January 25, 1999 12:00 PM

Tiny Baubles

Diamonds are still among a girl’s very close friends—but, increasingly, those girls are casting off their chains. Witness the so-called floating diamond necklaces: small solitaires suspended on near-invisible filament similar to fishing line.

The gravity-defying gems are hottest with Hollywood’s younger set. “Girls these days are into clean, minimalist jewelry,” says L.A. jewelry designer Ann Whatu (Sarah Michelle Gellar shops her boutique, Rafinity). The tiny diamonds she sets afloat weigh between .05 and .20 carats, making the necklaces “look light and airy and never chunky,” she says.

The trompe l’oeil twinklers can net more attention than even a hefty Harry Winston. “People do a double take,” says fashion stylist Eric Berg, who garbs Jennifer Love Hewitt. Indeed, the pieces create a sense of “mystery,” says designer Jeffrey Beri, whose Micro-Cord necklaces have nestled the napes of Goldie Hawn and Katie Couric. “Some people think you’ve had your neck pierced.” Ouch!

with Steven Cojocaru in Los Angeles

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