Garden in Time: The Most Sensational Jewels of the Met Gala 2024

The most dazzling night of the fashion calendar – the Met Gala – never fails to disappoint when it comes to couture, but what about high jewellery? This year, we were blessed with a rich theme for the overarching exhibition, ‘Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion’, alongside a pleasingly interpretive ‘Garden in Time’ concept for the First Monday in May itself. The results could have been bursting with archival high jewels, never-before-seen creations and bountiful coloured gemstones. Instead, it all felt a touch ‘safe’, with a few bright sparks stepping up to the high jewellery challenge…

We know you are itching to dive into the high jewels of the Met Gala, but before we do, allow us to give you this year’s creative context. The Met Gala is hosted annually to raise money for The Metropolitan Museum of Art and as an advertisement for its annual exhibition, which this year is called ‘Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion’. The exhibition will “reactivate the sensory capacities of masterworks in the Museum’s collection” through artificial intelligence and computer-generated imagery to bring four centuries' worth of fashion, such as a 17th-century Elizabeth-era English bodice, ‘back to life’. Many of the pieces are simply too delicate to ever be worn again, hence the ‘Sleeping Beauties’ moniker. 

Before the doors open on May 10, however, it’s the turn of Vogue magazine, Anna Wintour and a whole host of celebrities to get involved and interpret the exhibition’s core principles for the Gala. Co-chairs Zendaya, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Hemsworth and Bad Bunny were first on the red carpet to demonstrate ‘The Garden in Time’ dress code for the evening, which was inspired by a short story of the same name by JG Ballard. Interestingly, this story includes abundant gardens but also death, decay, ensnaring thorns and dereliction… so the creative possibilities were endless! 

Met Gala 2024 co-chairs Chris Hemsworth with his wife Elsa Pataky and Bad Bunny arrive on the green carpet for the evening

Overall, if we had to summarise the ‘look’ of the night, it would be ‘Garden Victoriana’ with a touch of Elizabethan corsetry and recent Maison Margiela aesthetics thrown in for good measure! As someone who is always on the pulse, Zendaya wowed the pale green carpet in a head-to-toe Maison Margiela ensemble, including birds dancing around her neck and berries entwining her arms. Sadly, her jewellery was demure (no doubt because of the intricacies of her dress) – just a pair of emerald stud earrings and a single emerald-set ring.

Met Gala 2024 co-chair Zendaya wearing Bulgari jewellery, including a pair of mismatched earrings, one in pink gold with oval-shaped emeralds and pear-cut diamonds and another with a cushion-cut emerald stud set in yellow gold, coupled with a ring set with 24 buff-top emeralds and pavé-set diamonds

Met Gala 2024 co-chair Jennifer Lopez wearing the Tiffany & Co. Blue Book 2024 Céleste Wings bracelet and necklace, set with a large D-colour internally flawless oval-shaped diamond of more than 20 carats

Jennifer Lopez brought the glitz, pairing a custom Schiaparelli gown with jewels from the Tiffany & Co. Blue Book 2024 High Jewellery collection – Tiffancy Celéste. The focal point is the necklace, crafted with 75 carats of diamonds and a 20-carat centre stone, plus a pair of earrings with more than three carats of diamonds, a bracelet with a further three carats and a selection of rings, notably a Schlumberger by Tiffany & Co. Bird on a Rock with a fancy intense yellow diamond over four carats.

Others were similarly reliable, such as Cardi B wearing a dramatic Giambattista Valli gown with an enormous emerald and diamond necklace, a matching bracelet, drop earrings and rings by Kamyen Jewellery. As a side note, it is wonderful to see independent designers and more niche brands like Kamyen getting their moment in the spotlight. As the saying goes, it is better late than never!

