In this weekly feature, InStyle’s jewelry and watch editor Marion Fasel shares the inside scoop on the treasures that are on her radar. Look for it every Thursday on What’s Right Now, and follow Fasel on Instagram (@marionfasel) to see more gems that rock her world.
Countless carats of diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires have sparkled on the red carpet since InStyle’s first issue 20 years ago. From the beginning we have reviewed it all with the stylists, stars, and jewelry designers. A look back in honor of the magazine’s big anniversary reveals—not too surprisingly—that the Oscars is the event where stars put on the biggest and brightest baubles. What was astonishing to recall was the variety of styles celebrities have worn over time and the number of jewelry trends launched at the Academy Awards.
We picked 20 of the best that stood out for their sparkle and originality—ranging from the $15 million Harry Winston necklace Charlize Theron wore this year (above, center) to the $38 Tarina Tarantino bracelet Cameron Diaz tossed on in 2002. See them all in our slideshow now!
1. Charlize Theron, 2014 Oscars
One of the most expensive jewels ever to hit the Oscar red carpet was the $15 million Harry Winston diamond necklace donned by Charlize Theron at the 2014 Oscars. The statuesque actress seemed to stand even taller in the 31-carat flawless square emerald cut diamond at the center of the dazzling diamond jewel. The one-of-a-kind piece, from Winston’s aptly named Incredibles Collection, made us want to coo like Marilyn Monroe in her famous rendition of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” “Talk to me Harry Winston, tell me all about it!”
2. Lupita Nyong'o, 2014 Oscars
The gorgeous and gracious Lupita Nyong’o met the unofficial dress code to jewel-up at the Oscars in a completely original way with custom made Fred Leighton pieces. Her delicate gold and diamond headband had all the regal elegance of a contemporary tiara. A little edginess was added to the look with gold and diamond earrings. “I created them in a classic crescent shape to frame her face,” says Leighton’s Rebecca Selva who designed the jewels. “The spikes added a freshness to the traditional silhouette. And the rose-cuts-a diamond shape with facets on the top of the gem-gave the earrings a delicate soft sparkle.”
3. Kerry Washington, 2014 Oscars
Pregnant at the 2014 Oscars, Washington glowed in around $1 million in diamonds from Jennifer Meyer. The pieces were minimal in-design keeping with Kerry’s style. She put one line-bracelet on each wrist and a bar line brooch along the neckline of her strapless gown and rings on her fingers. The debut diamond pieces from one of Hollywood’s favorite jewelry designer’s left us eager to see more.
4. Jennifer Lawrence, 2013 Oscars
Along with a major gown from Dior and dazzling diamond pendant earrings, the Best Actress Oscar winner chose a diamond chain necklace with over 74-carats of gems for the 2013 Oscars. The delicate looking jewel created a dramatic line draping down the actresses’ back. She chose the piece herself when she saw Chopard’s artistic director and co-president Caroline Scheufele wearing it. “She said that is what I am looking for,” recalls Scheufele. “I took it off and gave it to her to wear.”
5. Jennifer Garner, Oscars 2013
“We loaned half of our store to Jennifer,” jeweler Neil Lane joked after the 2013 Oscars. “She is always very easy to work with, but this was a big night and she wanted to look utterly gorgeous for her husband amp#91;Ben Affleck amp#93; in honor of his best picture nomination for Argo.” Lane dipped into his personal vintage archive and selected an elaborate 19th-century necklace with more than 80-carats of diamonds set in blackened silver. The romantic belle epoque jewel was a stunning match for Garner’s Gucci gown with its cascading train of tulle and organza ruffles. “She was Venus de Milo in that dress,” says Lane. “The jewelry had to be just as important.”
6. Natalie Portman, 2011 Oscars
The way Portman pinned her hair back with two gold and diamond clips from Tiffany showed off her rubelite, gold and diamond tassel earrings to perfection. The gorgeous jewels were a key part of her look. The grape-hued Rodartegown was created to fit her baby bump (the actress was pregnant at the time) and to coordinate with the jewels. “Kate and Laura added beading around the necklace to match the earrings’ color,” explained Portman’s stylist Kate Young.
7. Amy Adams, 2011 Oscars
The carved emeralds in the Cartier diamond jewels Amy Adams put on for the 2011 Oscars popped against her blue sequin body skimming gown by L’Wren Scott. The fact that she put a necklace over a high-neckline and that the million dollar bracelet featuring a 30.75-carat emerald the cover of a watch made it a completely original look.
8. Jennifer Hudson, 2011 Oscars
“There is nothing more glamorous than a stack of diamond bracelets,” says designer Neil Lane who added the sparkle to Jennifer Hudson’s ensemble at the 2011 Oscars. The pile up of on the super star’s wrist added totaled over 100-carats in diamonds from the jeweler’s archive collection and new creations. “For some people all those diamonds might have been too much but Jennifer carried it off,” remembers Lane.
