The period from the 1920s to the 1960s is widely regarded as Hollywood's golden age. At the time, American film production companies like MGM, Paramount, and Warner Bros., among others, dominated motion pictures, controlling everything from casting to shooting to distribution. Each production studio relied heavily on a Hollywood star to drive box office success. As a result, the best actresses of all time, many of whom are Academy Award winners and classic film stars, have emerged.
Many consider the golden era to be the most influential era in society because many moviegoers were inspired by the fashion worn both on and off the screen. Many fashion designers today draw inspiration from famous starlets such as Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor, to name a few who influenced the simple yet elegant fashions of Old Hollywood.
We've chosen a few of our favourite old Hollywood icons to look at the glamorous jewellery they've worn on the big screen and from their personal collection.
Emerald Cut Engagement Ring
When Prince Rainier III proposed to Grace Kelly, he gifted her not one but two engagement rings by French Jewellery Maison Cartier. The first ring is a band designed with diamonds and rubies to represent the flag of her soon-to-be country Monaco. Her second ring is an impressive 10.84ct emerald cut diamond ring with baguettes set on a platinum band.
The Bains de Mer tiara and the Cartier Diamond Necklace
Other Cartier pieces owned by the princess are the Bains de Mer Tiara and a spectacular diamond necklace. The Diamond necklace was just another gift from her husband and is estimated to be between 58 and 64 carats as the tiara was a wedding gift from Société des Bains de Mer features three ruby and diamond elements and is customisable into brooches and necklace pendants.
Moon of Baroda
One of the most extraordinary pieces worn by Marilyn Monroe is the Moon of Baroda. When it was discovered near the city of Hyderabad between the 15th and 17th centuries, it weighed 25.95 carats. The Diamond’s fancy yellow colour and high clarity were transformed into a 24.04 carat antique pear shape.
Monroe was immediately drawn to the diamond when she first laid eyes on it. It was the largest diamond she had ever worn in her life. Monroe famously wore the Moon of Baroda in 1953 to promote the release of Howard Hawks' film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes while singing the film's signature song, “Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend”.
Diamond Eternity Ring
One piece of jewellery she was often seen wearing was her diamond eternity ring gifted to her by her baseball star husband Joe Dimaggio. The pair married on January 14, 1954, in San Francisco while spending the holidays with Joe’s family.
Marilyn was given a platinum diamond eternity band with 35 baguettes cut diamonds as a hopeful symbol of an enduring relationship, promising a life eternal that Marilyn was likely longing for, one of love, companionship, and partnership. 000000000
With her strong association with diamonds, we would have loved to see Marilyn Monroe wear this elegant vintage 18ct Gold & Diamond Necklet paired with this eye-catching 4.14ct diamond solitaire ring.
Pear Shape Diamond
One of the most famous pieces in her collection was a 69.42-carat pear-shaped diamond that her husband Richard Burton bought at auction for over a million dollars. Originally, the actress wore the diamond as a ring, but Taylor declared the impracticality of this claiming “even for me it was too big”. She then opted to have it mounted on a necklace by Cartier.
The actress Cartier ruby set was a gift from her third husband Mike Todd while on holiday with friends in the south of France. It is said Todd appeared with red leather jewellery boxes revealing several diamond and ruby pieces he’d purchased for his young wife at Cartier. Delighted by her gift and eager to try on her new jewellery, Taylor used the pool’s surface to help her see her reflection wearing the new pieces due to the lack of mirrors outside the villa.
Elizabeth Taylor's jewellery collection is no doubt filled with the most extravagant pieces. We would imagine she would have dazzling cocktail ring such as this sapphire & diamond dress ring or this Colombian emerald & diamond ring.
Tiffany & Co Enamel Bracelet
Audrey Hepburn is one of the few celebrities that has managed to stand the test of time as women today continue to draw fashion inspiration from her original look and style. Her most iconic role was in Truman Capote’s 1961 adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. A true Hollywood classic, loved and cherished by many.
A widely known fact about Hepburn is her profound love for pearls. The classic and understated style of Audrey Hepburn has become synonymous with the simple and elegant pearl. According to son Luca Dotti, Hepburn loved pearls because of their purity and the fact that they were made by nature.
Hepburn's most recognisable and most iconic look is from the opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Her character Holly Golightly is introduced wearing an elegant column dress designed by Hubert de Givenchy, a pair of satin elbow-length gloves, tortoiseshell Oliver Goldsmith sunglasses and layers upon layers of pearls which elegantly flowed down her back complimenting the low-cut design of her dress.
If you're looking to channel your inner Audrey Hepburn in an elegant yet subtle way, we would suggest this delicate pearl and diamond necklace. On the other end of the spectrum is this incredibly rare 1920s Tiffany & Co. diamond bracelet. Paired together creates the perfect combination of diamonds.
Whether you are a fan of the Old Hollywood aesthetic or are looking for a gift for someone who adores classic movie stars and glamour, these one-of-a-kind pieces of jewellery will make a stylish and affordable addition to any fashionista's collection.
Sources: JCK , Bonhams , Tatler , Veranda , The Adventurine , William Goldberg , Studio Blinder , Vogue , The Court Jeweller , Forbes