OSCARS: For Jewelry, Old Is In

03/12/2002 AT 11:00 AM EST

Instead of just reaching for the biggest pile of sparkly rocks available, many celebrities are choosing original antique jewelry as a way to stand out on Oscar night, according to Neil Lane, estate jeweler to the stars, reports PEOPLE. Lane's Los Angeles shop houses a vast collection of vintage baubles, including pieces that belonged to Hollywood royalty past, such as Mae West. As for today's stars, Lane says, "They don't want anything straight. They want to look interesting and really cool. There's an element of glamor, especially with old jewelry associated with Hollywood." Last year, Joan Allen wore a 1920s coral, jade and malachite bracelet to the ceremony. And Kate Hudson borrowed a large platinum and yellow-diamond flower ring from the 1930s. This year, actresses including Renee Zellweger, Cate Blanchett and Marisa Tomei have come calling. Blanchett found one piece especially tantalizing. "She fell in love with it and may buy it," notes the vintage jeweler. "It's amazing. People come and say, 'I love this piece. I want to build a dress around it.'" Regardless of their final decisions, one thing is certain: "Glamor is in like no other time before," says Lane. "Because of the Emmys being so low-key and restrained, people now understand that dressing up is not in bad taste. Not loving, not caring, not respecting one another. . .these are in bad taste. But dressing up and putting on jewelry, they're very tasteful."

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