Professional Jeweler Archive: The Rainbow Oscars

April 2005

Trend Spotting

The Rainbow Oscars

Black and Hispanic actors have presence at this year's Academy Awards

By Peggy Jo Donahue

Cultural observers of February’s Academy Awards say the noticeably increased ranks of black and Hispanic nominees and performers – not to mention comedian Chris Rock as host – is the most obvious recent event to reflect a growing multicultural mainstream American society.

It has been a long time coming, according to many. Only two years ago, Halle Berry became the first black woman to win the Best Actress Oscar. This year’s milestone: five nominations for four black actors in the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor categories. “It means Hollywood is continuing to make history,” says Morgan Freeman, who won his first Academy Award this year for Best Supporting Actor.

Hispanic artists were rewarded also. For the first time, the Best Song award went to a Spanish language song: “Al Otro Lado Del Rio” by Jorge Drexler, from The Motorcycle Diaries. It was performed by Antonio Banderas. The Best Foreign Language Film award went to The Sea Inside by Spain’s Alejandro Amenabar. The film has received wide distribution in the U.S. and earned good reviews.

The widespread recognition of ethnic talent is a wake-up call to luxury marketers such as jewelers. Blacks and Hispanics continue to influence and expand the culture and should be acknowledged in your ads and promotions as makers of manners in jewelry too.

Because so many fashion trends come from black and Hispanic culture, it’s interesting to note that two of the actors shown here chose colored gemstones rather than diamonds as their primary statements (three, if you count several of entertainer Beyoncé’s outfits on the telecast). It was a significant departure from more prevalent diamonds-only red carpet behavior, and it bodes well for colored gem sales to ethnic buyers.

In addition to the stars shown here, Berry wore brown diamond briolette earrings by Lorraine Schwartz, and TV commentator Star Jones wore a brown diamond tiara from Chopard. Penelope Cruz chose yellow diamonds from Chopard, while Aisha Tyler had South Sea pearl and platinum earrings and ring from David Webb. Even the guys got into the act, with Morgan Freeman wearing yellow diamond hoop earrings.

Note also the overwhelming presence of white metals – especially platinum – and a fair amount of red gold, thanks to the influence of black jewelry designer Chris Aire. Though studies show many blacks and Hispanics still prefer yellow gold, white metals have arrived in the repertoire of these well-dressed stars.

Jamie Foxx

The Best Actor Oscar winner wears jewelry by designer Chris Aire, including a black and white diamond Aire Traveler watch, platinum cuff links and a diamond, platinum and red gold ring.

Photo courtesy of Platinum Guild International-USA.

Catalina Sandino Moreno

The youthful Colombian star of Maria Full of Grace, nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, wore Australian South Sea pearls.

Photo courtest of American Gem Trade Association.

Salma Hayek

Mexican star Salma Hayek wears sapphire drop earrings by Fred Leighton with her midnight blue gown.

Photo courtest of American Gem Trade Association.

Beyoncé Knowles

The hard-working singer performed three of the Oscar-nominated songs this year. She chose huge diamond earrings to accessorize one outfit.

Photo courtesy of Diamond Information Center.

Regina King

The star from Ray wears platinum and diamond drop earrings from Chris Aire.

Photo courtesy of Platinum Guild International-USA.

Copyright © 2005 by Bond Communications