If you want jewelry that exudes elegance and class, look no further than to old Hollywood glamour. The Golden Age of Hollywood drips with luxurious and unique jewelry, adorning the necks, heads, ears, and wrists of films' classic royalty. Make Valentine's Day 2021 unforgettable with jewelry that sparkles with the Golden Age style of a Hollywood starlet.
Discover the timeless beauty of art-deco inspired jewelry. See what makes the most iconic pieces of jewelry from old films so alluring and unforgettable. And, find out how Hollywood glamour influences jewelry design and the public's opinion of “classic” jewelry.
Old Hollywood Glamour Jewelry: The Best Pieces Shown in Classic Films
Old Hollywood glamour of the 1930’s defined a golden era of exorbitantly lavish lifestyles, and graceful elegance – often, in stark contrast to the realities of the Great Depression as experienced by the movie-watching public. Just as important as the high-fashion clothing – if not more so – the jewelry it accentuates and features. And, unlike the current-day Hollywood glamour, actresses in the Golden Age were often innovating and designing their own jewelry to be worn on the red carpet.
Today, Hollywood actresses are approached with jewelry to wear for premiers, parties, and other red carpet events. But, when Hollywood was young, and starlets were under contract by big production studios, glamour was simply a lifestyle expectation.
In the early days of Hollywood, actresses were often expected to wear the kind of lavish jewelry that their studio salaries would never afford. But, Hollywood has no shortage of prop and costume jewelry. So, actresses would enlist the studio prop master or costume designer to fashion them luxurious-looking jewelry – without the exorbitant price tag.
As a result, the jewelry they wore was unique, new, and desirable to women all over the world. The pieces Hollywood actresses wore in classic movies and on the red carpet have influenced the public's demand for decades and continues to do so to this day. Here is some of the best jewelry from the days of old Hollywood glamour:
The Hope Diamond or “Heart of the Sea” as Featured in Titanic (1997)
The Heart of the Sea sapphire is among the most valuable and recognizable pieces of jewelry in the world. It is famously featured in the major motion picture from 1997, Titanic. And, even though the ’90s are a far cry from the Golden Age of Hollywood, no list of Hollywood jewelry would be complete without mentioning the Hope Diamond.
The piece depicted in Titanic became iconic after the film's release, but – like so many influential pieces of old Hollywood glamour jewelry – it is a prop. For the Academy Awards that year, however, a real jewelry pendant was crafted by Harry Winston to be worn by actress Gloria Stuart. To this day, it remains one of the most expensive pieces of jewelry ever worn at the Academy Awards Ceremony, with an estimated value of around $4,000,000.
The pendant was designed to exactly resemble the prop worn by the character of Rose in the movie. In the center of the pendant sits a 170 karat sapphire. And, 103 diamonds surround the inner stone to create a piece unlike any other to grace the red carpet.
Tiaras and Cartier as Worn by Elizabeth Taylor and Merle Oberon
A tiara might seem a bit over-the-top – unless it is being worn by Elizabeth Taylor on the red carpet of the 1957 Oscars. The red carpet is where Hollywood glamour gets its time to shine, and few as brightly as anything Elizabeth Taylor adorned. Her contemporary, Merle Oberon chooses color over brilliance.
As a young actress, Merle Oberon worked with and eventually married Hollywood director Alexander Korda before her career took-off in films by Samual Goldwyn. Over her lavish lifestyle and illustrious career, Oberon caught the public's eye with many of her impeccable pieces of jewelry. But none so much as the 1938 Cartier necklace.
Oberon's beauty and press-appeal made the Cartier necklace an instant Hollywood glamour classic. The piece has been photographed more than any other piece in the Cartier collection, and it isn’t hard to understand why. The famous necklace features a ring of emeralds surrounded by a cascade of diamonds.
Clear, Sparkling, and Brilliant – The Diamonds of Marilyn Monroe
Nothing exudes a pure essence of Hollywood glamour like the diamonds worn and loved by famous Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe. As she sings in the 1953 film, Gentlemen Prefer Blonds, “Diamonds are a girl's best friend.” Whether wearing them on her ears, neck, or wrist – or displaying The Moon of Baroda diamond, as seen in Gentlemen Prefer Blonds – Marilyn is the epitome of classic Golden Age Hollywood glamour, style, and allure.
And, while The Moon of Baroda has inspired diamond-lust for decades, it is also the oldest real diamond used in the history of film. The diamond was originally owned by the family of the Maharaja of Baroda, India, for over 500-years. Before being lent to starlet Marilyn Monroe for the 1953 filming, The Moon of Baroda was worn by Austrian Empress Maria Theresa, as well as Marie Antoinette, before making its way to Meyer Rosenbaum in 1943 – who eventually loaned the diamond to Monroe.
The optical appeal of diamonds is, in large part, defined by these early film icons and the beauty that they elicited on the silver screen or red carpet. But, you might forget that these early Hollywood starlets jewelry featured stones and gems of many kinds, often with diamonds as elegant accent pieces. Shop in the store or talk to a jeweler today to find the perfect old Hollywood glamour piece – and give Valentines Day 2021 an era of classic luxury.