Sandra Bullock

Kevin Mazur/

Ever wish you could be a star for a day? At least for the jewelry benefits alone! Just in time for awards season, celebrity stylist and jewelry expert Michael O'Connor from StyleLab's preview suite gives us the lowdown on how celebs gets their hands on those exclusive, multimillion dollar pieces (you'll never guess how quickly they have to give them back!) and the rare red carpet divas who don't borrow but wear their own diamonds!

What's the process?
The first step is really when celebrities find out they're nominated. I start to get calls and we have a long conversation about their style and if they were thinking about particular colors. So then I start to pull jewelry pieces together for them. I bring a lot of pieces to L.A. and have private appointments with the people I'm working with directly. Then I do more general appointments, people who have selected a dress at the last minute or still aren't even sure what they're wearing. Now we're getting down the wire so they have to make hard and fast decisions, it's like Christmas buying. They're going to need to choose at least pieces that will work with a number of different dresses.

Is there as much competition for jewels as there is for dresses?
One of the things that's really important is that people are seeing jewelry that is museum quality, very high end pieces, that they haven't seen before on everybody else. There have been several instances where celebrities have purposefully timed their appointments with me either sooner in the day or later in the day so that they're sure that they're either aware of what somebody else is going to be wearing or if they do it early they want to get their first choice of all of the pieces.

Is everything borrowed?
About 98 percent of all the pieces of jewelry on the red carpet are borrowed pieces of jewelry. There are people, for example Sandra Bullock last year wore a pair of earrings that were given to her. Oprah Winfrey actually wears her own jewelry. But for the most part, the bulk of the jewelry you see are pieces that have been borrowed.

And they do have to give it back, right?
It's a one-night only situation and they have to return it directly after the event or by 11 a.m. the next morning and if they don't insurance runs out and they're on their own.

Are there certain pieces that need more babysitting?
Usually if it's over a million dollars, which is very easy to do, then you need to think about bodyguards. Obviously the higher you get the more bodyguards, so certain celebrities do end up having bodyguard dates.

What do you think we'll see this weekend?
I think the big trends for this year is we're going to see color, a lot of color on the red carpet. We're also going to see bigger jewelry, bigger jewelry statements, either layered and stacked pieces or really important pieces that draw focus.

Who are you excited to see?
I'm always excited to see Anne Hathaway because I think she looks beautiful, Angelina Jolie is always very elegant and Helen Mirren I'm always excited to see because I love the fact that here's a mature woman who's not afraid to bear a rack. It's always down to the navel when it comes to her neckline.

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