Sparkle Without the Risk

Diamonds are a girl's best one-night stand

Your dream has become a reality. You’ve finally been nominated for an Academy Award. Everything is just as you imagined it. You’ve got the fabulous dress, the coiffed hair, the hot date and, of course, the latest in Oscar accessories: two gun-toting bodyguards watching your every move.

No, Russell Crowe’s kidnappers haven’t turned their attention to you. Oscar night means glitz and glamour, but the sheer thought of losing a Harry Winston loaner is enough to make you think that maybe it’s not such an honor to be nominated. The Oscars might be about diamonds and other baubles, but in the end, Swarovsky crystals just might be a girl’s best friend.

Jewelry store owner Jennifer Kaufman, whose stylish Beverly Center shop is an essential standard for hot actresses and other fashionistas, agrees that while extravagant-looking jewels seem just right for the occasion, she quips, “Do you really want to go to the restroom with guards on you?”

Very often, actresses are even limited to wearing loaned pieces to the after-parties. “It’s a huge responsibility,” Kaufman explains, “(the jewelry owner’s) insurance goes up and the more exposure they have, the more expensive it is to insure it.”

Consequently, more of today’s actresses are turning to jewelry that doesn’t demand heavy insurance stipulations, and as a result, some find that they can actually look more glamorous.

Jewelry designer Tarina Tarantino, whose whimsical rings, bracelets and hair accessories have graced red-carpet actresses like Minnie Driver and Ashley Judd, agrees that just because you’re wearing a million dollars you might not look like it.

“Don’t get me wrong, the stuff that (expensive jewelry designer’s) make is incredible,” she says, “but you’re limited to the look that you can put together, and you’re also limited to the colors.”

Says Kaufman, “There’s a certain group of people who want stuff that’s highly creative, unusual, not typical jewelry.”

For actresses who still want to look like they’re wearing the real deal without the mention of a popular jeweler’s name, watch out. More so than other synthetic diamonds, Moisanite, a diamond that is grown in a laboratory, is virtually impossible to tell the difference from the real McCoy.

Tarantino, who uses Swarovsky crystals, which tend to scream fashionable rather than fake, agrees. “Swarovsky crystal can sparkle more than diamonds because they’re cut in a special and unique way. The luster is so incredible, and it’s much more eye-catching than diamonds.”

If the Golden Globes are any indication, Tarantino believes that jewelry should be a lot more interesting to look at come Oscar night. “Sarah Jessica Parker was wearing estate jewelry, a big cameo piece. Her wearing that necklace was at least a departure from the norm. Nicole Kidman, even though her necklace had diamonds, at least it was a velvet choker with a diamond pendant on it.”

One thing is for sure, for nominees it’s a question of wanting to look like everyone else, or shine and upstage the actress who ends up winning.

“Inevitably, something’s got to give,” Tarantino muses, “because it’s getting boring to see the same necklace passed around to 10 different people.”

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