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All that glitters is silver

Jennifer Heil unveils a line of silver jewelry


 

“Please can you tell me,” the Serbian journalist asked me, “is this jewelry store company based here? Or is it more… East-coast?”

“Birks?” I replied. “It’s based in Montreal.”

“Ah. So, East-coast,” he said, with an I’m-a-man-of-the-world, you-don’t-have-to-spoonfeed-me glint in his eye. “Well, closer to the East coast, anyway.”

My Serbian colleague, who soon introduced himself as Vladimir Petrovic from DSL Sport newspaper, was, with me, one of the very few men attending the unveiling of a new Jennifer Heil line of silver jewelry at the Vancouver Birks flagship outlet on West Hastings. There was Starbucks coffee in silver puts. There were smoked-salmon canapés. There were many online style writers. “Oh yes! I read you on Twitter,” one said to another.

Making small talk, I asked Petrovic how many athletes there are on the Serbian Olympic team. “Eleven,” he said. “I’d have thought Serbia could field a hockey team,” I said.

“Slovenia can. Under the old Yugoslavia, 90 per cent of our hockey team was Slovenian. Now we don’t have enough,” he said. His paper used to be called JSL Sport, for Jugoslovenski Sporti List, or Yugoslavian Sporting Newspaper. Now it’s called Dnevni Sporti List, for Daily Sporting Newspaper.

I was scribbling something else in my notebook so I set out to reassure Petrovic. “I’m not taking notes about this.”

He shrugged and smiled. “Oh, you can make jokes about this! I don’t mind. I make jokes all the time. In Salt Lake City, Grimaldi, from Monaco, he finished the bobsled race on his head. He was one of a two-man bobsled and it turned over and he ended the race on his head. With the sled on top of him. And he still finished ahead of the Serbians.”

The main event, of course, was the arrival of Jenn Heil, whom the Birks publicity material identified as Gold Medallist Jenn Heil. Not incorrectly, either: she won gold in Turin. Here of course she won silver, Canada’s first medal of the games, and when she showed up, all bright eyes and wide smiles, she was wearing her medal, which was about the size of a pie plate and had an uneven, curvy surface.

Fiona Forbes, a local TV personality, approached a lectern near the coffee. “Please turn off your phones,” she said. “Especially if you have a Lady Gaga ringer.” Busted.

There were remarks from assorted jewelry dignitaries. Turns out this is the first time in Olympic history that the Games have designated an official supplier in the category of luxury jewelry. Really, you’d have thought they’d done it earlier. It turns out, too, that Jenn Heil’s line of products is in silver, but that this was going to be the case even before she fetched up silver at Cypress Mountain. There were no gold or bronze contingency plans.

She designed them herself, “in collaboration with the Birks design team.” Everything’s based on five rings, which is Olympic-ish and also reflects five “core values” Heil wanted to promote: courage, joy, focus, team and hope. “We are constantly inspired by her,” one Birks guy said. “As genuine a human being as you’d ever want to meet.” A Birks PR lady from Montreal pointed out to me that a line of jewelry associated with a 26-year-old athlete is pretty handy for the company, which doesn’t want to seem old and fusty.

Heil made grateful remarks and unveiled two new products—stackable bangles and stackable rings. There were many, many photos. The wee Olympian stayed cheerful through it all.

“She’s clearly, how do you call it, a hot dog,” Petrovic said as we watched the mogul star. “That’s why she can do her sport. It’s why she enjoys this.”


 
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All that glitters is silver

  1. how cliché

  2. Good for her. The jewelry's nice. Not my style, but I dig the silver.

  3. "He shrugged and smiled. “Oh, you can make jokes about this! I don't mind. I make jokes all the time. In Salt Lake City, Grimaldi, from Monaco, he finished the bobsled race on his head. He was one of a two-man bobsled and it turned over and he ended the race on his head. With the sled on top of him. And he still finished ahead of the Serbians.”

    lol Self deprecating humour at it's best.

    • “Please turn off your phones,” she said. “Especially if you have a Lady Gaga ringer.” Busted.

      PW humour at it's best.

  4. Ah yes it's all about the silver jewelery and starbucks coffee in silv……err….I mean… rather, it's all about the celebration of sport.

    pathetic.

    • You're hilarious!

    • It seems that this celebration (Birks) is a celebration of this athlete, and her talents. Be they sport or jewelry design. What exactly makes this pathetic? Would you rather her be hawking Coca Cola?

      How dare she have style taste and a little glamor after working her butt off for this country.

      Some peoples children.

      • Are you telling me there is a difference between hawking luxury items and hawking Coke?

        What is pathetic is not the athlete, but rather that we continue to believe that the Olympics is some how about the celebration of amateur sport. It's about the celebration of cashing in.

        • "She designed them herself, “in collaboration with the Birks design team.” Everything's based on five rings, which is Olympic-ish and also reflects five “core values” Heil wanted to promote: courage, joy, focus, team and hope."

          She is an active designer of the jewelry. So your right. There is a difference between her selling this, and hawking Coke. Thanks for pointing that out. As for cashing in? Again as a designer of the wares she is cashing in for a tangible product that she created, not just for her pretty face (which is not sarcasm, she's a nice looking lady.)

          Regardless, how do you suggest that sports players fund their continuing training in their chosen sport? Most of them work multiple jobs while training and still can't pay the bills. Canada doesn't host the games every year. That funding cush they have had in the last few years is sure to dry up at some point.

          • Again, my issue is not with the athlete. You are correct, she needs to fund her sports in some capacity.

            "Turns out this is the first time in Olympic history that the Games have designated an official supplier in the category of luxury jewelry. Really, you'd have thought they'd done it earlier."

            Again, the issue remains the Olympics purport to be something they are NOT.

            It is about government and corporations getting together to benefit a few, all under the guise of national pride and amateur sport.

            "Hey everyone, buy Brinks jewelry, drink Coke! Eat McDonald's and invest your money with RBC. If you love your country, you'll do it! Don't you love your country Douglass?"

            You seem to present the argument as only good for her. Let us not forget what one of the largest jewelry retailers in North America gets from this. They get to cash in on nationalism, on the fallacy that is the Olympics. And that, Douglass, is what the Olympic Games is all about.

          • Absolutely Birk's benefits. Let's not pretend this is something that is limited to the Olympics though. This is sport as usual.

  5. I was afraid Maclean's might have squandered the talents of one of Canada's premier political columnists (outside of Angelo Persichelli, of course). But I see my worries were for naught. Please, more posts on foreign journalists and their quirky jokes and broken English! Or, if it works, "Please for you to write more on this funny coverage!"

  6. Great stuff here. I totally agree with all your argument. Cheers.

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