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Waris Is In the House

Ahluwalia and his pals click glasses at the Explorers Club

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Leigh Lezark and Waris Ahluwalia   
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In 1947, the Luxembourg-based diamond conglomerate De Beers coined the phrase "A Diamond Is Forever." Sixty-some years later, the group is making sure this "forever" is one that carries meaning, focusing on ethically sourced and produced jewels—and, in a new collection with Waris Ahluwalia's House of Waris for Forevermark, some very special baubles that are much more than a girl's best friend.

The collection launched on Friday with a fete at the Upper East Side's Explorers Club. "The inspiration for years now is love and history. That never changes. That never goes away," said Ahluwalia from the stairwell of the storied clubhouse. "And I like to go to the source and see who's making it, who's behind it—the impact it has on the larger picture. I'd been wanting to go to Africa to visit mines for a long time now."

The jeweler at last made his way to the source this past year—to Botswana and South Africa, specifically—where he visited the mines and the polishing, cutting, and sorting facilities ("those are all skilled labor jobs that require education, so that's resulted in a growing middle class," he explained), as well as local schools and preservation-minded game reserves.

Friday's party, complete with a feast of South African specialties, took us into that world. "I've been told that [the diamond market makes a positive impact], but I wanted to see it with my own eyes," he said, as guests including the likes of Vanessa Traina Snow and Maxwell Snow, Natasha Lyonne, Devendra Banhart, and Olivier Theyskens made their way to the second floor of the Jacobean mansion to drink a little wine, view the pieces up close, and trace the jeweler's journey to the heart of the diamond's southern African origins. "It was incredible," Ahluwalia continued.

As for the jewels themselves? "They're very delicate," commented model Kenza Fourati, with the Explorers Club's signature stuffed polar bear in view. "They're beautiful," added Johan Lindeberg. "It's Waris."

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