In the dazzling world of cinema, there’s no denying the allure of glamorous jewelry adorning the silver screen. From Audrey Hepburn’s unforgettable Breakfast at Tiffany’s style to Daisy Buchanan’s captivating “$350,000 (S$470,000) engagement ring” in The Great Gatsby, these iconic pieces of movie jewelry have become etched in our collective memory.
Enter Eugene Joseff, a masterful jeweler who left an indelible mark on Hollywood’s golden era. Spending an astonishing 1,200 hours to craft a single necklace for Greta Garbo in Camille, Joseff’s artistry graced more than 3,000 films, including timeless classics like Gone with the Wind and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. His extraordinary archive holds a staggering collection of nearly two million jewelry pieces.
From the opulence of Old Hollywood to the modern-day stars who channel their inner princesses on the screen, these cinematic moments have become legendary, forever woven into the tapestry of film history.
#1: PRETTY WOMAN
Who could possibly forget the unforgettable moment when Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) presents Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) with that extraordinary necklace in the iconic 1990 romantic comedy, Pretty Woman? This stunning piece, meticulously crafted by the renowned French goldsmith, Fred Joaillier, showcases 23 pear-cut rubies delicately nestled within diamond-encrusted hearts. Remarkably, the necklace’s current appraisal stands at approximately $1.35 million (S$1.81 million).
Given the film’s relatively modest budget of $14 million (S$18 million), the costume department was unable to procure the necklace for the production. However, the generous jeweler graciously lent the piece, albeit under tight security. To protect its considerable value, the necklace came accompanied by an armed guard.
One of the most popular jewelry pieces in the annals of cinema is none other than the Heart of the Ocean necklace from Titanic. While the film portrays the necklace as being adorned with genuine diamonds, in reality, it was meticulously crafted with zircons and fashioned into white gold. However, if the necklace had indeed been created with authentic diamonds, its estimated value would have soared to over $500 million (S$671 million)!
The esteemed London jewelers, Asprey & Garrard, were entrusted with the creation of this extraordinary piece. Drawing inspiration from three illustrious diamonds steeped in French history—the Marie Antoinette Bleu, the Regent, and the Hope Diamond—Asprey & Garrard captured the essence of opulence and romance in their exquisite design.
#3: GENTLEMAN PREFER BLONDES
In the iconic 1955 film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Marilyn Monroe mesmerized audiences with her unforgettable performance of the timeless classic, “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
Interestingly, similar to the necklace in To Catch a Thief, this necklace also takes on a pivotal role in the plot, ultimately revealed as a counterfeit. However, for promotional purposes, the filmmakers made the deliberate choice to showcase the original yellow-diamond necklace. With its pear-shaped diamond, originally unearthed in the mines of Golconda, India, and once owned by Queen Marie Antoinette, this remarkable piece holds a storied history. Notably, in 2018, it fetched a staggering $1.3 million (S$1.75 million) at auction, a testament to its timeless beauty and allure.
#4: GREAT GATSBY
As far as headpieces go, we are absolutely smitten with Daisy’s exquisite headpiece in The Great Gatsby. Interestingly, this stunning piece was not custom-made for the film; instead, it was already a treasured possession from the Tiffany & Co archives, graciously loaned to the production for the iconic party scene at Gatsby’s opulent mansion.
The selection of this particular headpiece was no coincidence. Its high-quality diamonds and lustrous pearls were a flawless embodiment of the 1920s jazz age, capturing the essence of that glamorous era with impeccable precision.
#5: TO CATCH A THIEF
Interestingly, the necklace in To Catch a Thief not only adds visual appeal but also plays a crucial role in influencing the movie’s plot. It is revealed as a fake, strategically employed to entice the protagonist, John Robie (portrayed by Cary Grant), a former jewel thief. Surprisingly, even the real necklace used in the film was rumored to be an imitation, borrowed for a mere $75 (S$100) during the filming process.
In this 1955 Hitchcock classic, Grace Kelly graces the screen wearing a breathtaking tiered diamond necklace. Its radiant elegance enhances her captivating presence and further immerses viewers in the allure of the film’s world.
#6: BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S
In the highly improbable event that you haven’t had the pleasure of witnessing this timeless masterpiece, there’s a moment that’s bound to be etched in your memory: the iconic image of Holly Golightly (portrayed by Audrey Hepburn) gazing through the window of Tiffany & Co., delicately savoring coffee and a croissant, adorned with a remarkable 5-strand choker pearl necklace embellished with an exquisite diamond brooch.
This extraordinary jewelry piece from Breakfast at Tiffany’s has undoubtedly become one of the most recognizable and enduring images in the history of cinema. It encapsulates the essence of elegance and sophistication that resonates with audiences to this day.