Jewelry has always been a big part of the Hollywood lifestyle, but in ten particular films, it was upgraded from wardrobe accessory to starring role. Seven necklaces, an earring, a pin, and a ring: each piece of jewelry on this list served an important purpose in the plots of these star-studded movies, which range from Oscar winners and blockbusters to cult classics. These pieces received substantial screen time and served important symbolic, superstitious, aesthetic and even magical purposes for the characters who wore them.
10. Girl with a Pearl Earring (one pearl earring)
The titular earring first existed as the focal centerpiece of Vermeer’s 17th century painting, a teardrop-shaped glimmer of stark white against the dark shadows and plain colors of a plainly dressed girl. In Girl with a Pearl Earring, an adaptation of a novel based on the painting, Scarlett Johansson plays Griet, the Girl in question.
In the film, the pearl earring is actually an important plot device. The earrings belong to Vermeer’s wife, who doesn’t know his muse is wearing them, and the artist proceeds to pierce Griet’s ear in a traumatic scene before she poses for the iconic piece. This leads her into the arms of a suitor, while the earrings and the painting lead Vermeer’s wife to banish her from their home. That pearl earring deserves its place in the title, after the steep price that so many characters paid because of it.
9. Casino Royale (Algerian Love Knot necklace)
Eva Green and Daniel Craig sizzled in this record-breaking blockbuster, which continued the James Bond franchise in style. As Vesper Lynd, Eva wore the Algerian Love Knot necklace in almost every scene, including a pivotal dinner conversation in which James Bond reflects on the necklace and its romantic significance. Sophie Harley designed the silver pendant, which resembles a Celtic knot and is plated in 18-carat gold, and it reappears in Bond’s hands in Quantum of Solace, a poignant reminder of Vesper and her bond with Bond.
8. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (mockingjay pin)
As Katniss Everdeen, the heroine from humble District 12, Jennifer Lawrence wears a pin that depicts a detailed mockingjay holding an arrow in its beak. The pin inspired fashion trends both within the movie, where it symbolizes victory and rebellion, and among real-life fans who don replicas. This brooch is woven throughout the film’s narrative, helping Katniss forge a bond with a fellow competitor in the introduction and eventually saving her life thanks to Cinna’s strategic placement in the dramatic finale.
7. Titanic (Heart of the Ocean necklace)
For all the impressive success that continues to follow them, some fans will always remember Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio as Rose and Jack, the doomed lovers from the historical epic Titanic. Rose famously posed in nothing but a necklace during the movie’s most iconic scene, in which Jack paints her wearing the giant, heart-shaped sapphire around her neck. It later served as the focal point of the poignant, heartbreaking last scene. The Heart of the Ocean has a real-life counterpart, which survivor Kate Phillips received aboard the ill-fated vessel from a married lover whose fate mirrored Jack’s.
6. The NeverEnding Story (AURYN medallion)
AURYN, also known as “The Glory” and “The Gem”, is a talisman that receives its mystical power from the Childlike Empress of Fantasia. It’s made up of gold and silver serpents, which represent dueling Fantasia and Reality and are entwined to form an Ouroboros, the ancient Greek symbol of rebirth and infinity. AURYN can literally make wishes come true for the wearer, but only if the Chidllike Empress allows it. This medallion even contains a mystical inner world, in which the film’s whole conclusion plays out as Atreyu and Bastian ultimately choose to return to reality.
5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Time Turner necklace)
Of all the jewelry on this list, this tiny, hourglass-shaped charm might be the most powerful. In the third installment of the mega-successful Harry Potter franchise, Emma Watson’s wardrobe included a spinning pendant known as the Time-Turner. Ever the overachiever, Hermione Granger received special permission to use this talisman to attend multiple Hogwarts classes simultaneously. Of course, the necklace becomes even more vital for the character when she ends up relying on its immense magical power in the film’s dramatic climax.
4. My Girl (mood ring)
Anna Chlumsky helped set an early-90s jewelry trend in this coming-of-age love story, thanks to a silver mood ring at the heart of its most emotional moments. Vada, a pre-teen tomboy who lives in a funeral home, loses her mood ring in the woods while playing with her best friend, played by Macauly Culkin. When he goes back to find the ring, the story takes a tragic turn, and Vada gets her ring back but not her friend. The ring even makes another appearance in the movie’s sequel, when a new boy pretends to lose it and realizes how much it still means to Vada.
3. Pretty Woman (ruby necklace)
An improvised moment became the most iconic scene in this star-making Pygmalion romance. Julia Roberts became a household name as Vivian, the call girl who gets swept off her feet by the handsome Richard Gere. When he presents her with a ruby necklace in the final stages of her glamorous transformation, Gere genuinely surprised Roberts by snapping the velvet box shut before she could touch it. This candid moment helped capture the indulgent but light-hearted spirit of the movie.
2. Lord of the Rings (Evenstar brooch)
As the half-Elven beauty Arwen, Liv Tyler wore a symbolic brooch on a silver chain. Evenstar, short for “evening star”, was Arwen’s nickname because she belonged to the last generation of High Elves. Arwen ultimately gave the pendant called Evenstar to her great love, Aragorn, and it symbolized their love until he dropped and shattered it in mistaken grief. Though Tolkien didn’t include it in the original books, the silver Evenstar brooch gave the cinematic version a tangible representation of the precious but fragile connection between these two characters.
1. Moulin Rouge! (diamond necklace)
As the velvet-voiced French courtesan Satine, Nicole Kidman paid homage to Marilyn Monroe with an elaborate, dazzling performance of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”. This tragic musical’s wardrobe and sets were draped in sparkles and jewels, but one particular necklace marked a turning point in the plot. Satine’s rich suitor fastens a diamond garland necklace around her neck in a poignant scene that recalls her diamond-studded musical number, and from then on, it’s a beautiful collar that tethers her to a life without passion or free will.
The necklace wasn’t just valuable as a plot point; “Satine”, as Stefano Canturi named his original creation, actually holds the Guinness World Record as the most expensive piece of jewelry made especially for a film. With more than 1300 diamonds and 134 carats, the garland necklace is styled after the intricate lacework and showy bodices of French aristocracy and royalty.