In the golden age of cinema, many movie stars wore their own jewels
in their movies. Some of the stars sporting their very own rocks "onstage"
were Merle Oberon, Marlene Dietrich, Gloria Swanson, and Jean Harlow, just to
name a few.
Marlene Dietrich once accidentally baked her own 37.4 carat emerald
ring inside a cake, where it was discovered during dessert!
Queen Elizabeth II keeps her jewelry collection below Buckingham
Palace in a special room roughly the size of an ice rink...curling, anyone?
Elizabeth Taylor's jewelry collection boasts "La Peregrina,"
a stupendous, 203.84 grain, pear-shaped pearl discovered in the early 16th century
by a slave on the shores of Panama. The slave won his freedom with his find, which
was then given to Mary Tudor by her husband, the Spanish king Philip II. It became
part of the Spanish treasury, was painted by Velasquez and inspired the composer
Ravel. The pearl eventually made its way to France, where it was sold to save
its newest owner, the son of the French emperor Napoleon III, from financial disaster.
It finally ended up at Sotheby's, where Ms. Taylor obtained it in 1969 and had
it made into a necklace by Cartier. As a side note, the pearl was lost several
years ago in Ms. Taylor's Las Vegas hotel room, resulting in a frantic search
until it was discovered in the mouth of her dog.
Legend has it Cleopatra once dissolved a pearl at the time worth
five million sesterces (about $12,500) in soup and drank it, just to win a bet
with Marc Antony.
Moses ordered the breast plate of the High Priest to be made with
twelve gems, representing the twelve tribes of Israel. Among the gems believed
to have been used are amethyst, sapphire, emerald, agate, ruby, antimony, and
The most expensive piece of jewelry ever designed specifically
for a movie was the necklace worn by Nicole Kidman in the musical Moulin Rouge.
The $1 million creation was designed by Stefano Canturi of platinum and 1,308
diamonds with a combined total of 134 carats.
A piece of jewelry the Duchess of Windsor liked to brag to her
friends she had designed was actually the creation of Italian designer and duke,
Fulco di Verdura. Her boast got back to the designer, and when the Duchess brought
the piece in to be altered, he refused, informing her he only worked on his own
Amethyst symbolizes true love and is the traditional gift stone
for St. Valentine's Day. Because it also symbolized pure affection, the ancient
Romans considered it the only colored stone appropriate for mourning.
Gloria Swanson is sometimes credited with starting the fashion
for wearing colorful jewelry. The actress wore an Iribe-designed emerald, amethyst,
and gold necklace in the 1920 film "Affairs of Anatole."
Under the terms of a lawsuit settlement with Damiani International
Jewelers, Brad Pitt will design jewelry Jennifer Aniston will model in ads for
Damiani, in exchange for the jewelry maker's promise to stop selling copies of
the pair's wedding rings. The jeweler had been selling knockoffs for around $1,000
Savion Glover wears a necklace of hand-carved wooden beads his
grandfather made for him. He never takes it off.
The tradition of borrowing jewelry to wear to the Academy Awards
ceremony was started in 1944, by Jennifer Jones, who wore Harry Winston's jewelry
for the occasion. The arrangement has worked out very well for Harry Winston,
I'm sure, as the jeweler is still one of the biggest names on Oscar night!
Linda Porter made a habit of commissioning unique jewelled pieces
- jewelry, cigarette and vanity cases - to commemorate each of her husband Cole's
show openings. Over the years, she ordered more than 20 cases.
Faberge made only 49 of his fabulous gold and platinum eggs from
1885 to 1917. The eggs were Easter gifts from the Tsar to the Tsarina (and to
the Dowager Empress in later years), and each contained a surprise for the royal
family. Among the surprises were a ruby-eyed cuckoo which crowed and flapped its
feathered wings, a model of the Tsar's coronation coach, entire sets of miniature
paintings, a bouquet of Madonna lilies with rose diamond centers, and a tiny working
replica of the Trans-Siberian Railroad, complete with ruby headlight.
The 140.5 carat Regent Diamond was taken from the Louvre and hidden
behind a stone panel at the Château de Chambord during WWII, to protect
it from the Nazis.
Tradition holds that if you wear a sapphire on Fridays, you'll
be lucky in love.
The tradition of giving diamond engagement rings originated in
15th century Venice, where it was felt that since diamonds are the most enduring
substance in nature, an engagement made with them would lead to a marriage which
The word jewelry comes from the ancient French, "joaillerie",
meaning joy and gladness.
Platinum was introduced to jewelry in 1896 by Cartier.
Engagement rings were declared a necessary statement of intent
by Pope Nicholas I in 860 AD.
The famous Tiffany Yellow Diamond weighs 128.54 carats and has
90 facets. The rough weighed 287.42 carats upon its discovery in South Africa
in 1877 or '78. Also called the Canary Diamond, the stone has been on near continuous
display for the past 70 years and is so linked with the jeweler that when asked
by an overeager salesman what the salesman would get for selling the diamond,
Tiffany lore is that the head of the jewelry firm immediately replied, "Fired."
The largest diamond ever found was the Cullinan Diamond, discovered in South
Africa in 1905. It weighed approximately 1 and 1/3 pounds in the rough and when
cut for 5 stones, inadvertently yielded 9, including the Cullinan I, the Great
Star of Africa. The Great Star of Africa is, itself, the largest cut diamond in
existence, weighing 530.20 carats. The pear-shaped stone is set in the Imperial
Sceptor and is on permanent display in the Tower of London. Its sister stone,
the Cullinan II, weighs 317.4 carats and is set in the Imperial State Crown, also
housed in the Tower of London.
The British monarchy's Imperial State Crown stands 12.4 inches tall and weighs
over 2 pounds. In addition to the Cullinan II, it is set with over 3,000 precious
When Harry Winston donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution
in 1958, he sent the 45-1/2 carat stone to the museum in a plain brown wrapper
- by registered mail. The postage cost him $145 - $2.44 in postage stamps and
$142.56 to cover the cost of insuring the item for $,100,000,000.
The jewelry industry uses about 1,000 tons of gold per year.
Porphyrophobia is a morbid fear of the color purple, so amethyst
jewelry would be a really bad gift for someone who had it!