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The big business of Hollywood red carpet bling

January 13, 2012 |  4:30 pm

It comes by Brink's truck and is hand-delivered by security guards. It is served up on silver platters and in lighted glass vitrines at chi-chi cocktail parties. The finest jewelry in the world is in Hollywood during the weeks leading up to the Golden Globes and Oscars. Because no matter how valuable a diamond may be, a photo of a celebrity wearing one on the red carpet is priceless.

Awards show season is the Super Bowl of celebrity placement. The world's biggest jewelry brands (Harry Winston, Cartier, Chopard, Tiffany & Co., Bulgari, Van Cleef & Arpels, Fred Leighton, Pomellato) are competing with hometown favorites (Neil Lane, Martin Katz, Loree Rodkin), brash newcomers (Kimberly McDonald, Stephen Webster, Solange Azagury-Partridge) and mass-market players (Kwiat, Le Vian) for the chance to bejewel Hollywood's beauties and dazzle armchair fashion fans watching around the globe.

One sparkling moment in the celebrity spotlight can be worth millions in advertising for a jewelry brand. The styles celebrities choose to wear set trends that trickle all the way down to the mall's fast-fashion copycats.

That image of a celebrity wearing drop earrings or a dramatic necklace and all the many ways it is shown and commented on in the weeks after the awards shows, "there is no way to quantify the value," says Victoria Gomelsky, editor of JCK magazine, a trade publication for retail jewelers. The Tiffany tassel earrings worn by Natalie Portman at last year's Academy Awards had "an enormous repercussion on the market." Jewelry worn in the hair is another trend that was sparked by celebrities wearing brooches and bracelets in their awards night 'dos. And Le Vian successfully changed the perception of brown diamonds by renaming them "chocolate diamonds" and lending them to Halle Berry and other celebrities to wear on the red carpet.

Check out my story about the big business of bling on the awards show red carpet.


Critics Choice Awards: Red carpet fashion rundown 

People's Choice Awards: Best and worst dressed

-- Booth Moore

Photo at left: Actress Eva Mendes, wearing a Van Cleef & Arpels necklace, at the 2009 Golden Globe Awards; credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images. Middle photo: Beyonce Knowles, in earrings by Lorraine Schwartz, at the 2005 Academy Awards; credit: Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times. Photo at right: Actress Julianne Moore, in a Bulgari choker, at the 2011 Golden Globes; credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Image