In movies, television, magazine covers, or on the red carpet there are people who dedicate their lives to curating final finishing touches that make an outfit - “the outfit” everyone is talking about. If they’re lucky the look gets photographed, starts a trend, and in some rare cases can even become a statement piece to help define a generation.
There's a reason our eyes are drawn to beautiful bling, because they're supposed to be. Sure there are a lot of great looks that can make an outfit pop, but there are very few that we remember for decades. These are the transformative final touches that mean everything stylistically. These are the iconic accessories that we still can't stop talking about. They become themes for outfits and sometimes reach the heights of accessories to complete a fan’s Halloween costume.
Jewelry is often called a statement piece for a reason. It gets people talking. Whether you're a regular Joe trying to tie a wardrobe together with a classic watch or giant pendant it represents the you that you're looking to project to the outside world. It’s a great way to make something simple, fantastic.
In Hollywood these iconic jewelry items can literally cost millions of dollars, whereas other times they are a last minute add on by wardrobe, sometimes found at a thrift or junk jewelry store. Sometimes the designer or costume consultant knows they have a masterpiece on their hands, and other times the item becomes a legend of pure dumb luck. Sometimes it’s the legendary person wearing the piece that brings its cache. These are Hollywood’s most famous and iconic pieces of jewelry, the stories behind them, and some insight towards their cultural impact!
15 The Carrie Necklace
Despite her penchant for expensive shoes, fancy cocktails, and the best that New York City has to offer, Sex in the City character Carrie Bradshaw has one piece of jewelry that means the most to her. The Carrie necklace is a constant throughout the series, and becomes a source of great stress when sex columnist Carrie Bradshaw loses it, even though she admits that it cost practically nothing. Carrie purchased this name necklace while she was shopping in the city with her BFFs, and it symbolizes her individuality. The series costume designer, Patricia Fields, first saw name plated necklaces worn by kids in her neighbourhood store and decided to show Sarah Jessica Parker, who loved the idea as a key accessory for Carrie. When talking about the necklace, and its increase in popularity because of the show Fields told InStyle magazine, "After it became what it became, I understood the draw, I think there’s a trend now toward smaller pieces, and the name necklace fits within that genre. Names are timeless. Every woman has one: young, old, short, or tall."
14 The Pen
The fashion and hype of the popular series Mad Men brought many people back to classic drinks and 1960s fashion at warp speed. While there are many items that are worthy of highlighting, especially the killer curves of all of the ladies of the show, the item of jewelry that tops many lists is the pretty yet practical pen pendant sported by the curvaceous Joan Holloway who handles all of the ins and outs of the ad agency. This piece is worn by Joan whenever she’s at the office, because like a girl scout, she’s always prepared, plus it doesn’t hurt that it also draws the eyes in to her legendary figure. The show’s costume designer, Janie Bryant picked up Joanie’s famous necklace at a flea market in Pasadena. After the launch of this show, Kate Spade released a modern version of the pen necklace and DIYers released online tutorials to help everyone who wanted one create their own workable accessory item. How often can a piece of jewelry be this practical?
13 Puddin Necklace
Even though crowds are leaning towards being disappointed in their reviews of the summer blockbuster movie Suicide Squad, there is absolutely no doubt that Margot Robbie totally killed it in her portrayal of bad and beautiful Harley Quinn. Everybody loves the once mild mannered psychiatrist who went to the other side of the rubber walled room in pursuit of her one true love, The Joker (naturally). One of Harley’s most famous expressions is her nickname for Mr. J, AKA “Puddin.” Her Puddin choker was the perfect final touch to her Suicide Squad look, and a reminder of the one who stole her heart, and her sanity. Anyone looking to bring a little Harley to their look can. This highly popular Halloween costume is trending and the costume and the coveted choker accessory is available at party shops everywhere, and looks great with blue dipped pigtails, bright red lipstick, fishnets, a crop top, and a baseball bat.
12 Madonna Rubber Bracelets
Travelling back in time you didn’t need to break the bank to coordinate your outfit to match your favourite pop star; you just needed access to a mall and a minimal amount of allowance. In the 1980s, Madonna’s signature style was one of the most copied looks around - she was everywhere. Madonna made layering of dozens of items of junk or costume a fashion must. Most notably would be her ability to single-handedly increase the sale of jelly bracelets by around a billion. Although she’d sometimes add in the occasional pop of white or colour to her bangles, black bracelets were boss in her books. In 1984, she made the thrift store look high fashion, inspiring an entire generation of adolescent super fans to rock the jelly bracelet. In a time known for excess, it makes sense the more bracelets you were able to slide over your wrist the better.
