From 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' to 'Titanic': 10 Movies Showcasing Hollywood's Love Affair With Diamonds

9:15 AM 11/14/2016

by Farnoush Amiri

A look at how the jewels have been used in film over the decades.

Courtesy of Photofest

From Titanic to Breakfast at Tiffany's, diamonds have been an integral part of Hollywood storytelling for decades and have shaped some of the most iconic moments in movie history.

Whether it was Marilyn Monroe singing "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" while covered in extravagant jewels in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, or Richard Gere surprising Julia Roberts' character with a ruby and diamond necklace in Pretty Woman, diamonds have stolen the big-screen spotlight for years.

  • 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes'

    1953

    Twentieth Century Fox/Photofest

    In the 1953 classic Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Marilyn Monroe stars as a diamond-digger, looking to find a rich man to marry who can afford to support her gemstone habit. The rock on the necklace Monroe wears while she belts out her famous rendition of "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" is known as the Moon of Baroda. The 24-carat, pear-shaped diamond had some other famous owners before it was given to Monroe, including Marie Antoinette and Maria Theresa of Austria.  

  • 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'

    1961

    Courtesy of Paramount Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis

    The first scene of this 1961 film, based on Truman Capote's novella, shows a glamorous Holly Golightly standing in front of a Tiffany & Co. eating a Danish and sipping on a coffee, while casually rocking an opulent pearl and diamond necklace by Chanel. The intricate and extravagant piece, along with a complementary Tiffany diamante hair ornament, turned star Audrey Hepburn into a Hollywood fashion icon. 

  • 'The Pink Panther'

    1963

    United Artists/Photofest

    The 1963 film tells the story of Princess Dala, who as a child receives the "Pink Panther," the largest diamond in the world, as a gift from her father. The film also stars David Niven, who plays Sir Charles Lytton, a jewel thief known as "The Phantom," who colludes with his nephew to steal the coveted gem. The fictitious jewelry piece featured in the film was acknowledged in its time as the most famous pink diamond in Hollywood.

     

  • 'Pretty Woman'

    1990

    Buena Vista Pictures/Photofest

    1990's Pretty Woman contains one of the most famous scenes in Hollywood history, where Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) presents Julia Roberts' character, Vivian, with a blue velvet box containing a ruby and diamond wreath necklace, which she responds to with animated laughter after he nearly snaps the box closed on her fingers (director Garry Marshall has said that moment was originally meant as a practical joke on Roberts that would be included on a gag reel, but it was later decided to include it in the final version of the film). That necklace, custom-designed for the film by French jeweler Fred Joaillier, has an estimated value of $250,000. According to IMDb, while filming the opera scene, a security officer from the jewelry store, equipped with a gun, was intently standing behind Marshall. 

  • 'Blood and Wine'

    1996

    Twentieth Century Fox/Photofest

    In this 1996 thriller starring Jack Nicholson, Michael Caine and Jennifer Lopez, Nicholson plays a wealthy wine merchant who, finding himself knee-deep in debt, decides to steal a $1 million diamond necklace from one of his clients. The film's plot doesn't go well for Nicholson's character, but the necklace is one of the most extravagant pieces of jewelry ever shown in a Hollywood film.

  • 'Titanic'

    1997

    Twentieth Century Fox/Photofest

    In Titanic, Kate Winslet's character is gifted a necklace from her steel tycoon fiance (Billy Zane) featuring a blue, heart-shaped diamond. The story of the fictional stone, dubbed the "Heart of the Ocean," is that it originally belonged to King Louis XVI and was shaped into a heart following the French Revolution. After the film wrapped, designer Asprey & Garrard made a replica of the necklace shown in the blockbuster film, which was composed of a single 170-carat sapphire and 65 diamonds totaling 30 carats. The necklace was sold at a charity action for $2.2 million and loaned to Celine Dion for her performance of Titanic's theme song, "My Heart Will Go On," at the 1998 Academy Awards. 

  • 'Affair of the Necklace'

    2001

    Warner Bros./Photofest

    Hilary Swank stars in Affair of the Necklace, the story of an ornate diamond necklace that was originally commissioned by Louis XV as a gift to his mistress, Madame du Barry. Swank's character, Jeanne de Saint-Rémy de Valois, who was orphaned as a child, is determined to reclaim her royal title, which includes ownership of the elusive necklace, said to be worth $6.4 million. 

  • 'Moulin Rouge'

    2001

    Photofest

    The elusive Satine, played by Nicole Kidman, dons a custom-made necklace comprising 1,308 diamonds in the Baz Luhrmann film. The necklace, which was designed by Australian jeweler Stefano Canturi, was set to sell for $1 million once the film wrapped at a Christie's auction in New York but was taken off the market before it could go under the gavel. If purchased, the piece of jewelry would have likely been the most expensive necklace from a feature film ever used or sold — until How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days premiered in 2003.

  • 'How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days'

    2003

    Photofest

    "A woman in lust wants chocolates," says Michael Michele's character in the 2003 romantic comedy How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. "A woman in love wants diamonds." The film, which stars Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, also showcases Hudson's character rocking (and almost inadvertently stealing) an 84-carat yellow diamond pendant designed by Harry Winston, worth an appreciable $5.3 million. The necklace is said to be one the most expensive pieces of jewelry ever commissioned for a film.

     

  • 'Ocean's Thirteen'

    2007

    Warner Bros. Pictures/Photofest

    Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon and the rest of the gang get back together one last time for the ultimate heist, which also involves stealing a $250 million diamond necklace from a casino owner's wife. 

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