Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Oscar Jewelry History continued

by Ann Covode

The trend to place jewelry on Oscar stars started to take shape in the 1990’s.

Nicole Kidman 1996In 1996, Nicole Kidman wore vintage Fred Leighton jewels on loan.  The brand agreed to lend a multi strand opal choker necklace. “We were so new to this, we didn’t even send out a press release [when Kidman wore it],” Selva says. Soon, however, the brand — and many others — learned how to turn the red carpet to its advantage. And it was not only the jewelers: the actresses did, too — stars such as Anne Hathaway and Paltrow are reportedly paid in the high-six-figures just to don the dazzling gems. “These women, they know their power,” says Fasel.

But even with new hoops for jewelers to jump through, Fasel says that it’s worth it, without a doubt, to get a gorgeous piece on the red carpet. “If you look at jewelry in a museum, it’s in a case, but jewelry is not complete unless it’s worn. You want to see it on, and see it out. To see the treasure that comes out at red-carpet time — it’s great scenery.”

The Cinderella fantasy ends there. Tricola says she leaves the salon empty-handed, and awaits the arrival of her dazzling selections, which usually come with their own VIP escort: “A bodyguard will come with the jewelry and stay with the jewelry.” But not always. In cases of cross-country travel, sometimes “it comes FedEx,” she says. (This is not totally unprecedented: Harry Winston infamously sent the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution via the US Postal Service in 1958.)

Either way, taking custody of a jewel that costs more than a small house can be “stressful.” As soon as the bling arrives — chaperoned or not — she triple-checks it against the inventory list that comes with it. Although the jewelers have insurance, the stylists do, too. Tricola says the stylist, not the movie star who might absentmindedly let a clasp slip, absorbs the risk: “Once I have a piece out on loan, it’s my responsibility.”

drinktomeEve found fire and passion in the watermelon tourmalines she used in this spectacular tourmaline necklace. She backed the tourmalines with white gold to show the natural cracks in these beautiful stones. She talks about the black tourmalines surrounding the piece as “siblings” who need to get along. She gets to know each piece with some being small and vulnerable next to strong and forceful brothers and sisters. The gold shoots out like a fire sending off crackles. The entire effect is a beautiful testament to Eve’s passion and talent. “Drink to me only with thine eyes” necklace features black tourmaline segments, with 14 karat gold elements. At it’s center are two fantastic watermelon tourmaline slices totaling 61.96 carats, set in 14 karat gold bezels. $4230

Bedazzling A-listers wasn’t always such a highly orchestrated affair. The first time a movie star borrowed jewels for the Oscars was back in 1944, when Harry Winston lent actress Jennifer Jones a diamond necklace at the behest of producer David O. Selznick. The stunt misfired: Jones opted for a high-collared, ruffle-necked dress that covered the bling.


The idea of a memorable Oscar “jewelry moment” — such as Lupita Nyong’o’s much-tweeted about Fred Leighton tiara from 2014 — was still decades away. Lupita Nyong’o took home her first Oscar in 2014 wearing a Fred Leighton headband (which got its own Twitter account) and earrings.




Eve said that she was “Starstruck” by the power of these Andesine Sunstones she found from Tibet. “They were very unusual in their fire and the way they play with the light” states Eve. With such power she wanted to suspend them with very little support as if they were “floating in air”. The Sunstone is visible from all sides just barely caught between diamond branches. “The stone was so intense that is needed counterbalance with the openness of air” explains Eve.


Fiery Andesine Sunstones can be seen in their best light in these fantastic hand-fabricated platinum earrings. Set in an eyeglass bezel (no metal in back of the stones) the light passes through the stones and shows them off in spectacular fashion. 2 pear-shaped diamonds sit atop the tower of 62 round diaamonds. $9530



HiddenDreamEve saw something meditative in this “Hidden Dream” sunstone ring. She envisioned a roman courtyard with millgrain arches letting the sunshine in. Perhaps the nuns were walking around and saying their daily prayers in this beautiful space? Magnificent Andesine sunstone ring is exquisitely handmade in platinum with unique details like millgrained edges on the soaring arched gallery. Fabulous rare gemstone ring has fifty-four sparkling diamonds totaling to highlight the sumptuous sunstone. $14,300

Jewelry historian Marion Fasel cites the 1970 awards as one of the turning points in award jewelry: Legendary diamond collector Elizabeth Taylor arrived at the show wearing a low-cut periwinkle gown that matched her eyes — and her very own 69.42-carat stone around her neck. She and husband Richard Burton had recently bought at it a highly publicized public auction for over a million dollars. “At the time it was the most expensive diamond in the world,” says Fasel, who ran InStyle’s jewelry coverage for nearly 19 years. “People see that image and think that there must be more moments like that in jewelry history, but there really aren’t,” partly because the pricy jewels were Taylor’s own. Going forward through the 1980s, extraordinary jewels at awards shows were still few and far between. Stars wore their own, more modest pieces, or even costume jewelry. And if they borrowed, it was usually because “there was a personal relationship [with the jeweler],” Fasel explains.

Barring unforseen circumstancesEve envisioned these sapphire earrings to sparkle for a director or an actress on awards night. She remembers having a dream where she was suddenly transported to the Oscar Ceremony where she was seated in the back watching an actress wearing these sapphire earrings accepting her Academy Award. The Blue sapphire briolets were cascading from bars of pavé diamonds. “Barring unforeseen circumstances” earrings feature 18 extra fine sapphire briolettes and 32 diamonds set in platinum. $8780

What did your favorite stars be wear this year?