Snake necklace, bracelet, and tiara
Worn by Rita Hayworth in Down to Earth (1947)
Joseff of Hollywood
metal, glass
BC0881/T0119, N1402
L2014.3401.015.01-.02, .016

Rita Hayworth

Rita Hayworth (1918–87) set the screen ablaze in films such as Blood and Sand (1941) and Gilda (1946). Born Margarita Carmen Cansino in Brooklyn, New York, Rita learned to dance at an early age from her parents. Her father was a Spanish dancer, and her mother performed as a vaudeville dancer in the Ziegfeld Follies. Her family moved to Hollywood when Hayworth was eight, and by the time she was a teenager she was performing alongside her father as his dance partner. Hayworth began to appear as a dancer in films at the age of sixteen, and by nineteen she signed with Columbia Pictures. Intent to transform her into a Hollywood starlet, Columbia suggested that Margarita change her name, raise her hairline, and lighten her raven black hair. Hayworth appeared as Fred Astaire’s dance partner in the 1941 film You’ll Never Get Rich. Soon, Time magazine elevated her star status when they featured Hayworth on its cover around the time of the movie’s release. Astaire later declared Hayworth his favorite dance partner.

In the 1947 romantic comedy Down to Earth, Hayworth wore some of Joseff of Hollywood’s exotic snake jewelry on her neck, wrists, and head. Six years later, she appeared adorned in Joseff of Hollywood creations in the flamboyant, Technicolor Salome (1953).