Ben Affleck walked into Tiffany in Century City this week and everyone assumed he went to see about a diamond. “Ben Affleck browses engagement rings at Tiffany’s amid Jennifer Lopez reunion” was the headline. He was with his mother and his son. It was in public and in the middle of the day and in plain sight. And wow we really want this to happen don’t we. Why? A recent New York Times podcast, hosted by Dodai Stewart with Michael Gold, asked the question. Nostalgia was one answer. We yearn for those days of Bennifer gone by, and for who we all were back then.
If the root of our Bennifer obsession is grounded in the past, can we go back a bit further than the early aughts? Let’s land instead in 1957.
A friend had a camera when Mike Todd gave Elizabeth Taylor a ruby and diamond Cartier necklace in the pool at Villa Fiorentina in Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. And so we can, in silent film stills, see what Liz Taylor looked like when someone brought her jewelry. Happy, very very happy. I thought of that footage when those images of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez on the yacht came out, the one where they seem to be recreating a scene from the Jenny From the Block video. If we are restaging moments from the past what about the one with the Cartier rubies in the pool? And if we are grafting fantasies onto a visit to Tiffany’s can we add this moment as well? Bennifer in the pool with diamonds? Imagine that Instagram post.
Liz Taylor—J Lo parallels have been drawn before—the grand glamour, the big sometimes messy love, the engagement rings, the consistent sometimes defiant reminders of the outrageous talent-and the reunion of Bennifer has now drawn the line deeper. Are they our Dick and Liz? If we are looking for further parallels to draw why not use jewelry as a comparative model? Taylor of course was famously seduced by it—she once told a reporter that when Burton gave her jewelry she “would get so excited I would jump on top of him and practically make love to him in Bulgari.”
Jewelry gifts mark this romantic timeline as well. The return of Bennifer began with the sighting of a watch. A fan account noted Affleck was wearing a timepiece that looked quite a lot like one Lopez gave him the first time around when he was seen leaving her apartment in Miami. Not long after, Lopez was seen wearing a bracelet that looked a lot like a Harry Winston Affleck had gifted her years earlier. There were the reports of the Foundrae necklaces he gave her for her 52nd birthday and of course zoomed in paparazzi images of the initial necklace she wore this summer: B.E.N.
There is also the pink diamond engagement ring, the most notable Bennifer jewel of all. Ben Affleck has proven himself to be something of a stone savant seeing the value and rarity of pink diamonds long before the broader market caught on (the ring, rumored to have cost Affleck about $1.2 million from Harry Winston could be worth up to $11million today.)
And so back to that video of Liz Taylor in the pool and the glorious distraction a Bennifer recreation of it might provide right now. That necklace, of rubies and diamonds sold at the auction of Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection for almost $4 million. Rubies, symbols of nobility, purity, and passion, seem a fitting reflection of Bennifer 2.0 and they also happen to be Jennifer Lopez’s birthstone (a Leo, July 24). Cartier’s new High Jewelry collection happens to have a one of a kind necklace that has a certain resemblance to the one Todd gave Taylor. And there is a delicate Van Cleef ruby and diamond flower collar from Van Cleef that could even work layered with the gold Foundrae necklaces. And since Harry Winston already has all your credit card details what about the ruby and diamond necklace they just made inspired from one they found in their archive? So rubies, that is one idea.
But given Affleck’s jewelry history, and his foresight in choosing a pink diamond, perhaps he might want something more unusual, a stone of jewelry collectors and cognoscenti if you will. Mr. Affleck, have you perused any stores for spinel? They look like rubies (the spinel in the Imperial State Crown of England is in fact mistakenly known as The Black Prince’s Ruby), are highly prized and rapidly growing in value and appreciation. And there is that 131.21 carat spinel at the center of a High Jewelry necklace from Bulgari, the fourth largest known spinel in the world. It has history, is royal adjacent, and seems to be a solid investment. It could be the pink diamond of Bennifer Part Deux.
This is where the mind goes after reading one item about Ben Affleck shopping for jewelry again? That Times podcast explained the nostalgia fueling our Bennifer fantasies as a way of accessing that part of yourself not worried about the fate of the world and the virus and climate change. And for the few minutes you took to read this I hope that was true. A video of Ben and Jen in a pool with a Bulgari spinel necklace could work too.
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