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28/01/2010

Designated Jeweler For Bonds's Earring

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''That's the one,'' said Mozaffarian, sitting behind a glass display case at Shapur, his jewelry boutique in Union Square. ''It was a fairly simple piece. It was not very expensive. But it is very special to me Return to Tiffany-- because it had the most feeling.''

It is an inch-long cross, with square-cut diamonds on the sides. When Mozaffarian wants to see the real thing, he leaves his boutique, heads down to AT&T Park and watches it dangle from the left earlobe of Barry Bonds.

Much about Bonds's appearance has changed in the past 20 years. His body, and some would say his head, have grown drastically. But as Bonds nears Hank Aaron's career home run record, one part of him looks the same -- the cross earring that hangs beneath his batting helmet.

''I remember when he first came into the store and we sketched it out,'' Mozaffarian said. ''It was a long time ago. He was a tough man, very rough-talking. But I could tell right away that he had a wonderful heart.''

Superstar athletes are often associated with one signaturtiffany for salee accessory -- Michael Jordan and his shoes, Allen Iverson and his headband, Tiger Woods and his red sweater.

Bonds wore a cross earring in 1986, when he was a rookie with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and it became a symbol of his flash. He was still wearing one in 1993, as a member of the San Francisco Giants, and it became a symbol of his faith.

He wears an even bigger cross earring now, but not every night, and not at Tuesday's All-Star Game. For men, dangly earrings seemed to fade out of style a couple of decades ago. But for Bonds, the earring has never been about style or ego. It has always been about family.

The cross was initially a pendant, given to him by his grandfather, Robert Bonds, who died in 1983. Bonds turned it into an earring, which he wore throughout his time in Pittsburgh. After he came to San Francisco, he hired Mozaffarian to fashion a replica.

''I knew why he wanted it, and I understood the feeling he had about it,'' Mozaffarian said. ''It was the memory of his grandfather. It was very important to him.''

Throughout the 1990s, the earring became a part of Bonds's identitFrank Gehry Fish drop earringsy, as much as his ferocious left-handed swing. Little Leaguers drew crosses on their ears to look like Bonds. Jewelers noticed a rise in requests for cross earrings.

Mozaffarian never publicized their relationship, but he did frame an 8-by-10 photograph of Bonds, standing at home plate, earring in full view.

Shortly after the Giants moved to their new stadium in 2000, Mozaffarian got a frantic telephone call from Bonds. He had lost the earring. Mozaffarian remembered Bonds telling him, in a panicked voice, ''I have to get a new one for our next game.''

''Impossible,'' Mozaffarian said he told Bonds. ''I can't make it in time.''

But Bonds would not accept that answer. So Mozaffarian worked through the night, creating another version of the same earring. When he finished, he hopped a taxi to the stadium. He found Bonds in full uniform, ready to take the field.

''He was waiting for me,'' Mozaffarian said. ''When he saw the earring, it was like his whole body relaxed.''

Mozaffarian has decorated San Francisco for almost 40 years. His celebrity clients include actors like Nicolas Cage and Danny Glover. But Mozaffarian described that exchange with Bonds outside the Giants' clubhouse as a seminal moment in his career.

 

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