Cardi B wearing a Giambattista Valli gown with jewellery by Kamyen, including a necklace with a 141-carat Colombian emerald and diamonds, a pair of earrings with emeralds, diamonds and cascading yellow and white briolette-cut diamonds, and a series of emerald rings and bracelets

Kris Jenner wore two large emerald cocktail rings atop her white, elbow-length opera gloves, complete with matching earrings, and Michelle Yeoh also opted for emeralds by her favoured high jeweller, Cindy Chao. More specifically, the latter wore the Cindy Chao Black Label Masterpiece XI Emerald Waterfall earrings, set with cabochon Colombian emeralds, white and yellow diamonds and tsavorites, and the White Label Collection Emerald Floral ring with a 3.45-carat Colombian gem, sapphires, tsavorites and diamonds in 18k white gold. It was also lovely to see Cindy Chao herself in attendance on the night, wearing a column of white topped with a golden neckline and her 20th Anniversary Collection Four Seasons Leaf brooch, with a fancy intense yellow diamond, white diamonds, orange and pink sapphires in 18k white gold and titanium. 

Demi Moore wows at the Met Gala 2024 in the Cartier Chloris necklace from the upcoming Nature Sauvage High Jewellery collection with 7.87 carats of emerald and white diamonds in platinum, plus a pair of matching 2.25 carat emerald earrings

Demi Moore also met our ‘never-before-seen jewels’ expectations by wearing the Cartier Chloris necklace and a pair of earrings from its upcoming Nature Sauvage High Jewellery collection, which is due to launch at the end of May. The Chloris necklace – “configured to look like dandelion seeds swept away by the wind,” according to Vogue, is crafted in platinum and set with 7.87 carats of emeralds along with a plethora of white diamonds. The earrings also contain 2.25 carats of emeralds. 

Other looks that caught our attention were Kaia Gerber in a classically elegant Tiffany & Co. ensemble, set with diamonds and peachy pink morganites; Ayo Edebiri in a beautiful pair of Boucheron drop earrings set with aquamarines; Eiza González Rivera in a fairy princess gown with layered petals and a striking emerald and diamond necklace; model Amelia Gray Hamlin in a large yellow diamond pendant by Messika, and Cynthia Erivo dripping in jewels by Roberto Coin, Wempe and Jennifer Behr (complete with a dragonfly attached to the back of her head!). 

Of course, it can’t be the Met Gala without Sarah Jessica Parker. This year, she wore an embellished and structured Richard Quinn dress with vintage diamond jewels by Briony Raymond, Marlo Laz and Gray & David, either pinned to her hat, worked into a ponytail or worn more traditionally as rings and earrings. Her extra-long strand of knotted pearls was the ideal finishing touch.

Sarah Jessica Parker at the Met Gala 2024 wearing vintage diamond jewels by Briony Raymond, Marlo Laz and Gray & David, either pinned to her hat, worked into a ponytail or worn more traditionally as rings and earrings

Although the theme of this year’s Met Gala was primed for jewellery, a significant number of women opted for heavily bejewelled dresses that negated the need for extra sparkle… think of them as jewellery art dresses in their own right. Wonderful examples of this are Keke Palmer, Anok Yai, Imaan Hammam, Cara Delevingne, Serena Williams, Gabrielle Union (pushing the mermaid theme with Tiffany & Co. starfishes) and Amanda Seyfried. Although not strictly jewellery-related, we adored the sculptural Gaurav Gupta gown worn by Mindy Kaling and Tyla’s sand-timer look that necessitated her being carried along the Met Gala carpet and up the stairs! Next, look out for Janelle Monae in Reza Jewelry and Karlie Kloss wearing a vibrant pink ensemble built from custom Swarovski crystals. 

If we had to pick two favourites, however, it would be Elle Fanning in Balmain and Cartier High Jewellery and Pamela Anderson, who placed two strands of Pandora laboratory-grown diamonds across her shoulder in one of the most striking jewellery styling looks of the night. 

