This absolutely beautiful “Winged” diamond necklace has been seen at least three times in films, each time altered slightly to give it a different look. It was first seen in 1941 on actress  Barbara Stanwyck as Jean in The Lady Eve.  Several years later in 1950 it was seen on Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond in the famous film Sunset Boulevard, where the “Crown” pendant seems to have been removed.  In 1966 the necklace was seen a third time on Zsa Zsa Gabor as Jessica Shelley in the film Picture Mommy Dead. This time the entire center portion of the necklace seems to have been replaced, though the main wings still remain.

This necklace was almost certainly created by famous costume designer Joseff of Hollywood, as it is known that he not only provided the jewelry for all three of these films, but also because the diamond headpiece worn on Barbara Stanwyck can be traced to yet another film where Joseff provided the jewelry (This finding will be posted at a later date).

Eugene Joseff left the city of Chicago in 1928 and headed for Hollywood. He quickly discovered a niche in making jewelry for films. His pieces were unique in that Joseff managed to invent a finish for his plated jewelry that looked aged, but still beautiful. His pieces were also unique in that they sparked, but were not so overly reflective as to interfere with studio lighting.

Very quickly “Joseff of Hollywood” made a name for himself in Hollywood, and his jewels were seen in such films as Gone with the Wind, Cleopatra and The Virgin Queen, as well as on many famous actresses including Bette Davis, Lucille Ball, Rata Hayworth and Katharine Hepburn. 

Joseff was unique at the time in that he decided not to sell his pieces to the studio, but instead to rent them again and again to different productions, altering them as needed (as seen above). This enabled him to amass a much larger collection of jewelry over the years.   Unfortunately, by the 50s and 60s, studios had also slowly been creating their own jewelry collections, and Joseff was no longer as frequently called upon for jewelry rentals. Joseff of Hollywood jewelry can still be found in specialty boutiques and occasionally on Ebay, and is highly prized among jewelry collectors.

To learn more about Joseff of Hollywood jewelry, you can visit their official website, or read Jewelry of the Stars: Creations from Joseff of Hollywood by Joanne Dubbs Ball.

Costume Credit: Brad, Michael

E-mail Submissions: submissions@recycledmoviecostumes.com

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