Rock and role

All that glitters isn't gold -- often it's diamonds -- especially in Tinseltown

"To Catch a Thief"

In a memorable scene from the 1955 Alfred Hitchcock classic, Grace Kelly's character, socialite Francie Stevens, seduces retired jewel thief John "The Cat" Robie, played by Cary Grant, with her womanly charms ... and glittering faux diamond necklace.

Richard Burton gives Liz Taylor a bushel of carats

Taylor's fifth husband, Richard Burton -- knowing her weaknesses -- bought her a 69-carat pear-shaped diamond (originally 244 carats before it was cut down), subsequently named the Taylor-Burton. Originally discovered in South Africa in 1966 and acquired by Harry Winston, Cartier later purchased the larger-than-life jewel at auction in 1969, selling it to Burton the next day. After the couple divorced, Taylor auctioned off the diamond, using the proceeds to build a hospital in Botswana.

"Breakfast at Tiffany's"

"Breakfast at Tiffany's"
Audrey Hepburn's Holly Golightly is the personification of longing as she stands, paper bag in hand, hypnotized by the diamonds displayed in Tiffany & Co.'s windows in the 1961 adaptation of Truman Capote's novella. Although her famous diamond-and-pearl multistrand necklace is faux onscreen, Hepburn wore the genuine Tiffany Yellow Diamond set in a diamond ribbon necklace in the film's publicity photos (becoming only the second person ever to wear the diamond). At 287 carats, the Tiffany Diamond is one of the largest yellow diamonds ever discovered. The stone was cut down to 128 carats and is on permanent display at the Fifth Avenue Tiffany's in Manhattan.

Halle Berry's fairy tale Oscar moment

In a real-life Cinderella moment, Halle Berry not only won the 2002 best actress Oscar for her role in "Monster's Ball," but she did so wearing the $3 million 5.54-carat Harry Winston Pumpkin Diamond. It's the largest fancy vivid orange diamond known in the world, and Berry donned it on her left pinkie finger.


In the 1997 blockbuster, Kate Winslet's character wears a large blue diamond around her neck called "The Heart of the Ocean." The fictional diamond is based on the famous Hope Diamond, but the real deal never traveled on the Titanic -- and the jewel is said to be cursed. Once owned by King Louis XIV of France, Harry Winston eventually donated it to the Smithsonian Institution, and it currently sits on display at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Jeweler Asprey & Garrard created a replica Heart of the Ocean necklace featuring a 170-carat heart-shaped sapphire and 30 carats of diamonds, worn by Celine Dion during the 1998 Oscar ceremony while singing the film's Academy Award-winning theme song, "My Heart Will Go On."

"Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"

"Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"
Marilyn Monroe's iconic diamond moment, purring the tune "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" in the 1953 film, has been imitated by Madonna, Beyonce and thousands of lesser-known lovers of luxury. No matter how unpretentious your predilections, there's something infectious about Monroe cloaked in body-hugging, hot pink satin, dripping in diamonds, draped with dashing men and telling you straight-out where her priorities lie. Ironically, most of the jewels worn in the movie (besides the 24-plus-carat Moon of Baroda canary yellow diamond) were fakes created by jewelry designer J.C.Joseff.

"Diamonds Are Forever"

Replete with a diamond-fetishized opening title sequence, this 1971 movie's theme song explains the pathology behind diamonds being embraced as a girl's best friend: "Diamonds are forever / They are all I need to please me / They can stimulate and tease me / They won't leave in the night / Unlike men, the diamonds linger." Look for Tiffany Case (played by Jill St. John), the film's appropriately named Bond beauty.

"Sex and the City: The Movie"

Mr. Big finally proposes to Carrie in 2008's big-screen epilogue to the lives of viewers' four favorite females from the Big Apple. But, in true clothes-loving "Sex and the City" fashion, Big proposes with a diamond-encrusted Manolo Blahnik shoe instead of a ring. Much like the prince fitting the glass slipper on Cinderella, "it became an engagement ring for Sarah Jessica's foot -- and an icon," says Manolo Blahnik USA president George Malkemus.

The "Pink Panther" engagement ring

Jennifer Lopez
The 1963 Peter Sellers starrer gets its name from a large pink diamond at the center of the plot that, when held up to the light, reveals the image of a pink panther inside. In 2002, Ben Affleck ignited a pink diamond craze when he proposed to Jennifer Lopez with a rare, custom-made $1.2 million 6.1-carat pinkdiamond solitaire engagement ring. Alas, the relationship wasn't destined to be in the pink, and the diamond found its way back to Harry Winston's.

Elizabeth Hurley's bedazzlingly big loss

During the 2001 Vanity Fair Oscar party at Morton's, Elizabeth Hurley lost a $750,000 diamond bracelet lent to her by Harry Winston (insert loud gasp here). Thank goodness she had a knight in shining armor -- in this case New York Observer columnist Frank DiGiacomo -- who found said bracelet amidst a sea of dancing stilettos on the restaurant floor and turned it in to security.

Sharon Stone minds the Gap

Whoopi Goldberg
Already known for her casual chic style -- made famous when she donned a black Gap t-shirt with a black Valentino skirt at the 1996 Oscars, two years later Stone wore a white Gap men's shirt and lavender Vera Wang skirt to the ceremony. But this time she further adorned herself with a 37-carat diamond dragonfly brooch by Fred Leighton pinned on her lower back.

Whoopi Goldberg's multimillion-dollar Oscar night

Whoopi Goldberg hosted the 1999 Oscars wearing a record setting $71 million worth of diamonds onstage, including a diamond-laden costume as Queen Elizabeth I of England honoring nominee "Shakespeare in Love" and a $15 million 107.18-carat Harry Winston diamond ring.