Pamela Anderson wears layers of laboratory-grown diamonds by Pandora draped across her shoulder to the Met Gala 2024, while Elle Fanning opted for vintage Cartier diamonds and a Balmain dress

At the other end of the spectrum were a host of more demure diamond looks. Naomi Campbell paired a baby blue gown with diamond tennis bracelets with more than 66 carats of diamonds by Material Good; Dua Lipa wowed in Marc Jacobs accessorised with Tiffany & Co. jewels, and Lily James paired an Erdem gown with delicate Boucheron earrings. De Beers also enjoyed its moment in the spotlight with a feast of famous women, including Sydney Sweeney, wearing the Assana necklace with 37.47 carats of diamonds and the Sleeper earrings with 6.84 carats. Demi Lovato boasted the London by De Beers ‘Thames Path’ necklace with 63.76 carats, plus a further 20 carats of rings and earrings. Finally, Venus Williams looked lovely in the De Beers Classic Aura earrings with five cushion-cut diamonds in each, totalling 4.54 carats. 

Some pushed the creative potential of diamond-centric looks a little further, such as Emma Chamberlain in a Cartier choker and Penelope Cruz in head-to-toe Chanel. We also appreciated the delicate balance of white and yellow diamonds in Gigi Hadid’s Chopard look, which included earrings, a necklace, tennis bracelets, and two diamond cocktail rings. Let’s also not forget Nicole Kidman, who wore an archival black and white Balenciaga gown alongside the Harry Winston Secret Combination diamond bracelet with 69 carats of diamonds. 

Before we move onto the men – who wowed us this year – let’s talk about some of the more unusual jewellery looks on the night. Michelle Williams wore a Chanel High Jewellery necklace that sat atop her pink hair like a headband. According to Vogue, the piece is a “reproduction of a diamond fringe necklace originally designed for Coco Chanel’s history-making 1932 collection”. Ana Khouri also bedecked several famous women this year, including Chloë Sevigny in the Raw necklace with a 21-carat diamond in 18k Fairmined gold, coupled with a Raw earring, ear cuff, two rings, and a piece crafted from Brazilian rosewood. Linda Evangelista also wore Ana Khouri, specifically the Phillipa earrings with 91 carats of green tourmalines and diamonds in 18k gold and a three-carat diamond ear cuff. 

British-Indian actress Alia Bhatt wearing Sabyasachi to the Met Gala 2024, including a blouse studded with emeralds, Basra pearls, tourmalines and sapphires

Special mention must go to British-Indian actress Alia Bhatt, who looked sensational in a look by Sabyasachi. Her blouse was studded with emeralds, Basra pearls, tourmalines and multi-coloured sapphires, while her jewellery hailed from the Sabyasachi Bengal Royal collection with tourmalines, sapphires, emeralds and Old Mine-cut and brilliant-cut diamonds, all E-F colour and VVS clarity. What an ensemble! 

And what a year it was for the men. Brooches were a big hit (even Anna Wintour in vintage SJ Phillips and Shakira accessorised their outfits with artfully placed pieces), with Mike Faist knocking our socks off with a JAR diamond-encrusted radish brooch! Jeff Goldblum, Barry Keoghan, Sebastian Stan, Leon Bridges, and Charlie Hunnam added a touch of eccentricity to their outfits by adding multiple brooches, often with contrasting styles, to their suits. 

Special mentions include Lewis Hamilton in Burberry with diamond-set yellow gold thorns and flowers, plus a massive canary diamond pinky ring by Briony Raymond; Jonathan Bailey wearing hand-painted metal peonies at the collar and hip; and Jon Batiste in a Cartier 1928 platinum and diamond brooch, a necklace with yellow and white diamonds, and a classic Cartier Tank Normale watch in 18k yellow gold. Last, but not least, Adrian Brody upgraded his black suit with a diamond and aquamarine shoulder jewel by Elsa Jin, who is no stranger to statement red carpet looks. 

Adrian Brody wears the LIFE 2020 brooch by Elsa Jin to the Met Gala 2024

This year’s Met Gala was a beautiful if slightly reserved, year of jewels, with some unexpected pieces thrown in to give us pause. It has served as a pleasant reminder that time, both practically and conceptually, is such a vital part of the jewellery story. Minerals take millennia to form, polished gems may take decades to source in perfectly matching hues, sizes and saturations, and design ideas may take months to crystallise. With such inspiration available, it is surprising that so few chose to interpret gemstones as part of the ‘Garden in Time’ theme! 

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