The 10 best Jewelry Pieces We’ve Seen On the Big Screen
Gems are the ultimate movie prop. When done right, jewelry can bring a scene to life, transforming a simple outfit worn in an ordinary moment into an unforgettable look. Jewelry can also add to a character’s personality, telling you a lot about them before they even say a word. As an ode to the vital role jewelry plays in Hollywood, here are 10 of the best jewelry pieces I’ve seen so far on the big screen.
1. Pretty Woman: Vivian’s Ruby and Diamond Necklace
Pretty Woman is a popular romantic comedy that was released in 1990. The movie is about a wealthy businessman (Edward) who falls in love with the escort (Vivian) he hires to accompany him on corporate events. In what is perhaps the best movie scene ever made, Edwards gifts Vivian an exquisite ruby and diamond necklace to match a beautiful red dress he also bought for her. The necklace is so stunning that Vivian is hesitant to touch it at first, and when she eventually reaches out, Edward plays a prank by snapping the box shut, evoking heartwarming laughter from Julia Roberts.
The necklace was specially designed for the movie by French jewelry house Fred Joaillier. It was made with real precious stones, including 23 pear-shaped rubies individually surrounded by heart-shaped diamonds set in an 18K white gold chain. The price tag? $250K, according to Edward in the movie. The real price of the necklace today, however, can range anywhere between $500K and $1 million, especially since rubies have skyrocketed in value.
2. Titanic: Rose’s Heart of the Ocean
Titanic narrates a story of love and tragedy between a rich socialite, Rose, and a poor artist, Jack, who meet on a ship sailing from England to America. Rose has a fiancé, Cal, who accompanies her on the trip and gifts her a blue heart-shaped diamond necklace (the Heart of the Ocean) for their engagement. This necklace became one of the most recognizable pieces of jewelry from a movie.
Created by London-based jewelers Asprey & Garrard, the fictional piece was modeled after the Hope diamond, a real but rare blue-colored diamond worth between $250—$300 million. The prop necklace used for filming the movie cost around $8,000 to make.
After the movie, Asprey & Garrard were commissioned to make a real Heart of the Ocean piece and created a platinum-set, 171-carat (34.2 g) heart-shaped Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 103 diamonds. The piece sold for $1.4 million at an auction under the agreement that Celine Dion would wear it two nights later at the 1998 Academy Awards ceremony.
3. High Society: Grace Kelly’s Cartier Diamond Ring
High Society is a 1956 romantic musical featuring Grace Kelly as a socialite whose ex-husband, Bing Crosby, tries to win back before she marries another man. The movie was Kelly’s last screen appearance before she married her Prince of Monaco fiancé, Rainier III, and retired from acting.
The story is that the costume designer was going to source a fake engagement ring for Kelly to wear during filming, but Rainer insisted on buying her a real ring instead. This piece turned out to be a stunning 10.48-carat Cartier emerald-cut diamond ring with two baguette-cut side stones set in a platinum band.
The ring was admired both on and off the screen and gave rise to some memorable lines such as Crosby asking Kelly’s fiancé, “Some stone, George. Did you mine it yourself?” In addition to filming, Kelly also wore the ring for MGM’s publicity photographs of the movie.
4. Gone With the Wind: Scarlett O’Hara’s Coral Necklace
Gone with the Wind took cinematography to another level specifically with its costumes. It’s hard to choose just one piece of jewelry from this movie to highlight. If I had to pick one standout, it would be the gold-plated, tiered coral necklace Scarlet O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) wears in multiple scenes. The colorful necklace is made with three faux-coral blossoms and a suspended tear-drop pendant set on a gold-plated tiered chain. O’Hara most notably wears the necklace at the Twelve Oaks Barbeque scene where she meets the main male character, Rhett Butler (Clark Gable).
The necklace was designed by Hollywood costume designer Joseff and was later auctioned for an impressive $53,125.
5. Ocean’s 8: Daphne’s Toussaint Necklace
Cartier was the exclusive jewelry partner for the all-female sequel of the Ocean’s film series, Ocean’s 8, and let’s just say the jewelry does not disappoint. One piece steals the show, however, and that’s the diamond Toussaint necklace which Anne Hathaway’s character, Daphne, wears to the Met Gala. The necklace is at the center of the heist movie which features Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, Danny Ocean’s younger sister, and a professional con artist who plans on stealing the piece with the help of a crew.
Named after Cartier’s creative director, Jeanne Toussaint, the Toussaint necklace was originally made in 1931 for the Maharaja of Nawanagar. The real piece doesn’t exist anymore, but a replica was created for the movie using the design drawings and photographs of the original necklace stored in Cartier’s archives. While the real necklace was made with a 500-carat diamond, the replica used in the movie was created out of zirconium oxides and white gold. It’s stunning, nonetheless, and took the efforts of some of the best jewelers in the world to create. The piece is currently on display at the Cartier Mansion in New York.
