With the return of The COUTURE Show—at Wynn Las Vegas from Wednesday, May 29 through Sunday, June 02—I decided to revisit this article, which I originally published on October 19, 2014, because frankly, it's truer now than ever before. Enjoy!

It’s no big reveal to say that I enjoy things that sparkle in the night (and in daylight).  Yes, I adore jewelry.  It’s a trait I come by genetically, as anyone who knows my mother can attest.

One of my favorite things to do with jewelry (after acquiring it, that is) is to wear it; oftentimes to the chagrin of my mother, whose taste is far less flashy than mine.

But, having come by that love of jewelry from my mother (as do most men, I’d imagine), I was also taught specific rules about jewelry etiquette.  Among things that I was taught never to do was to touch jewelry being worn by someone else.  Don’t grab her necklace, don’t paw his bracelet, and don’t put your greasy fingers on anyone’s ring!

For some reason, and this is something I’ve noticed only in Las Vegas, people—oftentimes women who really should know better—have little compunction about walking up to me and touching my jewelry.  Like, I’m an exhibit at the DISCOVERY Children’s Museum: Homo Sapiens Fabulosa, in all his glory.  “Oh, would you look at the homosexual, Gene?  He’s got such fantastic jewelry!”

Well, I’m here to quote Donna Summer and say, “Enough is enough!”

Celebrities, socialites, hipsters, trustafarians, fashionistas...  It’s something that seems to know no barrier.  I mean, it’s one thing to compliment someone on his tasteful brooch or his unique ring, but something else entirely to grab it and touch it and rub it like a genie is going to emerge and grant your wish.  I’m no germaphobe by any means, but I take the time to keep my jewelry in immaculate condition, and all I ask is that you don’t muck it up.

Take, for instance, this encounter that occurred during the Dom Pérignon cocktail reception preceding the 2013 Power of Love™ gala, benefiting Keep Memory Alive at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.  I was pressed and dressed.  I was wearing an early-‘90s era Yohji Yamamoto dinner jacket (absurd, but I’d bought into an overzealous salesman’s pitch), custom stingray shoes, and, in addition to the Tahitian pearl and diamond cufflinks, cocktail rings and brooch I was wearing, I’d opted to loop one of my favorite pieces—a 60” strand of large, silver Tahitians that alternates baroque, round, baroque, round, etc.—twice around my neck.

There I am, minding my own business, a flute of Dom Pérignon Vintage 2003 (with its tantalizing notes of candied fruits and fresh foliage) in one hand and my trusty camera in the other.  When before I knew what was happening, a woman upon whom I’d never laid eyes (nor ever seen since, for that matter), comes up to me, and says “I love your beads!”  And while the snob in me (no, it’s true!) was at the ready to point out that they were not beads so much as pearls; my mind went blank as she proceeded to reach out, bounce them in the palm of her hand—as if to measure their heft—and began tugging on them.

So, now I will share with y’all the simple words to live by that I imparted to her.  “Madam, I do not know you, so I’m gonna let you peek through a special little window into my world.  Unless you are wearing a white coat and requesting that I turn my head and cough, or you happen to be sharing my bed (however briefly), I’ll kindly thank you to refrain from ever touching, fondling, or caressing any object suspended from my person.”  I then retrieved my pearls (thank you very much) and went on my merry (Mary?) way.   

Gratuitously bitchy?  Perhaps.  But, know this: No more than a month later, my beloved strand of Tahitians required restringing.

What does all of this mean?  Simple.  Look, gaze, compliment, and even examine, if you will, but please, ¡Por favor no toques!

Jewelry Etiquette

Get into it!

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Located high atop Fontainebleau Las Vegas, in a hidden nook of the zhuzhy Poodle Room, ITO is a sparkling jewel in the luxury resort’s culinary crown.