This Sunday’s Grammy Awards are sure to dazzle, but it’s hard to believe the 2013 red carpet could be outdone. Last year, the stars were shining bright like diamonds—literally!
From Alicia Keys’ slithering snake-pendant earrings of black agate and diamonds to Jennifer Lopez’s nearly $1-million worth of megawatt gems, it seemed like the bigger, the better when it came to Grammy jewels. Rihanna iced her sexy red silk custom-made Azzedine Alaïa gown with glittering Neil Lane diamonds. “We were deep in pre-production on her Diamonds World Tour,” says stylist Mel Ottenberg. “So styling RiRi’s look was nuts!”
Katy Perry, on the other end of the spectrum, embraced her Priscilla Presley inspiration with a vintage style 14kt gold Adeler ring set with an oval chalcedony. “There was so much embellishment around the neck of her mint green Gucci with its sexy keyhole cutout,” explains Perry’s stylist Johnny Wujek. “The ring was the perfect touch of gemstone to tie into the whole look. Plus, the mood-ring style of the design matched the 1960s vibe.”
To see more of our favorite off-the-charts Grammy baubles, check out the full gallery.
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1. Best Group: Rihanna
“We were deep in preproduction on her Diamonds World Tour, so styling RiRi’s look was nuts,” says stylist Mel Ottenberg. “But having an electric jolt of glamour during the madness was perfect.” Neil Lane diamonds glittered on her fingers and wrist: two snake charmers (one with a ruby head from the Neil Lane Archival Historical Collection), an East-West ring, a diamond-encrusted band, a marquise-shaped ring, and a twisted bejeweled bracelet. Ottenberg says the Neil Lane classics were “Rihanna-fied” by mixing the different styles together.
2. Best Ensemble Players: Alicia Keys
The singer knew that what sparkles on the red carpet may not play onstage. So, after arriving at the ceremony in stunning snake-pendant earrings of black agate and diamonds and a matching ring by Ofira, she changed her tune and slipped on a pave diamond necklace from David Yurman for the “Girl on Fire” performance with Maroon 5. “The pave-set gems had a great shine factor under the spotlight,” says her stylist Laura Jones. “The chain links provided the edge that’s true to Alicia’s style.”
3. Best Accompaniment: Taylor Swift
There’s a heartwarming story behind the singer’s exquisite 18kt gold, amethyst, and diamond bracelet. Shortly before the Grammys, Lorraine Schwartz did a jewelry design session with pediatric cancer patients at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C. “I took stones and wax and taught the kids how to lay out their ideas.” One young man, Jaimin, came up with the idea for the bracelet Swift eventually wore. “He gave us lots of direction,” says Schwartz. “He wanted the gems to look like they were floating.” The finishing touch: 10-carat brown diamond stud earrings.
4. Best Arrangement: Adele
The British singer’s stylist, Gaelle Paul, was on the hunt for rubies—and found them at Lorraine Schwartz.
The designer happily created these “playful chic” posies made up of 10 of the faceted stones encircling a 5-carat diamond.
5. Best Set: Beyoncé
After her now-iconic Superbowl gig the week before, the Grammys was practically a night off for Beyonce, who put on a pair of rock crystal, black onyx, and diamond bracelets by Lorraine Schwartz. “She liked the simplicity of two rather than a whole stack,” says the designer. A 14-carat diamond ring was also notable. “A portrait cut can look cool, like a piece of glass,” says Schwartz. “It’s there without being there.”
6. Justin Timberlake
For their “Suit amp Tie” duet, both JT and Jay-Z sported Tom Ford tuxedos, but did they also coordinate accessories? “Michael Nash (Timberlake’s stylist) and I thought they should go super-suited-and-booted,” says Jay-Z’s stylist June Ambrose. “Booted means decked out in Cartier.” An art deco–style Cartier Tank Louis extra-flat watch in white gold and diamonds was Timberlake’s timepiece of choice.
While Jay-Z picked a Cartier white gold Ballon Bleu extra-flat watch, he also went for a Cartier white gold pave diamond panther ring. “This ring made Mr. Carter feel distinguished and bossy without being garish,” says stylist June Ambrose.
8. Best Old School: Kelly Clarkson
With a sky blue color and a touch of history, Clarkson’s turquoise, diamond, sapphire, and silver pendant earrings from State Room Jewelry, a line by Sarin Minassian, hit a vintage note. “Kelly wanted to reference the retro feel of the music she did that evening,” says the “Stronger” singer’s stylist Steph Ashmore.
9. Best Throwback: Katy Perry
Leave it to Katy Perry to go glam with a wink. She was inspired by Elvis Presley’s wife, Priscilla. The “Wide Awake” singer selected only one jewel: a 14kt gold Adeler ring set with an oval chalcedony
10. Best Color Pop: Kelly Rowland
“The hit of green lit up her face and added dimension,” said Lorraine Schwartz about these black jade, emerald, and diamond earrings. “Wearing all white diamonds would have been overpowering.”
11. Best Mix: Jennifer Lopez
Add it up! The high-voltage combo Lopez wore was worth more than $900,000: three Norman Silverman tennis bracelets with some 82 carats of white and yellow diamonds; two Maiyet jewels from her own collection, including a gold-plated bangle with horn inlay; Silverman’s diamond eternity bands; and a wide gold band on her index finger.
12. Best Blues Riff: Miranda Lambert
“We knew we wanted jewelry to be the big statement moment,” recalls the country singer’s stylist Tiffany Gifford. So they fell in love with the ginormous Kimberly McDonald pendant earrings, which measure 3y inches long and 2 inches wide. The center geodes are surrounded by hundreds of white and colored diamonds as well as diamond slices and almost 23 carats of opals.