11 007 Watch
Great accessories aren’t just for the ladies. Men everywhere for generations have been looking for a little 007 in their everyday lives care of a notable wristwatch worn by the man everyone wants to be. Following the release of the James Bond movie Skyfall, there was a 45 percent increase in consumer interest in the watch worn by the spy himself, the OMEGA Seamaster watch. The 007 watch doesn’t remain popular just because of who’s wearing it, but has more to do with what the infamous spy represents: an idealized, lavish and exciting lifestyle. While some critics may complain that a real spy operative would try to blend in with a sleeker and smaller version of a timepiece, the eye can’t help but be drawn to this killer timepiece that will never go out of style, no matter what version of a watch Apple creates.
10 The Belly Ring
While jewelled bellies were popular on Treasure Trolls in the 1980s and 1990s, it was Ms. Britney Spears who made belly bling popular. There were buzzes about the belly ring in the early to mid-90s on the runways, first when Christy Turlington walked the runway baring her belly piercing in 1993. This was quickly followed up when supermodel Naomi Campbell took the piercing to the next level by pairing it with a chain belt, and this definitely started people talking about piercing their bellies. But it wasn’t until after Britney debuted her navel ring as a part of her bubble gum routine, and in turn young women everywhere cropped their tops, started a strict regimen of crunches and quickly followed the lead of the princess of pop. Britney made the belly ring the most sought after piercing of her generation, and made headlines quite recently for still being able to rock the navel piercing years later, even after having two children.
9 Princess Diana and Kate Middleton Engagement ring
When people think of royalty, the term “family jewels” comes to mind, and in terms of the Royal Family, family jewels bear a striking amount of family tradition. Lady Diana Spencer had people talking when she selected an engagement ring featuring a 12 carat oval blue Ceylon surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds. The selection of this ring was not a standard choice for a royal, since it wasn’t unique or even custom made. Some have said Diana selected it because it reminded her of her own mother’s engagement ring. When Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton in 2010, he presented her with the same ring (he’d traded mementos from Lady Di with his brother to ensure Kate would have the ring). Prince William has said how important the ring is to him, and was his way of ensuring that his mother “was there” on his wedding day. From fascinators to lovely dresses, women everywhere followed Princess Di’s classic sense of style and will continue to follow the lovely Kate.
8 Titanic Necklace
It’s the sparkling necklace that Kate Winslet wore, with nothing else, when her character Rose asked Leonardo DiCaprio (Jack) to “draw her like one of his French girls.” The blue diamond pays tribute to the famous and fictional Heart of the Ocean which was originally the property of Louis XVI , and then cut into the shape of a heart after it went missing following the French Revolution. Many compare the imagined story of this diamond to the Hope Diamond, which was never on the Titanic. The 15-carat blue diamond necklace was a show stopping memorable piece of jewelry displayed both on the set of the hit movie Titanic (although the film version was made with cubic zirconia and was only worth about $10,000). However a tribute replica, designed by Harry Winston, has the honour of being the most expensive item of jewellery ever worn by anyone at the Oscars. The interpretation of the Heart of the Ocean was worn by Gloria Stuart who portrayed the modern day “Rose” in the movie at the 1998 event and was valued at around $20 million.
7 The Mockingjay Pin
In The Hunger Games trilogy, no piece of jewelry becomes more symbolic than the simple, yet highly meaningful Mockingjay pin that Katniss Everdeen is gifted at the town market when trading in her hunting bounty. She gives it to her sister for good luck at the reaping, but it soon becomes the centrepiece of her rebellion spokesperson brand. The original pin in the film was crafted using sterling silver, and then plated with 22-carat gold to give it an antique like finish. The design of the Mockingjay holding an arrow is meant to demonstrate the story heroine’s unshakable spirit. The jewelry designer, Dana Schneider, was working with an already established design based on what was described in the books and wanted to remain true to reader’s visions and expectations. The original pin was carved by hand in wax casting. Six versions of the pin were created to ensure that it was delicate, yet functional and would be able to sustain the action of the film for both Jennifer Lawrence and her stunt double, without causing injury.
6 Lord of the Rings
In the world of Tolkien, the “One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them,one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.” is a central plot and catalyst bearing mystical and magical properties including invisibility. The ring was worn around Frodo Baggins neck, and protected to ensure the safety of everyone. Pop culture references to the ring continue to be popular in mainstream and nerd culture alike. There were several prototypes of the infamous and magical ring designed for Peter Jackson’s trilogy based on the books. A number of key costume and props from the series were placed for auction in 2013, including several versions of the legendary ring. There were nine, 18-carat gold prototypes of the mystical ring created for the films, with the last available one selling for approximately $82,000. Other, less valuable versions of the rings were also placed for sale at the auction for around $20,000 each.
