What Should You Watch? Start With These Jewelry Films

EditorsApr 03, 2020

What Should You Watch? Start With These Jewelry Films

From “Suspicion” to an 80-carat yellow diamond, Editor-in-Chief Michelle Graff wants to help you fill your free time with some solid films that include good jewelry.


Here at National Jeweler, all the members of our editorial team—myself, Brecken, Ashley and Lenore—are working from home and have been since the week of March 16. We’ve just completed our third week in self-isolation.

During that time, we’ve been covering the COVID-19 pandemic from every angle. We’ve explored how the crisis is impacting both big and small jewelers, broken down legislation, shared tips for communication, and compiled a list of online resources.

I would like to add one more helpful story to the list.

Because it’s a Friday—and because I cannot read or write one more story about closures, layoffs or deaths right now— I wanted to make this one more lighthearted.

A couple weeks ago, I saw a list circulating online from the Association for the Study of Jewelry and Related Arts of movies that are about or prominently feature jewelry.

For the unfamiliar, ASJRA is an organization dedicated to the study of jewelry and its place in history. The association publishes Adornment magazine three times a year, a newsletter six times a year and holds an annual conference.

This year’s conference, themed “Jewelry in America,” was supposed to take place this weekend but, like so many other events, has been pushed to the fall.

The movie list, ASJRA co-director Elyse Zorn Karlin explained, is part of a larger initiative the association has undertaken to help members cope during the coronavirus crisis.

Each day, ASJRA sends one email to members that contains a list of movies or online resources, quizzes on unusual pieces of jewelry or portraits with jewelry in them.

Karlin said the association also is offering anyone in the jewelry world a free three-month membership, which includes a copy of Adornment magazine and several issues of its newsletter, and free ads in its newsletter. There is no obligation at the end of the three-month trial period.

The association also is not allowing any current memberships to expire right now.

For more information on any of the above, reach out to Karlin at ekarlin@usa.net.

ASJRA had 51 films on the list I spotted online, but for this blog post I’ve narrowed it down to 10, choosing movies from the association’s list as well as adding in a couple suggestions of my own.

If you have any films to add, or you just feel like having a chat, please feel free to comment below.

Have a great weekend, and stay safe everyone.

“Sex and the City II” (2010). I don’t find this movie as offensive as so many other people did, but I do think it’s not the best this series—and this set of four characters—had to offer.

There was plenty of great fashion, and great jewelry, in the original series, which aired on HBO from 1998 to 2004, as well as in the first SATC movie, which came out in 2008.

I’ve been binging the original series for the past three weeks, and I can’t help but wonder: What will I watch next?

“Suspicion” (1941). The Adventurine got me in an Alfred Hitchcock mood with her recent Jewelry Movie Review of “Rear Window,” one of my favorite movies.

I’ve never seen “Suspicion,” which stars Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine, who, ASJRA says, wears one of her own jewels in the film—a pink topaz brooch by Verdura. I’m adding it to my watch list.

“Romancing the Stone” (1984). A favorite in the Graff household in the 1980s, this romantic comedy-adventure was the first in a string of big Hollywood films to star the trio of Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito.

It involves a lovelorn New York romance novelist, a handsome scoundrel, a bunch of bad guys and the big, beautiful emerald they’re all after.

It also features DeVito’s character, the hapless Ralph, hiding under a table and mumbling, “I lost my langostino,” a line that makes my brother and I laugh to this day.

“Gone with the Wind” (1940). Confession: For six years, I lived less a mile from the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta, and I’ve still never seen “Gone with the Wind.”

ASJRA says of the jewelry: “Lead star Vivien Leigh (Scarlett O’Hara) wears Civil War-era inspired jewelry largely supplied by Josef of Hollywood, although some ornaments, such as the cameos, are period pieces.”

I actually had tickets to a special screening of GWTW in New York a couple months ago, but I didn’t go because I didn’t feel like going out. Oh, the things we took for granted.

“Girl with a Pearl Earring” (2004). I saw this movie on one of the streaming services (Netflix, I believe) fairly recently and really enjoyed it.

Set in 17th-century Holland, it tells the story behind one of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer’s most well-known works.

Fun fact: Though many describe this painting as a portrait, the museum where it hangs, the Mauritshuis, notes that it is actually a “tronie,” a picture of an imaginary figure wearing “an improbably large pearl in her ear.”

“Murph the Surf” (1975). This Marvin Chomsky-directed movie is based on a true story: in 1964, thieves made off with two dozen gemstones from the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

I’m adding it to my watch list, particularly given the fact that the AMNH is in in the process of redoing its gem hall. The renovated hall is slated to open this fall.

Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”) and David Oyelowo (“Selma”) star in “A United Kingdom,” which recounts the true story of Botswana’s road to independence in the 1960s.

“How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” (2003). This movie starring Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey, who was on a rom-com roll at this point in his career, goes on my list of films that are particularly enjoyable to watch on planes.

McConaughey’s character, Ben, works for an ad agency and is angling to land the big new diamond advertising account with a company that’s basically De Beers. (In the movie, it’s called “De Lauer.”)

He’s fake-dating Hudson’s character, Andie, who’s fake-dating him. I’ll let you guess how it ends.

In the penultimate scene, Andie’s wearing a gorgeous yellow dress and an 80-carat yellow diamond from Harry Winston that isn’t bad either. Bonus: Kathryn Hahn is in this movie.

“Sorry, Wrong Number” (1948). I’ve never seen a movie starring Barbara Stanwyck, who, the ASJRA says, is “wearing fabulous jewels” in this particular film.

But I was intrigued by the name and the plot, which reads a little “Rear Window:” a bedridden woman overhears a murder plot on a crossed telephone line and tries to stop it.

“A United Kingdom” (2017). This was not on ASJRA’s list, but I wanted to include it because it’s worth seeing if you are in the jewelry industry.

Starring Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo, the movie tells the true story of how Botswana earned its independence and became a democracy, and it touches, albeit lightly, on the role diamonds played in that.

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961). The classic rom-com starring Audrey Hepburn and the best little black dress in history is a staple on any jewelry movie list.

I’m also a currently fan of any show or movie that reminds me of the city I love, New York, in happier times.
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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