Jewelry from the Movies: Big Glamour on the Big Screen

Taylor Swift & Jennifer Lawrence at Golden Globes
Taylor Swift & Jennifer Lawrence at the Golden Globes

It’s Red Carpet season…Obsessed by Jewelry’s favorite time of the year. We’re talking about the annual winter spectacle, from the Golden Globe Awards (this year January 13) to the Academy Awards (February 24), when we get to witness a dizzying array of high fashions and haute jewelry, as Hollywood’s elite walk the Red Carpet to collect their acting trophies.

Jessica Alba
Jessica Alba

At the recent Golden Globe Awards, Jessica Alba dazzled in a $5.8 million diamond necklace from Harry Winston…definitely the night’s show-stopper. But many of the stars’ jewelry looks were on the simple side, limited to long diamond earrings with side-swept hair, or bejeweled cuffs gripping designer clutches.

The story of jewelry from the movies, and in the movies, is almost as old as film itself. Directors dress their stars in important jewels to help make a point on film, and then those stars turn up on the Red Carpet in jewels designed to reinforce their glamour.

Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer BlondsA good example is the 1953 film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, in which Marilyn Monroe sang and danced to “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” literally dripping in diamonds. She then caused a sensation by wearing the 24-carat Moon of Baroda Canary Diamond to the premiere. It helped spark a U.S. love affair with yellow diamonds that has grown steadily over the decades.

No discussion of the Red Carpet would be complete without the star most closely associated with important jewelry on and off the screen – the late Elizabeth Taylor. The 69-carat Taylor-Burton Diamond, a gift from her husband Richard Burton, is considered one of the largest diamonds in the world. And her 1991 TV commercial for Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds perfume is still going strong more than two decades later!

The Elizabeth Taylor Collection auction at Christie's

In December 2011, Christie’s New York auctioned off The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor, the most valuable sale of jewelry in auction history. Thousands of people braved the cold to preview the gems (your OBJ editor among them). The proceeds topped $156 million.

There have been hundreds of films over the years starring precious jewelry or jewelry heists: How to Catch a Thief, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Titanic and Pretty Woman, just to name a few.

Tell us your favorite jewelry-at-the-movies moment in the Comments section below.

And enjoy this Red Carpet season!