Hollywood’s “Golden Age” saw actresses adorned in the most lavish and stunning jewelry. Actresses like Elizabeth Taylor, Jean Harlow, and Greta Garbo became jewelry trendsetters known for their iconic styles. Lengthy pearl necklaces, cabochon jewelry, and extravagant diamonds are only a few of the pieces that grew in popularity due to their appearance on the big screen.
Eugene Joseff created and supplied over 90% of the jewelry worn in Hollywood movies. Here are 24 of his most prominent designs.
1. Bulgari Sapphire Sautoir
The Bulgari Sapphire Sautoir, known as Elizabeth Taylor’s Bulgari Sapphire Sautoir for September, is one of the famed actress’ most famous pieces . In Budapest in 1972, Elizabeth received the sapphire sautoir for her 40th birthday from her then-husband Richard Burton. This exceptional Bulgari piece offers sophisticated caliber-cut sapphires with four bullet-shaped diamonds framing the pendant. The centerpiece is a pave-set diamond octagonal pendant with a sugarloaf cabochon sapphire weighing 52.72 carats.
2. Amethyst Tassel Brooch
The Amethyst Tassel Brooch is a Russian gold plating jeweled tassel brooch. The development of the unique coppery gold matte finish dubbed the “Russian gold-plating” helped minimize the problem of over-reflectivity and glare when filming gold jewelry under studio lighting.
This vintage brooch contains four large, deep, amethyst teardrop rhinestones inside a finely detailed frame of leaves and flowers. The timeless piece is finished with a flowing bouquet of gold chain tassels dangling from the broom.
3. The Taylor-Burton Diamond
The 69.42 carat diamond in the “Taylor-Burton Diamond” was found in South Africa and cut into a pear shape. The diamond was initially set in a platinum ring with two smaller diamonds on each side. When Elizabeth Taylor bought it, she found the diamond too heavy to wear as a ring, so she commissioned Cartier to design a custom-fit necklace with the diamond. The design featured small pearl-shaped diamonds surrounding the incredible pearl-shaped white diamond.
4. Dangle Tassel Earrings
These Dangle Tassel Earrings offer a classic vintage look in a gold tone. It is centered by a rectangular red ruby gem measuring 5mm. It has two clear decorative rhinestones positioned at the top of the earring and the base of the ruby.
5. Carnival Elephant Necklace
This attention-grabbing “Carnival Elephant Necklace” is an excellent example of quirky and chic. It features three elephant pendants 2 inches in length and at its widest, 1 3/4 inches. Each elephant is encrusted with pearl drops and multi-colored rhinestones. The total length of the gold chain necklace is 20 inches.
6. La Peregrina Pearl Necklace
The pearl on the La Peregrina Pearl necklace is one of the most famous natural pearls in the world, and it is also believed to be one of the most symmetrical pearls ever found. This piece includes a beautiful suspending and detachable drop-shaped natural pearl pendant with a mine and rose-cut diamond and silver foliate bail. It has a two-strand necklace with natural pearls and cultured pearls, intersected by eight circular-cut diamond and cushion-cut ruby flame motif plaques mounted in platinum and gold. It has had several owners spanning almost 500 years, including some Spanish monarchs and, most recently, Elizabeth Taylor. Richard Burton gave her the necklace in 1969.
7. Calla Lily Necklace
The “Calla Lily Necklace” is expertly crafted in Russian gold. It features nine alternating large and small calla lily leaf and flower suspended pendants. The pendants are emphasized with an imitation prong-set amethyst, clear marquises, and Chaton diamante rhinestones. The calla lily necklace fastens via a fishhook-style clasp.
8. Grace Kelly “High Society” Earrings
Grace Kelly is a renowned symbol of timeless style and elegance. She is best known for her roles in “To Catch a Thief,” “Rear Window,” and “The Country Girl.” These exquisite gold-plated chandelier statement earrings were worn in a publicity still for “High Society” and certainly accentuate her classic beauty. The clip-on style earrings were created using Joseff’s signature Russian plating technique with imitation pearls.
9. Ornate Cherub & Pearl Cuff Bracelet
This eye-catching cuff bracelet offers distinctive sophistication. Its intricate Victorian-influenced design includes cherubs, floral metalwork, and pearls. This piece is Russian gold plated and finished with simulated half pearls and crystal rhinestones accents.
10. Gone With the Wind Necklace (Coral Florets)
This “Gone with the Wind” necklace is one of many elegant jewels featured in the movie. Vivien Leigh wore this particular necklace in one of the scenes. It is a gold-plated, tiered necklace with a Russian plating technique. It has three coral-colored grouped florets and a single suspended coral teardrop.
11. Crystal Gold Vintage and Teardrop Brooch
This striking 1940s Gold and Teardrop Crystal Brooch offers mesmerizing style and beauty. Its center is uniquely decorated with four large teardrop cut crystals with seemingly endless depth. It has an approximate width of 30mm and 40mm in length.