9. Angelina Jolie, 2009 Oscars
“Angelina was very specific about wanting clean line and no-non-sense designs,” recalls Lorraine Schwartz about what the actress wanted to wear jewelry-wise for the 2009 Oscars. The 115-carat emerald pear shape pendant earrings may have technically been “no-nonsense” mounted simply to show-off the stones, but they were also sensational and ignited and emerald trend that is still going strong five years after Jolie wore the jewels.
10. Halle Berry, 2009 Oscars
The Oscar winning actress signature red carpet style is all about a perfect match of her clothes and jewelry. In 2009 Berry’s Marchessa dress seemed made to match her H. Stern jewelry. The embroidered gold-and-black-tulle confection echoed the twinkling shades in her 8.82-carat ivy-leaf earrings and 4-carat wraparound ivy leaf ring. Both were coated in champagne diamonds, naturally colored stones that range in hue from light yellow to cognac brown.
11. Keira Knightley, 2006 Oscars
The English actress broke every style rule in the book and made her most exceptional red carpet appearance at the Oscars in 2006. She put on a bib necklace by Bulgari-a masterpiece made in the 1960s from the Italian jeweler’s archive collection-and paired it with a one-shoulder gown in a color that did not even really match the gems in the jewel. “When she put the necklace everyone was speechless,” said her stylist Rachel Zoe. Meanwhile, we have been talking about it ever since.
12. Jennifer Aniston, 2006 Oscars
Anniston’s style always looks effortless on the red carpet. At the 2006 Oscars she maintained her easy-breezy look in breathtaking fashion tossing on a Bulgari diamond art deco necklace from the jeweler’s archive collection. The sensational piece sparkled with over 137-carats of diamonds.
13. Julia Roberts, 2004 Oscars
Since the late 1990s, Roberts has been wearing Me amp Ro jewelry on-screen (Eat, Pray, Love and The Mexican), on the red carpet and, well, everywhere. “Loving Me amp Ro is like loving chocolate—it’s a no-brainer,” the actress told InStyle in 2011. Among all the many Me amp Ro looks Roberts has sported her combination of a yellow sapphire and diamond necklace with rose-cut diamond pendant earrings and a fresh flower in her hair at the 2004 Oscars was our absolute favorite.
14. Julianne Moore, 2003 Oscars
At the Oscars in 2003 many stars chose chandelier earrings. Of all the dazzling danglers worn that evening Moore’s stood out. They were designed by Solange Azagury-Partridge for Boucheron-who was the creative director of the French firm at the time-as a triple tier of emeralds in round, briolette, and pear shape emeralds. Moore accentuated the emeralds with a green dress, clutch, and emerald ring.
15. Cameron Diaz, 2002 Oscars
There were few more original Oscar jewelry moments than in 2002 when Diaz slung a 19th century ruby and diamond Indian necklace from Fred Leighton around her waist as a belt and put a $38 carved Lucite bead bracelet from Tarina Tarantino she had bought off a friend’s wrist the night before on her wrist. “Cameron is a master,” said Fred Leighton at the time. “She makes everything look fresh.”
16. Cate Blanchett, 2000 Oscars
Long before Blanchett won her Best Actress Oscar , she became a style icon. At the Academy Awards in 2000, she created an unforgettable look with a antique Indian ceremonial armband and emerald and diamond hair ornaments from jewelry designer Cynthia Bach’s personal collection. “We put this together an hour before the ceremony,” recalls Bach of the assemblage of jewels that included a matching hand piece. “Cate was gutsy—she went for it in a big way.”
17. Gwyneth Paltrow, 2000 Oscars
The Oscar winning actress showed how to look casual and cool in 2000 with a slightly messy updo, a silver dress and a stunning ruby, platinum and diamond Cathy Waterman necklace that pulled the look together. “I design two collections a year; not in the spring and the fall, but one around my birthday and the other around the Oscars,” says the jewelry designer. When Paltrow went to Waterman for something for the ceremony, “She made a beeline right to this Oscar collection necklace,” remembers the jewelry designer.
18. Drew Barrymore, 1999 Oscars
A stunning Austrian-crystal and gold-plated orchid bracelet by Iradj Moini from the Domont boutique in Los Angeles was Barrymore’s original choice for the Oscar red carpet in 1999. “Drew collects things with butterflies and flowers,” explained Maria Domont at the time. So it was no surprise that she fell in love with and bought the orchid bracelet. It was a surprise, however, when she wore it to the Oscars. “I had no idea, but Drew has a strong sense of her own style,” explain the astonished boutique owner.
19. Nicole Kidman, 1997 Oscars
When Nicole Kidman stepped onto the Oscar red carpet in 1997 wearing a chartreuse gown by Dior with pendant earrings from Los Angeles based jeweler Martin Katz, she ignited a trend for chandelier earrings that lasted for years. “I matched Mogul Indian jewels from my estate collection with diamond studs on the top. The earrings paired wonderfully with Nicole’s gown.”