The Emmys Demonstrated 5 Jewelry Rules

EditorsSep 21, 2021

The Emmys Demonstrated 5 Jewelry Rules

There were important lessons to be learned on the red carpet.

Would it be a major awards show without a backless-dress-with-long-necklace moment? Arguably not. Ingenue Anya Taylor-Joy (left) took a go at the dramatic red-carpet jewelry look in Tiffany & Co. at the 73rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards held on Sunday in Los Angeles. Star-on-the-rise Cynthia Erivo (right), meanwhile, demonstrated how to inject a little of one’s own personality into a serious jewelry look, mixing her own pieces like Maria Tash earrings with Roberto Coin earrings and choker.
Held every September, the Primetime Emmy Awards don’t typically endure any type of award show competition, with the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and Oscars happening in the winter.
However, to echo a phrase I write too often to count, due to the pandemic, the Met Gala took place not on the first Monday of May as is customary, but less than a week before the 2021 Emmys. 
That meant it was difficult not to compare the two, what with the Met Gala being so fresh in our collective cultural mind.

Since that event is all about Fashion with a capital F, the Emmys red carpet jewelry looks felt a little staid and a little too boring in comparison.
However, actors’ stylists demonstrated a few classic jewelry styling tips and tricks, some more basic than others, that serve as a good refresher on how to let statement gowns and major bling co-exist in harmony, because one doesn’t have to sacrifice the other.
So, in the spirit of back-to-school season, here are some educational takeaways from the awards show. 
1. Black is carte blanche to go for all-out glamour. 
Count on Billy Porter to deliver drama on any red carpet.
His outfit was hardly subtle, but a monochrome look really allows stylists like Ty Hunter to go crazy with the jewelry. 

All of Porter’s jewels were by Lorraine Schwartz, the undisputable queen of red carpets, fresh off of her latest endeavor crafting the most elaborate Met Gala jewelry looks.
An extra credit styling trick here: Brooches turned into ear cuffs. 
2. A strapless neckline is dying for a necklace … and earrings. 
My jewelry preference runs to the “more is more” inclination. 
A strapless neckline is perfectly complemented with a necklace, but pairing it with large earrings, too, is even better.
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Michaela Coel, winner of an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie, perfectly demonstrated this. 
Her Anne Sisteron 14-karat gold and diamond necklace is extra impactful because of the neckline of her electric yellow Christopher John Rogers top. 
Baroque pearl earrings from Alighieri Jewellery made the most of all that empty real estate, though gold-plated jewelry on a red carpet of this stature does make my stomach turn slightly. Costume jewelry should be reserved for the myriad press events leading up to the main show, or the Grammys.
If Coel had worn a pair of fabulous baroque pearl and diamond earrings, her look would go from an A- to an A+.  
All shade aside, lots of stylists took advantage of the jewelry potential inherent to strapless gowns.
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Catherine Zeta Jones wore a Lorraine Schwartz diamond necklace with huge diamond drop earrings from the designer.
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Actress Yara Shahidi proved an off-the-shoulder neckline follows the same strapless neckline logic.
She was a vision in emerald and yellow gold “Cactus de Cartier” necklace and earrings. 
3. Every awards show must have at least one backless gown/jewelry moment. 
See rule 2. A bare back is just another opportunity for a killer necklace. 

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This awards show’s volunteer for the edict was Anya Taylor-Joy, nominated for her star turn in Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit,” who is loyal to her Tiffany & Co. deal.

The jewelry house ambassador wore two Elsa Peretti “Diamonds by the Yard” necklaces in platinum with diamonds down her back. 

She also wore platinum and diamond cluster earrings; an unenhanced yellow sapphire bracelet with diamonds in platinum and 18-karat yellow gold; an unenhanced sapphire ring weighing more than 17 carats in platinum with diamonds; and a Tiffany “Victoria” diamond vine bypass ring in platinum. 
4. Combine major jewels with a dose of your own personality. 
Cynthia Erivo is the poster child for this. She first popped up on my radar at the 2020 Golden Globes, wearing Bulgari high jewelry and a ton of diamond studs and hoops in her multiple piercings. 
With that many piercings, this look clearly wasn’t for the benefit of an awards show and seemed to speak more to her personal style. She rocked the look again at the subsequent Critics Choice Awards, and Oscars
Erivo doubled down on this original mixture of her own jewels with red carpet heavyweights in 2021, this time wearing jewelry in her septum piercing.
At the Primetime Emmys on Sunday she did it again, showcasing her fabulous ear array, septum piercing, and a to-die-for Roberto Coin diamond choker.

Erivo was the real-life equivalent of a Kira Kira filter, and takes home the Jewelry Girl award in my book. 

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Erivo wore Roberto Coin’s “Pharaoh Cento” choker featuring more than 58 carats of baguette diamonds and retailing for $580,000. She also sported the “Cento” baguette diamond earrings in her first piercing, which sell for $8,880. 
5. Be unique, if you dare. 
Red carpet watching as a sport just wouldn’t be fun, or worth pursuing, if someone didn’t surprise us. Sometimes, my favorite dresses make the “Worst Dressed List.” (Case in point from the 2021 Emmys: Gillian Anderson in custom Chloe from new creative director Gabriela Hearst, which is gorgeous and has been generally panned.) 

Actresses certainly don’t want to make that list, but it’s often where a lot of the best fashion lives, just as “Best Dressed” is often synonymous with “boring and least creative.”
So, while a custom grill might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I live for this unexpected dose of cool, as seen on Issa Rae of “Insecure” fame, and so do plenty of other red carpet watchers. 

Rae collaborated with Grillz by Scotty on her special piece, and it’s not her first from the grill master.
On his personal Instagram, the jeweler tells a story of flying to Nice, France to deliver a grill for the actress’ wedding, getting there by the skin of his diamond teeth (get it?) because of an expired passport debacle. 
For the Emmys, Rae partook in the naked dress trend so ubiquitous at the Met Gala, accessorized with her 22-karat white gold and diamond grill and 18-karat white gold and diamond Fernando Jorge “Disco” earrings from the “Brilliant” collection, which have graced the red carpet too many times to count because they are indeed the perfect big event earring. 

The "Disco" earrings are so popular, I'm honestly considering creating a an Instagram account dedicated to them. Chances are (and fingers crossed) we see them back on the red carpet come January 2022.
Ashley Davisis the senior editor, fashion at National Jeweler, covering all things related to design, style and trends.

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