12. Bette Davis and Jane Russell Worn Brooch
Here’s a piece of jewelry that was used multiple times in Hollywood films. This beautiful simulated diamond chandelier style brooch was worn by Bette Davis and Jane Russell in the “All About Eve” and “His Kind of Woman,” movies respectively. Davis wore this brooch when she paused on the staircase and delivered the famous line: “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.” The brooch has two tiers of cascading imitation diamonds suspended from a single round brilliant stone.
13. Marilyn Monroe Worn Earrings
Another stunning piece of jewelry from Hollywood of old is this pair on intricate gold earrings. These super glam gold-plated clip-on earrings were worn by Marilyn Monroe during a photoshoot for the movie “Niagara” – one of the most iconic images of the actress. These pieces feature imitation pearls and filigree spheres accented with imitation diamonds.
14. Gone With the Wind Necklace (Amethyst Necklace)
Another well known piece of historical Hollywood jewelry is this famous necklace features in epic 1939 blockbuster “Gone with the Wind.” In one particular scene, Clark Gable is dining with Vivien Leigh, who is wearing this fine, multi-strand tiered necklace with imitated diamonds and amethyst. The sterling silver necklace features gold plating and clear cubic zirconia diamonds.
15. Cleopatra Cuff Bracelet
Elizabeth Taylor wears a gorgeous cuff bracelet in the iconic movie “Cleopatra.” This gold-plated bracelet features gilded snake detailing, making it one the more unique jewelry pieces to come out of Hollywood. Taylor teamed the look with a thin snake motif belt in the film.
16. Coiled Serpent Necklace, Square Jewel
The Coiled Serpent Necklace comprises a stunning jewel on the serpent’s head. The gemstone can be set in faux emerald, topaz, ruby, or sapphire. The necklace is 24 inches long and finished using a gold plating technique. The pendant is 2 inches wide and 3 inches long.
17. Marlene Dietrich Worn Brooch
This stunning silver-plated, imitation diamond and sapphire winged brooch, with bar pin closure, is one-of-a-kind. Marlene Dietrich wore it as a choker necklace and hair accessory in a publicity still to promote the 1939 movie “Destry Rides Again.” Joseff believed that a brooch was the most essential and versatile piece of jewelry a woman could own. The brooch also looks great as a pendant or headpiece.
18. Interlocking Bracelet
Rita Hayworth wore this exotic and finely detailed Interlocking bracelet in “Gilda” – the 1946 film which made her name. One of the most intricate jewelry designs featured by Hollywood, this eye-catching bracelet with interlocking links showcases the Russian plating technique for minimal reflection against the harsh lighting on film sets.
19. Lotus Blossom Clip with Amethyst Glass Stones
The “Lotus Blossom Clip with Amethyst Glass Stones” is a brooch of lotus blossoms. The two lotus blossoms; a large and smaller one, attach with the largest at the top. They are layered with subtle detail and made from Russian gold-plated metal with a semi-matte finish. An amethyst glass cabochon sits positioned at the center of both flowers.
20. Brass Bulldog Necklace
The “Brass Bulldog Necklace” is from the Art Deco era . It has five brass discs with raised bulldogs on each and a larger dog on the center disc. The discs attach to the necklace using a brass link chain.
21. Gold Plated Clear Crystal Brooch and Clip On Earrings
This large chic brooch and clip-on earring set feature leaves finished with the antique Russian gold plate and fabulous clear crystals from the 1950s. The brooch in this statement set measures 4.7 inches by 2.5 inches. The length of the earrings is 3 inches, and the largest earring crystal is 0.5 inches in diameter. The crystals offer a faceted open-back design that catches the light.
22. “That Hamilton Woman” Necklace
Another famous piece of jewelry that made it’s rounds in Hollywood is this exquisite necklace. In the 1941 movie “That Hamilton Woman,” Vivien Leigh wore this sparkling and sophisticated necklace. The silver necklace with antique finish and imitation diamonds, emeralds, and pearls was initially designed for Greta Garbo for her role in the 1936 movie “Camille.” However, Garbo refused to wear it as she found it uncomfortable under a heavy cloak.
23. Dolphin and Shell Pendant Necklace
The “Dolphin and Shell Pendant Necklace” is a lovely design staring a pearl nestled within a seashell, dangled from two mythos-style dolphins. Matching earrings accompany this necklace, part of a classic line modeled by Italian actress Pier Angeli. The necklace has a Russian gold-plating finish and measures approximately 19 inches long.
24. The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond
Elizabeth Taylor made herself known for many things, including being the owner of the largest private collection of jewels in America. On 16th December 2011, Taylor’s complete collection went up for auction, with the final sale price estimated at an astounding $156.8m. One of her engagement rings–the “Elizabeth Taylor Diamond” from her by then-finance Richard Burton, sold for $8.8m.
The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond, previously known as the “Krupp Diamond,” weighs 33.19 carats and is one of her most iconic pieces. The diamond features an Asscher-cut with a relatively large culet face and according to the Gemological Institute of America, the diamond is D color, with VS1 clarity.
Talk to a Jewelry Expert
Interested in finding a unique vintage piece that evokes the style of old Hollywood jewelry? For a great selection of rare vintage pieces, have look around our website or contact one of expert jewelers.