"I detect a non-diamond," quipped culture maven Thomas Hoving.
Just barely, since the Regency Club dining room was filled with black-tie guests wearing their very own diamonds and looking at the very substantial stones on display from Tallarico Precious Jewels. Hoving and wine expert Steve Wallace were part of the "Connoisseurs of Quality" evening, put on by the Diamond Information Center--and allowing the rich and famous to learn a little more about diamonds. Or at least get a very nice meal.
With an honest warning that it was not a "heavy lecture," Hoving, former curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the current editor of Connoisseur magazine (see how the evening all fits together), said that the idea of what a "connoisseur" was had changed. In the dark ages "eight years ago," a connoisseur was a man with a little thing screwed into his eye, who "looked at a chair leg," Hoving said. But no more.
Now, good taste is available in many fields, "diversity and excitement" are celebrated, not the least being jewelry. "I love jewels," Hoving added, coming to this love honestly because his father headed Tiffany's for many years. Hoving himself worked there, and was thrown out once, he kidded, probably because at dinner he told his father "taste is a relative thing." He was, Hoving said, a "Byzantine scholar" and thus was prepared to deal with New York politics when he was parks commissioner in the 1960s.
The evening allowed about 150 members of the club to consume gourmet goodies put together by club director Bonnie Kyle. "Diamonds last forever, but wine does not," wine expert Wallace warned, and those gathered promptly consumed their Lobster Wrapped in Lettuce Leaves with Champagne and Caviar Sauce, and drank a Clos Baune de Mouches 1980. Looking particularly perky was Harriet Deutsch, there with husband Armand, and buddies Erlenne and Norman Sprague--and wearing a brand-new wrap-around collar of diamonds with a very large golden sapphire.
According to Hoving, the evening allowed him to be surrounded by things "I admire--beautiful people, gorgeous diamonds, a wonderful club, an awesome city, fine wine--and me."
MORE DIAMONDS--Guess you were wondering how Joanna Carson could be so accurate in reporting her stolen stones to the New York cops several weeks back. As she explained it, during the terrible divorce from Johnny, the lawyers kept confusing necklaces and bracelets under discussion. So, the clever Joanna figured out that she could Xerox all her jewels and then they could just refer to the numbers on the Xeroxes. When the robbery happened, she just pulled out the appropriate copies.
UPCOMING--Not every one is a loyal child of USC, but Joe and Lee Cerrell turn everyone into a Trojan-for-a-night annually when they stage their Hurrah Dinner. The fete, supporting USC's Center for Public Affairs, is set for Nov. 24 at the Century Plaza. The sponsors include Southern California Edison's Howard Allen, Judge Michael Luros, Carter Hawley Hale's Andrea Van de Kamp, and former Democratic National Chairman Chuck Manatt. Manatt will, as usual, not be able to make the dinner . . . David Murdock and the Music Center's Blue Ribbon hold a "Country Style Sunday" at the Ventura Farms on Nov. 9. . . . UCLA's Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery benefits from an exhibit of Andre Miropolsky's collages Nov. 16 at the Jerry Soloman Gallery. Judy Leaf and Pam Korman chair . . . The Centro de Minos hosts Buttons and Bows, a holiday fashion show and fund-raiser, featuring little kids and benefiting the bilingual child-care center for the working poor. It's Nov. 16 at the Bonaventure . . . St. Jude Children's Research Hospital hosts its first Glamour Gala Luncheon at the Century Plaza Sunday . . . She's set to be a mom by the benefit date, but Bette Midler is indeed the honorary chair of the Nov. 14 "Night at the Races III" at Hollywood Park. Mary Micucci and Nancy Stern are co-chairwomen, and Rick Dees is the auctioneer. It's all to benefit the Neil Bogart Memorial Laboratories, dedicated to finding a cure for childhood cancer.
WHAT THEY THOUGHT OF NEXT--Scratch nouvelle cuisine. Now there are nouvelle restrooms. Patrick Terrail, in his just-opened Hollywood Diner, has imported the latest toilet from France. Seen in Europe and New York by travelers, the toilet has an automatic dispenser of plastic seat covers.