Julianne Moore wears a Cartier necklace at the 2024 Golden Globe Awards. Stylists work behind the scenes to arrange jewelry loans, explained Kate Young, a Hollywood stylist who worked with Moore to put this look together. Gilbert Flores/Golden Globes 2024
I've Always Wondered ...

Stars invest in their red carpet look with a loan from a jeweler

Janet Nguyen Mar 8, 2024
Julianne Moore wears a Cartier necklace at the 2024 Golden Globe Awards. Stylists work behind the scenes to arrange jewelry loans, explained Kate Young, a Hollywood stylist who worked with Moore to put this look together. Gilbert Flores/Golden Globes 2024

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Listener Ariadne Tcharos asks: 

During awards season, I always wonder about the expensive jewelry celebrities seem to be “loaned” for events. Is it rented, loaned, sometimes purchased? Celebs occasionally mention the jewelry store security lurking in the background. Do they pay for that? What is in it for the jewelry designers? Is it only name recognition? It seems most of the jewelry would be out of reach for the majority of the population. 

She’d like to thank her agent, her manager, her parents watching back at home — and her jeweler.  

The 96th Academy Awards will take place Sunday, when the Oscar statues won’t be the only gold on display. Celebs will sashay down the red carpet in glamorous dresses and jewelry that can range in cost from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions. But they won’t be paying for it. Or keeping it.

Kate Young, a stylist who’s dressed Dakota Johnson, Michelle Williams and Julianne Moore, among others, joined Marketplace to explain how jewelry loaning works. 

“Most jewelry houses have a [public relations] person, and the PR person sends me a selection of what they have. If it’s for award season, they usually have a lookbook of stuff that they’re going to have available in the U.S.,” Young said. 

She’ll request the piece or pieces she wants from the publicist, and her client will try them on. 

After a piece has been chosen, a guard from the jeweler will bring the client’s accessories to them before they hit the red carpet. 

“I have had jewelers’ security stay with people all night, but usually most of my talent have their own security,” Young explained. “Usually at the end of the night, the actress gives the jewelry to her own security, who liaises with the jeweler’s security and takes it back to them.” 

Best of all, these celebrities get to show off these jewels — and everything else they wear — for free. 

“The clothes are all borrowed, the shoes are borrowed, the jewelry is borrowed,” Young said. 

How a stylist selects jewels for the spotlight

When a brand acquires or makes a new piece of jewelry, Young said she gets excited thinking about how she’ll use it. 

“I really love jewelry. So I keep most jewelers’ lookbooks on my desks, my desktop. I go to all the Sotheby’s auctions,” she said. 

Some of Young’s favorites include the heavy gold and white-gold pieces at Sidney Garber, “everything” at Belperron, and Schlumberger and Elsa Peretti jewelry from Tiffany & Co. 

As for her favorites among those she’s helped select, she named a Belperron giant diamond torque necklace that Dakota Johnson wore during a recent appearance on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”; gold bracelets and necklaces from Sidney Garber that adorned Julianne Moore at the Gotham Awards in 2022; and David Yurman earrings worn by Scarlett Johansson at Cannes last year.

What’s in it for the jewelers? 

In some cases, the jeweler will actually pay a star to wear its necklaces or earrings, The Hollywood Reporter revealed in 2017.  

THR reported that Louis Vuitton allegedly paid Gwyneth Paltrow $500,000 to wear its accessories back in 2011. Jewelers sometimes even have a say in how the celebrity is styled. 

THR wrote that “a jeweler might dictate a gown neckline” and that black dresses are preferred so the jewels can stand out. 

“Stylists also can be blindsided when a jeweler switches out a selected piece to highlight an item it wants to sell,” according to the publication.

But while fashion pundits try to parse whether an accessory was “a conscious choice,” THR said you can’t assume. 

And some jewelers have their boundaries. Martin Katz told THR that he won’t pay for the marketing opportunity because “it’s just not something I want or need to do.” Although he recognizes why others do. 

“Listen, if someone is spending $20 million a year on advertising, why not move over a half-million dollars [to pay a star]? You can’t deny the exposure,” Katz told THR. 

While these jewels are far out of most Americans’ price range, there are buyers eager to snap them up, believe it or not.

“For instance, Julianne Moore wore a Cartier necklace to the Golden Globes, and it sold within a week. Someone saw it, liked it, bought it,” Young said. 

There’s a robust market for these luxe items, which has posed challenges for Young. There have been times when she had a piece on hold a month in advance, and it sold before her client had the chance to wear it. 

“Most of the dresses you see during awards are custom. But if you want that necklace, you can buy it,” Young said. 

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