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Famous Jewelry In The Movies, Vol. 6: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Famous Jewelry In The Movies, Vol. 6: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Photo credit: Twentieth Century Fox
 

Famous Jewelry In The Movies, Vol. 6: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

 
You may or may not believe this, but we have yet to ever watch Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. We know, we know. It’s almost criminal. But it’s on our bucket list to watch this fall. That said, we ARE very familiar with the jewelry in the movie. Who doesn’t recognize Marilyn Monroe in her pink strapless dress dripping in jewels, as imitated by Madonna in her music video Material Girl, after all?
 
 
Famous Jewelry In The Movies, Vol. 6: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Photo credit: Twentieth Century Fox

This movie may be the movie that has had the most impact on the jewelry industry of any yet. Yes, Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a close second, but from what we can tell, GPB was chocked full of sparkle power. How could it be anything but when you have Marilyn Monroe uttering phrases like, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” and “Talk to me, Harry Winston, tell me about it,” among others? It’s said that diamonds weren’t necessarily equated as a must for an engagement ring until 1) this movie came out and 2) DeBeers’ advertising agency rep, Frances Gerety, with N. W. Ayer out of Philadelphia, coined the phrase, “A diamond is forever,” in a morning strategy meeting in 1947.

 
Famous Jewelry In The Movies, Vol. 6: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Photo credit: Twentieth Century Fox

Ironically, at first, the phrase was poo-pooed by not only all of the men in the men in the room (almost all of the folks in the room were men) but also by Gerety herself. DeBeers had hired the agency in 1938 to make Americans fall in love with the idea of diamond engagement rings. It worked, albeit almost 10 years down the road. And the phrase is still as powerful today, seventy years later, as it was back then.

 
Famous Jewelry In The Movies, Vol. 6: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Photo credit: Twentieth Century Fox

But on to what we’re really here for – to learn about the jewels in the film. For starters, as Marilyn is dancing around in her pink satin strapless gown, with men literally falling at her feet, she’s wearing one heck of a necklace (actually, she’s wearing a couple but there’s one that’s truly notable) – possibly the oldest piece of fine jewelry ever worn in a movie: The Moon of Baroda is a 24.04ct pear-shaped, yellow, canary diamond necklace, with an interesting story of its own, one that stretches for centuries before landing in Hollywood. 

 
Famous Jewelry In The Movies, Vol. 6: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
It was the property of the Maharajah of Baroda, India for more than 500 years. Fast forward to the 18
th century when it adorned Empress Maria Theresa of Austria’s neck (side note: the center stone in WendyKate’s engagement ring once belonged to Maria Theresa’s daughter) and was even worn by Marie Antoinette. Sometime after Marie no longer had a need for necklaces, it was stolen and then returned to Baroda, where it remained for another 200 years, until it was purchased in 1943 by Meyer Rosenbaum, president of the Meyer Jewelry Company of Detroit and then loaned in 1953 to the studio for the movie. It was later auctioned off by Christie’s in 1991 to an undisclosed bidder. It surfaced again briefly in 2009 for an exhibition and soon after yet again went underground. 
 
Famous Jewelry In The Movies, Vol. 6: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Photo credit: Twentieth Century Fox

Most of the rest of the jewels in the movie, while appearing to be vintage (by today’s standards) and real, were in fact costume, but quite lovely. If only we knew where they were today, along with that amazing 24ct pear. We’ve posted some of the various scenes (photo credit: Twentieth Century Fox) that co-stared lots of sparkly pieces. Which scene is your favorite? 

 
Famous Jewelry In The Movies, Vol. 6: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Photo credit: Twentieth Century Fox

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