5 The Isadora Necklace
When Kate Hudson’s character refers to diamonds as “frosting,” ad genius Ben Barry (played by Matthew McConaughey) knows he’s hit the jackpot on his diamond campaign. Diamonds really are a girl's (or chick flick's) best friend, and the Rom Con featured a blustering amount of bling with approximately $14,200,000 in “frosting” loaned for the film. During the film Ben Barry mentions how, “A woman in love wants diamonds.” The climax of the film is set at a gala event where fictional diamond company, DeLaur, loans guests jewels, including lead Andie who is given a show-stopping set of gems. The famous 84-carat yellow diamond pendant (that is called The Isadora Necklace in the film) worn by Andie (Hudson) to match her fabulous canary gown was a Harry Winston, and was appraised at $5,280,000. The matching pair of 4-carat yellow diamond earrings were valued at around $125,000.
4 Pretty Woman Necklace
Who doesn’t love the rags to riches story about the kind hearted prostitute Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) who finds love with one of her clients, an emotionally cut off Edward Lewis (Richard Gere)? In this Pygmalion adaptation, Vivian struggles to fit in as an upper class lady on Edward’s arm. For a film that was originally supposed to be called $3,000 (as that is how much a night with escort Vivian Ward cost) they certainly broke the bank in terms of costuming. Some of the most charming and memorable moments of the movie involve her transformation, and when Gere presents the transformed woman with a stunning ruby and diamond necklace. The necklace was custom designed for the film by French jeweller, Fred Joaillier, and is estimated to be worth $250,000. The necklace was so valuable that the jewelry store loaning the piece sent a private security guard to stand next to the director during filming to ensure it remained safe.
3 The Stolen Kardashian Family Jewels
Even though Kim Kardashian has taken a pointed pause from social media following her traumatic robbery just a short time ago, that hasn’t stopped anyone from talking about her online. Apparently 13 items of value were stolen when the reality social media starlet was robbed at gunpoint while in Paris. The claim’s total is approximately $5.6 million, with the majority of the cost being allocated to the $4 million engagement ring Kanye West had purchased for his Kim. When West proposed in 2013 he dazzled her with a cushion cut, 15-carat ring. Apparently West had gone to a lot of trouble to make sure the diamond was conflict free, yet remained the biggest, best stone available. The ring, designed by Lorraine Schwartz was certainly a one of a kind. We’re all wondering whether or not Kim will ever get her covet worthy 15carat back on her ring finger.
2 Breakfast at Tiffany’s
It may have been George Costanza on Seinfeld who wanted to be “ensconced in velvet”, but the person who was ensconced in jewels was surely Katherine Hepburn during her portrayal of Holly Golightly, the young New York City dwelling party girl who is in search of a well-off man to marry. In the opening scene of the film, Golightly eats a Danish while standing in front of Tiffany & Co., only she isn’t wearing Tiffany’s, she’s wearing a pearl and diamond necklace by Chanel and a diamond tiara. In publicity photos for the movie, she sports the Tiffany Yellow Diamond, one of the largest yellow diamonds ever discovered. Despite being thrilled about the publicity of the film (during filming at Tiffany’s), the store took every precaution to protect their merchandise. The store had 40 guards and staff on hand during filming to keep everything safe with the store opening on a Sunday for filming, which was unheard of at the time.
1 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Gentlemen may prefer blondes, but we can’t stop talking about Marilyn Monroe dripping in diamonds in this classic feature film. In her pink satin evening gown, even those who have never seen the film Gentlemen Prefer Blondes know about this historic outfit, and the dazzling and sparkling accessories worn with it. The most influential piece worn by the blonde beauty is easily the Moon of Baroda canary yellow diamond necklace. The pear-shaped rock weighed 25.95 carats when it was found and was cut into the pear shape we see in the film, tipping the scales at 24.05 carats. Marie Antoinette also wore the same necklace in the 18th century. It was eventually sold to Meyer Rosenbaum, who loaned it for use in the classic film. It was sold again in 1991 at a Christie’s New York auction and is currently a part of someone’s private collection.
The real Marilyn Monroe wasn’t a huge fan of expensive jewels. In fact all of the jewelry the actress owned was inexpensive costume jewelry with the exception of a diamond ring and pearl necklace given to her by Joe DiMaggio (her second husband).