sure this diamond weighs about 6 carats. I temporarily blacked out when trying it on and forgot to verify.

I’m pretty sure this diamond weighs about 6 carats. I temporarily blacked out when trying it on and forgot to verify.

I made a jewelry specialist hold a mirror up to my wrist while I tried on this bracelet. Look at my smug “Hahaha, I don’t have any money and you have to do whatever I say!” face.

bracelet selfie.JPG
Spritzer & Fuhrman 18 karat gold, pink tourmaline, sapphire, turquoise and diamond (weighing approximately 4.15 carats) bracelet, $8,000-$12,000.

Spritzer & Fuhrman 18 karat gold, pink tourmaline, sapphire, turquoise and diamond (weighing approximately 4.15 carats) bracelet, $8,000-$12,000.

Okay this is just showing off — unfortunately I will never know how much the largest shipwrecked gold bar available for private ownership will cost. No price was listed, only a phone number for serious inquiries . . . a.k.a. me calling and screaming, “GIVE ME THE THING!! I WANT THE BIG GOLD THING!”

A California gold bar recovered from the 1857 shipwreck of the United States Mail Steamship in Central America.

A California gold bar recovered from the 1857 shipwreck of the United States Mail Steamship in Central America.

Despite my current taste of subtle, dainty jewelry (my fleck of diamond Elsa Peretti necklace from Tiffany provides the sparkle I need on a daily basis), I would totally buy giant, gratuitous, million carat diamond bracelets if I had the money — materialistic consumer culture be damned. Are you kidding me? Modesty is overrated. I. LOOK. BEAUTIFUL. IN. DIAMONDS. I would love to blind the crap out of people with shining sapphires the size of koala bears.

What about you? Which piece of jewelry made you want to pass out? Would you shop at Sotheby’s if your bank account allowed? Shit, do you shop there already? And if you do can you buy me something?

THEY EVEN HAVE SKINNY MIRRORS IN THE BATHROOMS WHAT IS THIS PLACE?!

THEY EVEN HAVE SKINNY MIRRORS IN THE BATHROOMS WHAT IS THIS PLACE?!

Follow Courtney on Twitter and Instagram @courtneypizza