Jewellery is escapism. The more outlandish and evocative it is, the more we are whisked away to a world of opulence. Celebrities are often tasked with carrying this mantle, guided by stylists who want them to avoid the worst-dressed list without descending into boring territory. Unfortunately, in 2022, there were fewer memorable celebrity jewellery moments than I would have liked! Of course, many looked simply stunning in diamond-set chokers, coloured gemstone drop earrings and elegant cocktail rings… but where was the big, bold, and beautiful drama?!
Perhaps it is because we were spoiled last year. Some innovative examples of celebrity dressing in 2021 gave jewellery a starring role. However, enough of my complaining! Here is a selection of some of the best celebrity jewellery looks of 2022, including Lady Gaga, Blake Lively, Jodie Turner-Smith and many more who dare to dramatise with gems.
The Year of Bulgari
Actress Zendaya hasn't put a pavé diamond out of place on the red carpet this year. She kicked off her streak at the 2022 Emmy Awards wearing a Bulgari High Jewellery necklace with a 4.45-carat oval-shaped diamond. Then, at the Vanity Fair Oscars party following the 94th Academy Awards in March 2022, she paired a sleek suit with a Bulgari lapel brooch that put most of the gentlemen to shame. You may know that Zendaya has been a Bulgari ambassador since 2020. More recently, the brand released a slew of new promotional images featuring the star, especially for its Eden The Garden of Wonders High Jewellery Collection.
Another famous face in this campaign is Anne Hathaway, who was named a Bulgari ambassador in May 2022. At this year's Cannes Film Festival, she wore the Mediterranean Reverie necklace from the Eden The Garden of Wonders collection with a 107.15-carat cushion-cut Sri Lankan sapphire, surrounded by baguette-cut sapphires and diamonds. It was paired with an 18.12-carat oval-shaped sapphire ring, the Octagonal Wonder, from the same collection.
Julianne Moore is another famous actress who wowed in Bulgari at the Cannes Film Festival this year. She wore the Tribute to Paris necklace, also from the Garden of Wonders collection, which is said to be a 1960s-inspired homage to the cities of Rome and Paris. It's set with a 35.53-carat oval-shaped Colombian emerald cabochon, surrounded by six carats of pear-shaped diamonds, buff top emeralds, and plenty more fancy-cut and pavé-set stones. If you look closely, the piece resembles the shape of the Eifel Tower.
Jewellery Icon: Lady Gaga
I suspect that wearing the 128.54-carat Tiffany Diamond to the 2019 Oscars gave singer and actress Lady Gaga a taste for high jewels. She continued her relationship with Tiffany & Co. in 2022 by wearing a selection of beautiful necklaces from the New York jeweller, including the Schlumberger for Tiffany Flowers and Leaves necklace at the 2022 SAG Awards. Just a small history note: French-born Jean Schlumberger is one of the most famous jewellery designers of the 20th century. He started working at Tiffany & Co. in 1956 and was given his own salon to produce in his inimitable way. Today, the brand reproduces and reinvents his iconic designs as part of its Blue Book High Jewellery collections. Now, back to Lady Gaga! At this year's Grammy Awards, she wore a Schlumberger for Tiffany Potager Leaves necklace with morganites and diamonds from the 2022 Blue Book offer. She also wore a Tiffany emerald and diamond suite to the BAFTAs in April 2022.
Jewellery Icon: Jodie Turner-Smith
I'd also like to spotlight actress Jodie Turner-Smith for her impeccable style over the last 12 months. She's rarely not in a brilliantly bright colour palette, which lends itself well to Gucci's Hortus Deliciarum High Jewellery collection but also pieces by Bulgari. At the Met Gala 2022, she wore a suite of Gucci jewels, including a pair of diamond and pink sapphire earrings and a selection of big cat cuff bracelets and rings in rubies and diamonds. At the 2022 Critics Choice Awards, she put a Bulgari High Jewellery necklace (with more than 100 carats of emeralds and diamonds) in her hair and added more Serpenti bracelets and earrings to finish the look. There's something about the way she clashes and combines colours that is admirable, whether you appreciate the finished results or not.
Best of the Rest
Actress Julia Roberts wowed at the Cannes Film Festival in a Chopard necklace, set with a central yellow diamond of more than 100 carats. Aside from the enormity of the stone, the actual necklace is relatively demure and minimalistic. That's why it looked so sublime with a tailored black tuxedo jumpsuit! Sometimes the combination of the outfit and the jewellery on the red carpet just works. Let's also praise Brazilian model Isabeli Fontana who wore two remarkable brooches by Elsa Jin – the Life 2022 and the Life 2021 brooch - to the Cannes Film Festival and Venice Film Festival, respectively. The former is set with a 71.93-carat emerald and diamonds, and both were placed strategically around the shoulder and neck to make a statement.
Cannes is proving to be a place where high jewellery is previewed, even before it is formally unveiled to the press. When writing about a spectacular collar necklace worn by Lebanese fashion blogger Nour Arida, we assumed it was a new piece by Boucheron. Lo and behold, we later saw it presented as part of the Sand Woman suite in the Ailleurs High Jewellery collection. It's called the Rotin Diamant (diamond rattan) necklace and is crafted from plant-based rattan, gold and diamonds. Actor Sami Outalbali also wore a Boucheron piece – the Volcano Man octopus ear cuff – from the same collection with 443 diamonds and 178 mother-of-pearl pastilles (thin discs) set in white gold.
We've barely touched on the Met Gala and the Academy Awards! Blake Lively stole the show at the former, wearing a Statue of Liberty-inspired gown and a pair of Lorraine Schwartz earrings. They were set with around 90 carats of 'nude' champagne-coloured diamonds and slices of Colombian emerald. Michelle Yeoh wowed at the same event in a green silk dress paired with the Tasaki Forest Valley necklace set with Akoya pearls, black South Sea pearls, diamonds, sapphires, tourmaline, beryl and aquamarine in platinum. And, as she's known as a woman of exquisite taste, she finished the whole ensemble with a Richard Mille watch.
This year's Oscars will go down in history for "The Slap," but in jewellery news, there wasn't masses to get pulses racing. Kristen Stewart rebelled in a Chanel jacket-and-shorts combo and a Chanel necklace set with onyx, spinel and diamonds in white gold. And, in terms of colour clashing, I can't fault actress Marlee Matlin who wore a deep red gown paired with a Harry Winston lapis lazuli necklace and earring set and a Van Cleef & Arpels sapphire ring.
It's a Man's World
Is a man's outfit complete without a lapel pin? If 2022 is anything to go by, the answer is a resounding no! There were some great examples of men's brooches in 2022, specifically a Chaumet piece worn by actor Rége-Jean Page in Venice. A striking Cartier pin was worn by actor Edgar Ramirez in Cannes, while Dwayne Wade and Hamish Bowles looked great at the Met Gala. And, finally, I'd like to salute Belgian singer-songwriter Stromae, who reinvented the dickie bow using an important Cartier diamond-set brooch at the Met Gala.
The last 12 months didn't have quite the razzmatazz of 2021, but that's not to say there weren't some resounding high jewellery successes. So here's to more red-carpet adventures in 2023.
The banner images features Nicole Kidman at the Oscars 2022