From Annapolis to the Met Gala

Lizzo wears local jeweler’s creation

By Steve Adams

The Met Gala is one of New York City’s most glittering and most photographed events. Big name celebrities and influencers hit the red carpet in fantastic fashions for this annual benefit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.

If you recall hearing something about Kim Kardashian and Marilyn Monroe’s dress recently–that was the Met Gala.

Of more interest to Chesapeake Country though were a pair of gold earrings.

Just after noon on Monday, May 2, Annapolis jewelry designer Constance Polamalu received an email that dramatically changed her day.

It was from Jason Rembert, stylist to A-list celebs such as Issa Rae and Michael B. Jordan, asking if her Engravable Diamond Nifo Earrings would be available for Grammy award-winning singer Lizzo to wear at the Met Gala that night.

Polamalu knows Rembert through the Natural Diamond Council’s Emerging Designers Diamond Initiative, which recently named her one of Jewelers of America’s 20 Under 40. Rembert thought the one-of-a-kind pair would serve as the perfect gilded accessory to compliment Lizzo’s look for “fashion’s biggest night out”—a black corset gown by Thom Browne with a big bold black and gold brocade.

“I was beyond thrilled that Rembert and Lizzo, by extension, wanted to showcase my work in such a major way,” said Polamalu, who is COO of Zachary’s Jewelers in Annapolis, and founder of her own brand, Birthright Foundry.

The earrings were indeed available but Polamalu was pretty skeptical that they could make it to New York City in time for Lizzo to walk the red carpet. She knew she wouldn’t be able to get them there herself since she has been caring for her newborn baby.

“I knew that it might not work out, but I wasn’t going to say no without trying,” says Polamalu. “I’d never had a request like this before, so I decided that I 100 percent wanted to pursue the amazing opportunity and, if it didn’t work out in the end, I’d be OK with just telling myself ‘so be it.’”

But thanks to an all-out effort, the earrings did indeed make it to the show.

After proper packaging and bagging by Zachary’s employee Cheryl King, the precious cargo went on a journey with Taele Polamalu, Inventory Control Specialist at Zachary’s and Constance’s sister in-law, that involved a drive from 100 Main Street to the BWI Amtrak station; a three-hour, 45-minute train ride to Grand Central Station; an Uber ride then, after a wrong turn, a seven-block sprint to a midtown NYC hotel; and, finally, a handoff to Lizzo’s stylist mere minutes before she hit the red carpet and made headlines with some impromptu flute-playing. 

“It was truly amazing to see them on her,” says Polamalu, who live-streamed the event on her iPad while enjoying an already-planned date night with her husband at Harvest Thyme Tavern in Davidsonville. “It had always been a dream of mine to eventually see one of my pieces worn at a high-profile event by a high-profile person, but this surpassed anything I could imagine—especially given that I’m relatively new to the space.”

Polamalu hopes the newfound attention leads to more awareness and business for both Zachary’s and Birthright, the brand she created to explore her American-Samoan cultural legacy.

If you are a Lizzo superfan, you can get your hands on the actual red-carpet worn pair of earrings. Polamalu confirms that the 0.5-carat, one-of-a-kind beauties are available to “the first person that’s interested,” for a cool $8,380. She does plan on producing more of them in the future.

Next on her celebrity wish list? Seeing Jason Momoa wear her large Heritage Diamond Ula Nifo gold-toothed necklace at the next Aquaman premiere.