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What do you call a $70,000, 83-carat, sapphire and ruby encrusted phone? Anything but bling

June 11, 2010 | 12:00 pm

In Friday's L.A. Times Business section, our compatriot Nathan Olivarez-Giles writes about the newly opened Vertu boutique's Beverly Hills bash that showcased, among other things, a hand-assembled phone adorned with "an 83-carat sapphire, platinum, black leather and rubies" with a $70,000 price tag.

Rage_Vertu To us it's not surprising that such a pricey phone exists, nor is it particularly noteworthy that one of the fellows at the party (who described himself as an "international financier" claimed to have four such phones. What struck us as a bit incredulous was the fact that Vertu's founder, a graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena by the name of Fran Nuovo, doesn't like it when people call his phones "bling."

"It's not about bling-bling," Nuovo is quoted as saying. "I hate it when people say that."

If you ask us, Nuovo should OWN the "bling-bling" factor. While the people at the party such as Seal and Quincy Jones may not have wanted to talk about the Vertu phones they own, we're going to take a wild guess that they also don't leave them in hidden in a pocket and answer calls with a Bluetooth ear piece every time they ring either.

And, as the economic morass of the last few years starts to recede in the rear view mirror, conspicuous consumption could well become all the more conspicuous.

So instead of using ring tones created by Academy Award-winning composers for the Vertu, Nuovo might find that contacting the members of Pink Floyd about licensing the ringing cash register sounds from the song "Money" might be a smart move.

Oh, and while he's at it, Nuovo might want to try and get a trademark on the word "blingtone."

-- Adam Tschorn

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Photo: The Vertu Signature phone on display at the newly opened Vertu boutique at 264 N. Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times