Celebrities

Death on the Nile: The Story Behind Gal Gadot’s Yellow Diamond Tiffany Necklace

Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and Audrey Hepburn have all worn the historic gem.

Photo by Rob Youngson. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Glamorous settings, high society and the luxury life have always been parts of the film versions of Agatha Christie’s murder mysteries. But there has never been anything quite like the new production of Death on the Nile , coming to theaters on February 11.

Set in 1937, the famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) takes a luxury cruise where the action happens. His fellow passengers include several women decked out in Tiffany & Co. diamond jewelry, including Jacqueline De Bellefort (Emma Mackey) who sparkles in pieces from the Victoria collection and Euphemia (Annette Bening) who wears any number of gold and diamond jewels from the Jean Schlumberger line.

Then of course, there is the jaw-dropping 128.54 carat yellow Tiffany Diamond necklace Linnet Ridgeway Doyle (Gal Gadot) receives as a wedding present from her husband Simon (Armie Hammer).

Armie Hammer as Simon Doyle and Gal Gadot as Linnet Ridgeway in 20th Century Studios’ DEATH ON THE NILE, a mystery-thriller directed by Kenneth Branagh based on Agatha Christie’s 1937 novel. Photo by Rob Youngson. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Rose Leslie as Louise Bourget in 20th Century Studios’ DEATH ON THE NILE, a mystery-thriller directed by Kenneth Branagh based on Agatha Christie’s 1937 novel. Photo by Rob Youngson. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

The film’s costume designer Paco Delgado, explained to British Vogue, that it felt surreal having access to the Tiffany Diamond. “For security reasons—and because of the nature of the plot—Tiffany & Co made various replicas for us for the film. The level of security required to protect the original is just remarkable. It’s really a star of the production in its own right,” he says.

Truly, the Tiffany Diamond has been a superstar the few times it has ever been worn.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

At the 2019 Oscars, Lady Gaga wowed the world when she walked the red carpet in the Tiffany Diamond necklace (adjusted to be worn as a choker). Gaga also sported it on stage during her performance of “Shallow” from A Star Is Born with Bradley Cooper. If you want to see just how brightly the natural diamond sparkles from every angle, watch the duet here. After the event stunning pictures were released of Gaga wearing the gem casually wrapped up in bath towels before she got dressed.

Last fall, Beyoncé practically broke the internet when she wore the same Tiffany Diamond necklace in a series of images with Jay-Z for Tiffany’s “About Love” ad campaign. Queen Bey also sat down at the piano wearing the jewel, and sang a dreamy one minute rendition of “Moon River.”

Photo credit: Tiffany & Co.

The Henry Mancini number, which is something of an unofficial theme song for Tiffany, was performed in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Audrey Hepburn who was the last luminary to wear the Tiffany Diamond; she sported the stone in publicity stills following its appearance in the movie for a hot second.

At the time, the gem was mounted in Schlumberger’s Ribbon Rosette necklace. When Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) and her friend Paul (George Peppard) enter the Fifth Avenue flagship, she tells him she “doesn’t give a hoot about jewelry except diamonds,” looks down into a display case and adds “like that!” The “that” she is referring to is the Tiffany Diamond.

But the true story of the Tiffany Diamond is even more extraordinary than the productions it has appeared in.

Discovered in 1877 in South Africa, the 287.42 carat rough yellow diamond was purchased by founder Charles Lewis Tiffany for $18,000. The firm’s chief gemologist George Frederick Kunz oversaw the year-long cutting of the gem into a cushion-shape weighing 128.54 carats.

In a period when only royalty owned big diamonds, Charles Lewis Tiffany gave the diamond his name and decided not to ever sell the extraordinary stone. The decision literally made the gem priceless. Instead, he put it on public display in the New York flagship as a symbol of Tiffany’s excellence in diamonds.

Over the decades, the Tiffany Diamond has been exhibited for very special events. It was in the 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition, and the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. The diamond has been on display at New York’s American Museum of Natural History and The Field Museum in Chicago.

In 1995, for a Schlumberger retrospective at the Musée des Art Décoratifs in Paris, the Tiffany Diamond was put in the designer’s Bird on a Rock setting. The little creature perched on the corner of the big gem proved to be so popular, Tiffany kept it in the setting until 2012 when it was remounted into the 175th anniversary necklace that has been such a show stopper every time it is worn.

Get a glimpse of the Tiffany Diamond 175th Anniversary necklace in the official trailer for Death on the Nile.