Sandra Bullock steals the show as Debbie Ocean in Ocean’s 8, but there’s something else that shines just as bright: the Cartier necklace that becomes the focal point of Debbie’s heist. The Toussaint necklace is practically a ninth Ocean’s 8 star, so naturally, fans have one important question: Is the Toussaint necklace real? I’m desperate to know everything about the $150 million necklace that kept Debbie Ocean up for five years, eight months, and 12 days planning one of the biggest jewelry heists of all time.
Despite being a fictional movie, the Toussaint necklace is very, very real. According to Harper’s Bazaar, the necklace was created in 1931 by Jacques Cartier and was named after the fashion house’s iconic creative director of the 20th century, Jeanne Toussaint. The main stone in the necklace was the 136.25-carat Queen of Holland diamond, a massive blue-white rock that dates back to 1904. Cartier originally created the Toussaint necklace for the Maharaja of Nawanagar, an Indian prince known for his impressive jewelry collection. Considering that the Toussaint necklace was considered to be "the finest cascade of colored diamonds in the world," the Maharaja of Nawanagar was probably very proud of his new purchase.
Unfortunately, in the years since 1931, the Toussaint necklace has been taken apart, and its diamonds have since been used in other jewelry pieces. But Cartier didn’t totally forget about its huge piece: The blueprints for the infamous necklace remain at Cartier along with plenty of photographs and archival drawings.
So, yes, the Toussaint necklace is real, but the version fans see in Ocean’s 8 has been more than a little modified from the original. What, did you think Cartier would really let Warner Bros. play around with a priceless piece of jewelry? Because the original Toussaint necklace was designed for a man, the Ocean’s 8 costume department had to scale it down by about 15 to 20 percent so it would fit Anne Hathaway. The necklace is beyond massive in the movie, so I can’t even imagine what it would look life in real life.
In addition to shrinking down the necklace’s size, the costume department opted to change the color, as well. The original Queen of Holland diamond is blue-white, and the necklace featured other colored diamonds in its cascade, but in Ocean’s 8, every stone on the Toussaint is clear. According to Harper’s Bazaar, the Ocean’s 8 team hired Cartier to create a replica necklace out of zirconium (the cheap gemstone that looks like diamonds) and white gold.
After eight weeks in the Paris workshop — where Cartier designers used the necklace’s original plans to create a replica Toussaint — the fake necklace was flown from Paris to New York for filming. I wonder if the Ocean’s 8 set had a party to welcome their ninth cast member?
The Toussaint necklace isn’t the only Cartier gem featured in the film. The Cartier Mansion in New York is featured prominently throughout the movie — both before the heist takes place at the Met Gala, and after — and the fashion house lent quite a few prized pieces to the film’s actors. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Anne Hathaway wears jewelry and a watch from Cartier’s Panthère collection in multiple scenes, and Mindy Kaling wears a 1958 Cartier necklace with matching earrings later in the film. Plus, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who makes a few cameos in the film (it is the Met Gala, after all), can be seen wearing a 1906 Lavalière necklace featuring round and rose-cut diamonds. The luxury.
And what about that hefty price tag? While we don’t know what the Toussaint necklace was worth when it was created in 1931, it seems very likely that Debbie’s $150 million estimate would be correct in 2018. A 136.25-carat center stone plus dozens of smaller, high-quality diamonds? I’m no jeweler, but that sounds like it’s worth $150 million to me.
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