6. Crazy Rich Asians: Michelle Yeoh’s Emerald Ring
Michelle Yeoh dug deep into her personal jewelry collection for her role in the popular 2018 rom-com, Crazy Rich Asians. The actress who plays Eleanor, the hard to please mother of the groom, wore a beautiful emerald and diamond ring she bought for herself in real life. The ring played the role of the covetable engagement ring, and symbolized Eleanor’s acceptance of her son’s fiancé, Grace. Yeoh was originally meant to wear a Jackie Kennedy-inspired ring for the role, but was less than impressed by the final product and offered her own ring instead. The ring fit perfectly into the ultra-rich image the director was trying to paint, and sure enough, became the most memorable piece of jewelry from the movie.
7. Crazy Rich Asians: Shang Su Yi’s Sun-Kissed Brooch
The jewelry in Crazy Rich Asians is so good that it could easily take up three or four spots on this list, but I’ll stick to two. In the theme of high-end jewelry seen throughout the movie, Shang Su Yi (Lisa Lu), the wealthy grandmother of the groom, wears an exquisite diamond orchid brooch to her grandson’s wedding. The piece blends so well with her outfit that it almost seems a part of it and not a separate accessory in itself. The brooch was designed by Hong-Kong based jewelry house, Carnet, and is made of white and fancy diamonds set in platinum and 18K yellow gold.
8. Tomorrow Never Dies: Paris Carver’s Diamond Necklace and Sapphire Ring
Bond movies are well known for the impeccable jewelry they adorn their cast with. In Tomorrow Never Dies, Bond Girl Paris Carver (Teri Hatcher), wears not one but two classic pieces for her husband’s company launch party. These are a 25-carat white diamond and platinum necklace, and a sapphire and diamond ring. Both items were designed exclusively for the movie by British Jeweler David Morris who also designed jewelry for other bond films, including Diamonds are Forever, The Man with the Golden Gun, and the World is not Enough.
Carver’s necklace was the standout piece in the ensemble and became so popular that Morris decided to make and sell it commercially.
9. Sex and The City: Carrie’s Chandelier Earrings
No list of best jewelry on the big screen would be complete without a nod to Sex and the City. The series gave us one of the most stylish characters on TV, Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker). A die-hard fashionista that will forever be remembered for her many gorgeous outfits. Carrie might have had a shoe obsession, but her jewelry collection was just as impressive. The one piece I love is the Fred Leighton diamond chandelier earrings she wears in the heartbreaking season 4 finale of the series. They are gorgeous, bold, and perfectly complemented her outfit. Sarah Jessica Parker loved the earrings just as much as her character Carrie, and wore them to multiple red-carpet appearances.
10. Dark Knight Rises: Bruce Wayne’s Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Watch
Jaeger-LeCoultre (JLC) has been the official watch brand for the Batman movies since its inception. For Dark Knight Rises, the Reverso Grande Date is the perfect choice for Bruce Wayne. No other jewelry has embodied a character’s personality like the JLC Reverso. The watch is sleek, with an art-deco inspired black dial and black leather strap. It also comes equipped with a signature reverse case that allows you to toggle between the face of the watch and the solid steel at the back stamped with the iconic Batman logo. As a homage to the movie, JLC released a limited custom watch inspired by the first Reverso piece made in 1931.
The Best Gems are Yet to Come
Believe it or not, jewelry on the big screen is only getting better. Now more than ever, respected jewelers are partnering with movie studios to create exclusive pieces for their films. Earlier this year, Chopard announced that it would be creating jewelry for No Time to Die, the new Bond movie which came out in April. Tiffany & Co. also partnered with 20th Century Studios to create jewelry for the movie version of Agatha Christie’s novel, Death on the Nile, which was released in October 2020. We are excited to see more of this trend, and surely there will be a lot of amazing jewelry to look forward to on the big screen!
About The Author
Debbie Azar is the Co-Founder and President of Gemological Science International (GSI), one of the largest gemological organizations in the world, and a distinguished leader in the global diamond and jewelry industry. As an executive with extensive knowledge of the jewelry and gem lab industries, her entrepreneurial skills and vision have helped GSI achieve rapid and continuous growth worldwide, establishing 13 leading-edge gemological facilities on four continents. She currently serves on the boards of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, Responsible Jewellery Council, and Jewelers for Children, and is a member of the 24 Karat Club of New York. She has been featured in Forbes, Daily Mail, Good Morning America, Bloomberg, Bloomberg Businessweek, Fox Business, Fox5, CBS2, BOLDTV, Varney&Co, The Street, and NASDAQ, among others.