They don't have to...Many celebrities could afford to buy the jewelry and fashions they wear to the Oscars and other awards ceremonies, but they don't have to. Jewelry designers and dealers loan the pieces in order to gain visibility for their companies, and so do fashion designers. They allow celebrities (or their stylists) to choose what they'd like to wear from the inventory the designer wants to promote. Many of the designers work with multiple celebrities, so they must be careful not to duplicate an item.
Many celebrities do wear their own jewelry, rather than borrow, but if you see someone wearing what appears to be hundreds of carats of diamonds to the Academy Awards, it's more than likely the pieces are on loan.
The best score for a company is having their designs on an award winner. Think about it, if a current leading lady wins an Oscar she's front and center in a new gown. The hand that holds up Oscar might have a gorgeous ring on it. Close ups would show off a necklace or earrings. Any jewelry she's wearing will get attention.
Photos taken at the ceremonies and at parties afterwards will circulate for years -- and not just photos of the winners, but of all of the popular celebrities who attend. Wouldn't you want your designs in that position?
Some companies have occasionally had problems getting their jewelry back, so now most of them require a signature that verifies the borrower knows the item is on loan, and not a gift.
One person who loans jewels for awards shows is Michael Katz, a Beverly Hills jewelry designer and dealer. He has the reputation of being able to intuitively match people with jewels.
Harry Winston is a company that's been associated with celebrities since its beginnings, so you'll always see their pieces on those who are Oscar-bound. Another is New Yorker Fred Leighton, whose rings you see on the right hands of the Sex In the City ladies. Other famous and less well known designers are represented, too. Neil Lane is another jeweler whose designs are on most red carpets.
If a celebrity trend looks hot enough, costume jewelry companies will produce look-alike versions of many pieces. Remember the pink Ben and Jen diamond ringhow many spam emails did you get from companies trying to sell knock-offs of that?
It's always interesting to see which designs are the most popular at the Oscars -- will everyone wear similar pieces or will there be a huge variation in style? I'll definitely tune in to find out.