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At the Oscars, All That Glittered Wasn't Just Gold

Larger-than-life diamonds--often on loan--sparkled on the throats, arms and ears of celebrities of every tier.

March 28, 2000|VALLI HERMAN-COHEN | TIMES SENIOR FASHION WRITER

It used to be that only Hollywood's biggest stars, such as Elizabeth Taylor or Marilyn Monroe, wore the most dazzling jewels on Oscar night.

But on Sunday, jewelers from around the world loaned bushels of the baubles to everyone from TV's "Entertainment Tonight" host Mary Hart to the parents of 11-year-old best supporting actor nominee Haley Joel Osment.

An estimated $100 million of diamond jewelry was loaned to celebrities at the Oscars. That included a total of 5,000 carats, reportedly the most ever seen at the Academy Awards, according to the New York-based Diamond Information Center, the marketing arm of De Beers, the world's largest diamond supplier.

White, colored and vintage diamonds were the key fashion statement, from the Asprey & Garrard 100-carat, $250,000 antique necklace on best actress Hilary Swank to Tyra Banks' $9-million, 81-carat fancy yellow diamond pendant from Harry Winston.

Swank's necklace was acquired only last week by Asprey & Garrard, said Edward Asprey, director and eighth-generation descendant of Britain's royal jeweler.

"It was made by us in 1890 for one of the daughters of Queen Victoria," he said. The piece breaks apart into brooches or a tiara.

Asprey worked with Swank's stylist, Jessica Paster, to select the jewels for her Randolph Duke dress.

"I have to say, being there and seeing it on her, it was what we call in London a no-brainer. It was lovely," Asprey said. By Monday morning, the jeweler was entertaining some serious offers for the piece, which "poses something of a dilemma for us," Asprey said. "We thought we might put it in our London museum. But as my great uncle once advised me, 'Remember, boy, we are here to sell things, not collect things.' "

Other notable Oscar jewels: Cate Blanchett's $150,000 Indian mogul gold ceremonial hand pieces by Cynthia Bach; Salma Hayek's $5-million pink oval diamond ring; Julianne Moore's $675,000 yellow and white diamond earrings from Harry Winston; Ashley Judd's $105,000, 6.5-carat yellow diamond ring from Martin Katz; and Charlize Theron's Art Deco diamond clips from Fred Leighton.

Valli Herman-Cohen can be reached at valli.herman-cohen@latimes.com.

After the Awards . . .

* From the academy's Governors Ball to trendy Westside restaurants, Oscar parties ruled. F12

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