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Sparkling Stars: Exploring Jewellery in Pop Culture

Have you ever noticed how jewellery always seems to find its way into the limelight of pop culture? Whether it's those dazzling diamonds draped on Hollywood's elite at the Oscars or those standout pieces stealing scenes in our favourite blockbuster films, jewellery is everywhere.  It's more than just an accessory—at times, it's a whole character, telling stories and shaping identities in movies, TV shows, and the celebrity scene.

So, if you're curious about how jewellery struts its stuff in pop culture and how it sets the trends, then you're in luck! We're about to take a deep dive into its world—exploring how it dazzles, sparkles, and leaves its mark on the fashion scene.

The Silver Screen's Shining Stars

Audrey Hepburn in a multiple string pearl necklace in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's
Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's. Image: IMDb

Movies have undeniably left a lasting impression on our perception of jewellery, often elevating certain pieces to iconic status alongside beloved characters. Think of Audrey Hepburn's portrayal of Holly Golightly in "Breakfast at Tiffany's." That scene with her adorned in a classic pearl necklace while gazing into the Tiffany & Co. window on Fifth Avenue is in cinematic history. Hepburn's refined portrayal heightened the allure of pearl necklaces and solidified them as symbols of sophistication and timeless elegance.

Then, there's Marilyn Monroe's unforgettable performance as Lorelei Lee in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes." Her rendition of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," dripping in diamonds and draped in glamour, became an instant classic. The opulent diamond necklace she wore in the film epitomised luxury and became a hallmark of Monroe's glamorous persona.

Marilyn Monroe, hands raised above her head in a pink dress and draped in diamond jewellery
Marilyn Monroe. Image: IMDb

Beyond the silver screen, these cinematic moments have had a tangible impact on real-world fashion trends. Following "Breakfast at Tiffany's," pearl necklaces experienced a surge in demand, further establishing Tiffany & Co.'s reputation as a purveyor of luxury.

Even in contemporary culture, the influence of these iconic movie scenes persists. Case in point: Ryan Gosling's homage to Monroe's performance at the 2024 Oscars with his rendition of "Just Ken." It serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring legacy of classic Hollywood glamour and its ongoing influence on our collective imagination.

TV's Glittering Gems

Carrie Bradshaw wearing a name plate necklace layered with other jewellery
The Carrie necklace was an inspiration for many nameplate accessories. Image IMDb

Television has significantly influenced the jewellery landscape, with cherished characters often becoming synonymous with specific pieces that transcend mere adornment to become enduring icons of style. Consider, for instance, the indelible mark left by Carrie Bradshaw's iconic nameplate necklace in "Sex and the City" and the unforgettable engagement ring presented to her by Big.

Round black diamond with claw setting, and pave diamonds
Black Diamond Ring designed by Itay Malkin

The poignant moment when Carrie's nameplate necklace broke in Paris was a symbolic turning point in the series, reflecting a rupture in her relationship with 'The Russian'. Similarly, the introduction of the striking 5-carat black diamond engagement ring signalled a departure from conventionality, igniting a trend for non-traditional engagement rings and fostering a surge in popularity for black diamonds among fans and fashion enthusiasts alike.

In "Mad Men," Christina Hendricks' portrayal of Joan Holloway captivated audiences with her confident demeanour and glamorous retro style. One standout piece that became synonymous with Joan's character was her pen necklace—a practical yet stylish accessory she often paired with brooches and other period-appropriate jewellery. These accessories not only complemented the characters' personalities but also exerted a palpable influence on real-world fashion trends, inspiring women worldwide to emulate the glamorous styles of their favourite characters.

Christina Hendrick, Joan Holloway wearing a pen necklace and brooch on set
Mad Men star Christina Hendrick. Image IMDb


The Influence of Celebrity Culture on Engagement Rings

Princess Diana and Prince Charles announce their engagement
The ring worn by Princess Diana sparked controversy due to its design being a catalogue item from Gerrards. Image: Getty

Princess Kate wearing a sapphire and diamond engagement ring
12-carat oval Ceylon sapphire set in 18ct white gold with 14 surrounding diamonds. Image: Getty

Celebrities have long been revered for influencing engagement ring selection. A quintessential example of this phenomenon is the engagement ring famously worn by Princess Diana and later by Kate Middleton. This ring featured a striking sapphire encircled by diamonds, prompting the "Kate Middleton effect”. It sparked a notable surge in demand for sapphire engagement rings, cementing the gemstone's reputation as a symbol of royalty and enduring romance.

Emerald cut diamond

When it was time for Jay Z to “put a ring on it,” he went with an 18ct flawless emerald-cut diamond, estimated to be worth $5 million. This made it the world's third most expensive celebrity engagement ring (only Elizabeth Taylor and Mariah Carey topped it). Beyoncé's emerald-cut diamond for her engagement ring contributed to increased interest in this diamond shape and a move beyond the ever-popular round brilliant cut.  

Iconic Pieces and Fashion Trends

The resurgence of vintage-inspired jewellery, characterised by ornate brooches and cameos, owes its popularity to period dramas such as "Downton Abbey" and "The Crown."

Chloe Sevigny in a white dress with large vintage earrings and brooch
Chloe Sevigny in vintage brooch and earrings. Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez

Similarly, the allure of the mob wife aesthetic has permeated various media forms, from movies to television shows and beyond. This aesthetic, recently seen on Blake Lively at the 2024 Superbowl, embodies a lifestyle of luxury, characterised by statement earrings and layered necklaces. Beyond mere decorations, “more is more” symbolises wealth and status.

Blake Lively wearing a red Adidas tracksuit and layered jewellery
Blake Lively at the 2024 Super Bowl. Photo: Instagram

Looking to the Future

With the proliferation of social media and digital platforms, celebrities and influencers have more opportunities to showcase their unique style and influence the masses regarding jewellery choices. Whether it is a delicate pendant worn by a beloved character or a bold statement piece seen on the red carpet, jewellery will always hold a special place in our collective imagination.

So, which pop culture moment are you planning to embrace?

1 Comment

If I could I’d go to Tiffany’s and select the ring that Patrick Dempsey was going to give me lol

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