The Top 15 Oscar Jewelry Moments Ever
—There is no bigger stage for fine jewelry than the Academy Awards red carpet. It’s the Super Bowl of jewelry, which is why celebrity placements are a jewelry brand’s equivalent of Super Bowl commercials. Yes, they are often paid to wear the jewelry and very few own their own Oscar jewelry but we enjoy them much more than the main event itself. And like any self-respecting American spectacle, the jewels at the Academy Awards have their own hashtag: #OscarJewelry. Follow along on Twitter and Instagram for cheers and jeers and join in the fun.
1. Nicole Kidman in L’Wren Scott at the 2008 Oscars
This awe-inspiring statement necklace by L’Wren Scott is 1,399 carats but still manages to look a bit bohemian and ethereal. Nicole Kidman has worn many wonderful jewels to the Oscars, including two amazing L’Wren Scott rough diamond cuffs in 2007 that I was lucky to see in person in Basel at the William Goldberg booth that year, but this necklace is my favorite. It also helped launch the rough diamond trend so it was a landmark piece for jewelry style as well.
2. Angelina Jolie in Lorraine Schwartz at the 2009 Oscars
So simple. Yet so mesmerizing. The Lorraine Schwartz Colombian emerald earrings and matching ring that Angelina Jolie wore to the 2009 Oscars transformed the emerald market. I remember interviewing emerald dealers about the resulting surge in sales, and also remembered how disdainful they were about the quality of the stones, which were noticeably included (as emeralds often are.) it didn’t matter what the dealers thought: suddenly everyone realized that emeralds didn’t have to be clean to be beautiful. In fact, one reason these gems glow is the way their inclusions hold the light.
3. Elizabeth Taylor in the Taylor-Burton at the 1970 Oscars
How can anyone else compete? Elizabeth Taylor had one of the world’s best jewelry collections and she loved to wear her jewels. The Taylor Burton Diamond was originally a ring but even for Elizabeth it was a little too big to wear on a finger. It makes quite a statement as a necklace don’t you think?
4. Margot Robbie in Van Cleef & Arpels at the 2015 Oscars
This necklace is an icon of jewelry design because the zipper actually works. You zip up the necklace and you can wear the shorter length as a bracelet. I’ve seen this necklace style up close at the Vicenza Jewelry Museum and it really is quite beautiful: in person, the zipper is a beautiful texture.
5. Amy Adams in Fred Leighton at the 2009 Oscars
I love the way this boldly hued necklace pairs with Amy’s red Carolina Herrera dress. The 1950s bib necklace from Fred Leighton has 630 carats of emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. The style of the necklace echoes the fabulous tutti-frutti necklaces by Cartier in the twenties and thirties.
6. Angelina Jolie in H. Stern at the 2004 Oscars
More proof that Angelina has an unerring eye for jewels. This necklace by H Stern is serious stuff: $10 million in important diamonds in a graceful waterfall that emphasizes the plunging neckline of her gown.
7. Nicole Kidman in Martin Katz at the 1997 Oscars
I remember the gasp-inducing moment when Nicole arrived on the red carpet in the amazing embroidered chartreuse satin cheongsam by John Galliano for Christian Dior. What isn’t remembered as well is how perfectly her Indian style earrings and enamel bracelet complemented the gown. The whole ensemble was one of the most memorable red carpet style moments ever, only slightly marred by the fact that she was holding the hand of husband Tom Cruise at the time. (I cropped him out, Nicole. We can forget that detail, OK? Your jewelry is awesome and you look great.)
8. Carey Mulligan in Fred Leighton at the 2010 Oscars
The most dramatic jewelry look of the 2010 Oscars, these beautiful diamond chandelier earrings are bold in scale but delicately detailed. This look is a textbook example of how to accessorize a strapless black dress. Although chandeliers are more often worn with long locks, these earrings make Carey’s pixie haircut look sophisticated and red-carpet glamorous.
9. Hilary Swank in Asprey & Garrard at the 2000 Oscars
I just love the delicate lacy silhouette of this necklace and the way it continues all the way around the neck. This may be my personal favorite of these amazing pieces. And the necklace was made for Queen Victoria’s daughter in 1890 so it’s literally regal.
10. Beyonce in Lorraine Schwartz at the 2005 Oscars
This was the debut of Lorraine Schwartz as the ultimate red carpet jeweler. These earrings are even more amazing up close. I visited Lorraine in Basel the next year and felt her diamond handkerchief mesh: it’s soft as silk and incredibly flexible. The craftsmanship is impeccable and she continues to break new design ground.
11. Gwyneth Paltrow in Anna Hu at the 2012 Oscars
Gwyneth Paltrow is a jewelry connoisseur and collector. She owns the Harry Winston diamond choker she wore when winning her Oscar in 1999. Her lovely diamond thread choker by Joel A Rosenthal is part of the Jewels by JAR exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (It’s not too late: go!) And then there is this cuff and ring by Anna Hu, worn with a cape dress by Tom Ford. Inspired by the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, the cuff is set with 2,368 icy D VVS quality diamonds: 163 carats in total. Perfection.
12. Keira Knightly in Bulgari at the 2006 Oscars
This multicolor Bulgari bib necklace has a great Gina Lollobrigida vibe. And it is such a bold choice with her aubergine one-shoulder Vera Wang dress that I just can’t help but love it.
13. Jennifer Lawrence in Chopard at the 2013 Oscars
The fact that Jennifer Lawrence and Anne Hathaway both wore backwards necklaces to the 2013 Oscars (and both won) definitely launched the backlace trend. Jennifer’s back bling is a delicate 74-carats strand of diamond beads by Chopard.
14. Cate Blanchett in Tiffany & Co at the 2015 Oscars
The color, the texture, and the fact that this necklace looks so simple from far away and yet is so detailed close up make it one of the best statement necklaces ever. Although most credits have it as turquoise, it also has aquamarine, diamonds and platinum.
15. Lupita Nyong’o in Calvin Klein at the 2015 Oscars
There are 6,000 embroidered pearls on Lupita’s custom Calvin Klein dress, some real, some not. But it is harder to imagine a stronger statement for the allure and beauty of pearls. (Lupita is also wearing some lovely diamonds by Chopard BTW.)
Which was your favorite Oscar jewelry moment? There are plenty of great ones I left out: Elizabeth Taylor’s tiara! Claire Danes in that amazing Asprey daisy choker. What would you add to the list?