The Great Gatsby isn’t among my favorite stories and Daisy Buchanan is among my least favorite fictional characters. I wrote a review of the film after I saw it and said as much.
The Roaring Twenties, however, is one period in Western history that I find captivating. I’ve always surmised that the over-the-top fashion, the jewelry and the decadent lifestyle were as much a revenge against the dreary war years as a prelude to the dawn of a new age. The right of suffrage was granted to American women with the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, women entered the workforce and there were the so-called “flappers” — young women who wore dresses that showed their legs, smoked, drank and flouted social norms.
In the United States, the 1920s was a period of prosperity and the lifestyle paraded the extent of an individual’s or a family’s wealth. This was the period captured in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel and the 2013 film adaptation did not shy away from showing the excesses. Tiffany & Co., “the most important jeweller in New York during the Jazz Age“, was commissioned to create the jewelry for the film. There was an endless display but only a few pieces were eye-popping enough to catch my attention.
The first, of course, is what Daisy Buchanan had around her head during the party at Jay Gatsby’s house. Elle Magazine got it right when it called the trinket a “headpiece” rather than a tiara. The description reads, in part: “The Savoy, a diamond and freshwater cultured pearl headpiece with detachable brooch, inspired by a Native American design…”
The headpiece is wound around the head with a ribbon tied at the back.
And what’s with the “inspired by a Native American design” part? The magnificent collection created by Tiffany & Co. for the film was not authentic 1920s but a hybrid between the jewelry of the period and today’s designs.
‘We didn’t want a nostalgic 1920s. We wanted a modern 1920s,’ she [Costume Designer Catherine Martin] explained. ‘So there had to be a sensibility about history, but there also had to be an actuality about it.’
The costume designer said the modernity of Tiffany made it a perfect fit for the movie. ‘Because there’s a sense of history, but also a modern company moving toward the future,’ she explained.
The contemporary design design elements are just as evident in Daisy’s hand ornament with a daisy motif in diamonds, cultured pearls and platinum which she had on both arms and hands. Splendid, aren’t they?
Lavish, opulent and even ostentatious are the words that come to mind to describe the jewelry, and none would be inappropriate nor harsh. After all, those are the very same words to use to aptly describe the life of the ultra rich during the Roaring Twenties.