clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Want to Know How Many Jewels Are in The Nutcracker?

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.


What is Christmas without speak of nutcrackers and sugar plum fairies? Around here, the season mandates a trip to Boston Ballet's annual production of The Nutcracker, a beloved classic ballet that has managed to infiltrate even the far reaches of pop culture. Last year, artistic director Mikko Nissinen reimagined the performance from the set to the costumes, choreography, and beyond—injecting a fresh spirit into more than 40 shows and 11 different casts.

Considering the visual nature of ballet, costumes are an integral piece, especially when accommodating for the dancers' movements. Designer Robert Perdizola was commissioned to create looks for the new concept, set in the early 1800s "Jane Austen" era. Perdizola's looks are defined by intricate details, utilizing a lot of hand work to achieve the lavish end result, including hand inking patterns for several tight-fitting costumes, painting layers of pleated tulle for Flower costumes in the shop, and hand tipping every Sugar Plum and Snow Queen tutu with metallic paint. Silhouettes in Nissinen's production are more streamlined than before and remarkably light to enhance the choreography.

So, let's get down to the numbers. Exactly how many crystals are used on those glimmering tutus?

· There are 18 people in the costume shop.
· The Sugar Plum Fairy wears 2 looks.
· In a single performance, you'll see 182 costumes appear on stage.
· 2,000 yards of net and tulle were used for the costumes. Meanwhile, there were 200,000 jewels used. Yup, it's blingy.
· Sugar Plum and Dew Drop costumes have over 3,600 jewels on their tutus and bodices.
· Mother Ginger's skirt, from which a handful of Polichinelles appear, weighs only 40 pounds due to a light metal frame.

The show runs through December 29 at the Boston Opera House. Tickets may be purchased here.
· The Nutcracker [Boston Ballet]