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DIAMONDS IN MOVIES

DIAMONDS ON THE SILVER SCREEN

 

It’s not only on Hollywood’s red carpet, diamonds frequently find their way into movies as well, sometimes as props, but frequently as the subject of the plot. Certain of the diamonds and jewelry pieces achieve legendary status, and sometimes are more celebrated than the movies themselves.

The following are four of the most famous diamond-enhanced movies.

BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (1961)

Contrary to popular opinion, Audrey Hepburn’s character, Holly Golightly, never actually wore the 128.54-carat canary diamond necklace designed for the famous New York jeweler by Jean Schlumberger, in Blake Edward’s classic movie Tiffany Diamond in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. But she did wear it in a publicity shot advertising the film, and the jewel is shown in the movie in a jewelry case, when Hepburn filmed visiting the store with her neighbor, who is played by George Peppard.

In fact, Hepburn did not wear any Tiffany jewelry, but her  portrayal of Holly Golightly in the wildly successful film transformed the landmark store into must-see tourist attraction for visitors to New York.

The Tiffany Yellow was discovered in South Africa in 1877 at the famed Kimberley Mine, and later  purchased by Charles Tiffany, the founder of Tiffany & Co., for $18,000.

Only two women have ever wore the diamond necklace. The one, of course, was Audrey Hepburn, during the publicity shoot for Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The other woman was Mrs. Sheldon Whitehouse, who had the honor at at the 1957 Tiffany Ball in Newport, Rhode Island.

THE PINK PANTHER (1963)

Another masterpiece by Blake Edwards, the 1963 movie was the first in series of movies featuring the bumbling French detective, Inspector Jacques Clouseau, played orginally by the British comedian Peter Sellers. Its soundtrack also featured the iconic Pink Panther Theme by  Henry Mancini, which in 2001, won a Grammy Hall of Fame Award, and in 2005 was listed at number 20 on the 100 Years of Film Scores list by the American Film Institute.

The movie tells the story of Princess Dala, who as a child receives the “Pink Panther,” the largest diamond in the world, as a gift from her father. David Niven, who plays Sir Charles Lytton, a jewel thief known as “The Phantom,” steals the diamond, and it is gthen up to Clouseau to find the villain and the missing gemstone.

While it was acknowledged in its time as the most famous pink diamond in Hollywood, the Pink Panther never actually existed. It simply was a figment of movie magic.

PRETTY WOMAN (1990)

One of the most famous scenes in Gary Marshall’s hit romantic comedy Pretty Woman was never supposed to appear, but actually was a practical joke intended for the gag reel. In it, Richard’s Gere’s character, Edward Lewis , presents Julia Roberts’ character, Vivian, with a blue velvet box containing a ruby and diamond wreath necklace.  She responds with laughter, when box containing the jewelry snaps closed on her fingers.

Marshall said that when they later viewed the daily rushes, Roberts’ spontaneous reaction was so charming that it was decided  to include it in the final version of the film.

However, Ms. Robert’s laughter was not the only thing that was real. The diamond and jewelry  necklace had been custom-designed for the film by French jeweler Fred Joaillier, and at the time had an estimated value of $250,000. According to Hollywood legend, during the filming of the opera scene where Vivian wears the necklace, an armed security officer stood all the time behind the director.

HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN 10 DAYS (2003)

The movie that has the distinction of featuring the most expensive piece of jewelry ever commissioned for a Hollywood production was the romantic comedy How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, directed by Donald Petrie, starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey. It tells of Andie Anderson, a journalist played by Ms. Hudson, who decides to write an article about she begins dating a man, but eventually drives him away using only the “classic mistakes women make.”

The romantic interest is advertising executive Ben Barry, played by Mr. McConaughey, who is putting together a pitch for a new diamond campaign. He has bet his boss  that he could make any woman fall in love with him if he wanted to. His co-workers,  played by Michael Michele and Shalom Harlow, who are aware of Andie’s new assignment, set Ben up to have him pick Andie as the girl to test his theory on.

The commissioned piece of jewelry was an 84-carat yellow diamond pendant designed by Harry Winston, which reportedly was worth $5.3 million, which Ms. Hudson’s character almost steals inadvertently.

“A woman in lust wants chocolates; a woman in love wants diamonds ” says Michael Michele’s character in the movie, in a line that never quite achieved the same legendary status a “diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”