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Diamonds For Oscar

Ah, those jewels that adorn Hollywood royalty on Oscar night! Where do they come from, and how do they wind up on those famous necks, wrists, and ear lobes?

Well, one source is the Diamond Information Center, which acts as a liaison between the stars and the jewelers. Diamond expert Joan Parker, who has been with the information center for 25 years, visited The Saturday Early Show to explain the process and to show some of the Oscar diamonds.

For occasions like the Academy Awards, a star's stylist will approach the Diamond Information Center with a request for jewelry. Then, the company matches the stylist with a jeweler who shares his or her taste, or the company scouts a variety of stores and presents the stylist with several options.

As soon as nominations for the Academy Awards are announced, the information center is mobbed with requests.

Each piece a star chooses is delivered on the day of the awards. It is accompanied by security guards. (The number of guards depends on the value of the diamonds.) Generally, the pieces are returned the next day.

Gwyneth Paltrow in her Oscar necklace

But sometimes, the actresses (or the men in their lives) buy the jewels. When Gwyneth Paltrow won as Best Actress in 1999 (for Shakespeare in Love), her father bought her the necklace she was wearing. In 1995, on the way to the awards ceremony, Nicolas Cage told his wife that if he won Best Actor (for Leaving Las Vegas), he would buy her the diamonds she had on loan. He went home with an Oscar -- and she went home with new jewelry.

Designers make money from their loaners in other ways, too. For example, the necklace that Celine Dion wore in 1997 sold within 24 hours of her walking off stage.

Trends to look for this year:

  • Large necklaces have been popular the last couple of years. Parker showed three examples: a bib necklace, a drop necklace, and the $1.2 million necklace that Hilary Swank wore last year when she collected her Oscar for Boys Don't Cry. The necklace she wore was made of canary diamonds; colored diamonds have always been popular.
  • Chandelier earrings, or, as Parker calls them, "drop dead earrings." She showed the pair that Heather Locklear wore last year. She also has the chandelier earring/bracelet/ring set that Kate Hudson wore to the premiere of Almost Famous. Hudson will probably wear a similar set to the Academy Awards. Hudson's diamonds point to another trend: stacking small jeweled bracelets.
  • Finally, we may see several diamond brooches n stars this year. Parker showed the brooch that Jennifer Lopez wore to the Golden Globes, an event that is a good predictor of what will be hot at the Oscars.
Also getting into the game are fashion designers who are developing jewelry lines. Parker showed a necklace by Escada and one by Chanel. (Janet Jackson wore the Chanel piece at the American Music Awards.)

And what about the men at the Oscars? Are diamonds only a girl's best friend? Steve Martin, the show's host, has been sent a diamond bow-tie for consideration. Now whether he will wear it or not is another question.

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