The ads offering $19 knock-offs of Barbara Bush's signature pearls, which have been running in six major newspapers, are like sand in the eye to the First Lady's jewelry designer. Kenneth Jay Lane, who keeps Mrs. Bush bejeweled in his own pricier fake pearls ($88 for plastic, $150 for glass), recently examined the trade-marked First Lady pearl necklace and found it lacking a certain false luster. "I doubt very much if Mrs. Bush would wear something of this quality. They don't serve lumpfish caviar at the White House. [The pearls] are extremely lightweight. The clasp is very inferior," says Lane. The First Lady pearls are made by Lindenwold, a jewelry company in Canton, Ohio. Rodney Napier, a vice president of Lindenwold's parent company, Suarez Corp., says the necklace is made from fish scales (yuck!) and a few cultured pearls that have been crushed and liquefied and applied to beads. The ads show a Barbara Bush look-alike, Meta Peters, who has 20 years on the real article and who had it written into her contract that her whereabouts not be disclosed. Napier says, "Peters wears our pearls all the time, and people are always mistaking her for Mrs. Bush." He says the real Mrs. Bush was sent a First Lady necklace. Her reaction? We'll never know. Her spokeswoman says, "You know she doesn't discuss her clothes."
CHER SHOPS AROUND
An open letter to Cher's current beau, Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora:
We thought we should tell you that while you may have Cher's heart, part of her clothes allowance still belongs to former beau Rob Camiletti, left. ("They're still friends," says Cher's rep.) They were spotted at Manhattan's chic Charivari clothing store, but don't worry, they didn't look like they were having any fun. He just stood there hidden behind his Porsche sunglasses while Cher tried to find some black velvet pants in his size and showed him a shirt he didn't like. One onlooker said it looked like "Rob hates shopping." Failing to buy for Rob, Cher did what any ace shopper would do: She treated herself to a new outfit, a Romeo Gigli (fall's hottest new designer) burgundy jacket for about $800.