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May 19th, 2011

How a Fiscal Conservative Spends $500K at Tiffany’s

How to spend $500K at Tiffany’s and come out looking like a fiscal conservative.

Republicans are generally associated with fiscal conservative principles. They want government to spend less and they want the market to operate freely with little to no regulation. Conservative voters expect their elected officials to act with prudence in public fiscal matters. In taking a measure of someone running for office, voters might look at how a candidate has managed his or her personal financial affairs as one of many yardsticks.

That said, how might a white-haired thrice-married Republican presidential candidate spend a half million dollars say at Tiffany & Co. Consider that this hypothetical candidate’s reported net worth is somewhere between $1 million and $2.5 million, how might such a candidate stimulate the economy, using his revolving charge account, with a 21 percent APR, at one of the world’s premier jewelers.

Let’s go windows shopping via the Tiffany & Co. on-line catalogue to see what exactly $500K buys.

First stop, diamonds!  The Victoria Graduated necklace is perfect to wear with an evening gown with a plunging neckline. This is a sophisticated 16-inch necklace featuring round brilliant and marquise-cut diamonds in platinum for only $45,000.

For another up-town soiree, the Tiffany Legacy aquamarine necklace with cushioned-shaped gemstones set with round diamonds in platinum is $65,000. A pair of three-tier aquamarine and diamond earrings would match well and would only add $20,000 to the tab. To mark an anniversary, a Legacy Collection cocktail ring in aquamarine and diamonds matching the necklace and earrings is just $7,800.

To celebrate a special snowy Iowa-caucus night, the Tiffany snowflake diamond pendant “summons a childlike sense of awe and wonder. So true to nature, the snowflake is imbued with its own unique personality.” And to make this piece really practical, the snowflake pendant, $50,000, can also be worn as a broach.

A demure 6.5-inch tennis bracelet with round brilliant diamonds in platinum is a deal—the carat weight of the diamonds is 1.37—at $8000.

And for every day wear, a simple pair of Elsa Peretti “Diamonds by the Yard” earrings are understated and timeless. These are just simple round diamonds, with a total carat weight of 1.14 in a platinum surround for only $11,300.

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but there are some other baubles and trinkets at Tiffany’s that are lots of fun, too. One of their designers, Jean Schlumberger, has a gorgeous 18k gold and yellow-paillonné enameled bangle bracelet for $30,000. This is a power piece of jewelry that would go well with a lady’s tailored suit. A real trend-setter on the campaign trail in the Hawkeye State and perfect for a day at the state fair.

For entertaining at home, Tiffany’s has some of the world’s most beautiful dinnerware. A single hand-painted Limoges porcelain dinner plate in the Jardin collection will set you back $700, a soup bowl is $500, and a cup and saucer is $950. Throw in a dessert plate for $550 and one five-piece place setting is about $2,700. For a formal dinner party for 12, the dishes are going to run about $32,400. And a four-piece place setting of Chrysanthemum, one of Tiffany’s sterling silver flat wear patterns runs $500, or $6,000 for service for 12. To add some matching serving pieces in both the china and sterling pattern and stemware, tack on another $6000.

Fine jewelry and nice things aren’t just for potential future first-ladies. A potential future president needs to be on time for campaign dates, and what better way than with a precision time piece. Tiffany’s Atlas chronograph watch in 18k gold with mechanical movement is Swiss made and features an ivory-colored dial, beige alligator strap and a fold-over clasp for $17,700.

At this point, we’ve only spent $299,200, so to stimulate the economy a bit more, we could return to Tiffany’s “Statement” jewelry collection and pick out their exclusive Lucinda diamond ring with a 3.05 carat “patented diamond cut like no other on earth” surrounded by round diamonds and set on a diamond studded band for $176,000, bringing our shopping spree to  $475,200 – under budget by almost 5 percent.

Or if we were short on shopping time, we could spend it all by selecting the diamond drop earrings with 6.33 carats of oval and pear-shaped diamonds for $495,000, but spending it all on one item might not be considered the most fiscally conservative thing to do.

But then neither is putting a half million dollars worth of bling on a personal revolving credit card.

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About the Author

Polly Twocents
Polly Twocents is the pseudonym for the political commentary of Patti Brown, a partner in the Iowa Policy Institute, a research and analysis firm specializing in public policy issues. Patti is an Iowa mother of five who has a masters degree in journalism with a minor in political science from Iowa State University and an masters in social work from the University of Iowa. Patti worked for many years as a social worker in hospital, hospice and mental health settings. In addition she has also been a staff writer and columnist for The Catholic Mirror and a writer for The Des Moines Register. She is unabashedly and consistently pro-life and pro-family. As a bleeding heart conservative, Patti believes in a limited, representative government, personal responsibility, individual opportunity, and free enterprise.

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