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June 3, 2020
On Friday, Lady Gaga dished the tasty 2019 Oscars backstory of how the $30 million, 128.54-carat “Tiffany Diamond” that she wore during the awards ceremony remained on her neck during a Madonna-hosted afterparty — and a late-night excursion to Taco Bell.
During her virtual appearance on The Graham Norton Show, Gaga described the celebration after scoring her first Oscar for Best Original Song.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen that night — I was just so happy to be there,” the 34-year-old singer-actress told the host. “My sister and I were barreling through champagne backstage, and when we left, I didn’t tell anyone, and I still had the diamond on.”
The extraordinary cushion-cut sparkler, which normally resides on the main floor of Tiffany’s Fifth Avenue flagship store, has been worn by only three women during its 143-year history. The fancy yellow diamond made its first public appearance on the neck of Mrs. E. Sheldon Whitehouse at the 1957 Tiffany Ball. Actress Audrey Hepburn famously wore it in 1961 publicity posters for the motion picture Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
And, in February 2019, Gaga and The Tiffany Diamond turned heads at the 91st Academy Awards. Tiffany’s security team was on hand throughout the evening to keep a watchful eye on the famous stone.
“Everyone freaked out that I was still wearing [the necklace],” Gaga said. “When I went to Madonna’s house, security guards were side-eyeing me.”
Gaga was finally separated from the mammoth diamond when she and her entourage sought a late-night snack at a fast-food drive-thru.
“When we were heading to Taco Bell, my car was pulled over and Tiffany’s security politely removed [the necklace] from my neck,” Gaga said.
The 128.54-carat yellow diamond was cut from a 287.42-carat rough stone discovered in the Kimberley diamond mines of South Africa in 1877 and acquired the following year by Tiffany’s founder, Charles Lewis Tiffany.
The rough stone was brought to Paris, where Tiffany’s chief gemologist, Dr. George Frederick Kunz, supervised the cutting of the diamond into a cushion-shape brilliant with an unprecedented 82 facets — 24 more facets than the traditional 58-facet brilliant cut. The stone measures slightly more than an inch across.
In 1961, the diamond was set in a ribbon rosette necklace to promote Breakfast at Tiffany’s. In 1995, it was part of a brooch called Bird on a Rock, which was exhibited at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
The Tiffany Diamond necklace worn by Gaga was designed in 2012 to mark Tiffany’s 175 anniversary celebration. The platinum necklace features an openwork motif of sun rays glistening with 481 diamonds totaling more than 100 carats.
Credits: Academy Awards screen capture via YouTube.com/ABC; Bird on a Rock image by Shipguy [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.