LOS ANGELES — It may be the most precious metal on earth, yet when it comes to awards season, platinum tends to get overshadowed by diamonds.

But without this metal, those rocks wouldn’t look half as dazzling.

“It’s the king of precious metals,” said David Skuza, president and ceo of Elara, the New York-based brand known for its square-shaped diamond, a cut that actually holds a U.S. copyright. “When you have a fine stone, you want to mount it in the premier metal, the one that is the most durable and lustrous.”

Elara’s awards season offering is a sparkling necklace composed of 87 diamonds. The piece is part of the special red-carpet collection created by the Diamond Information Center.

When it comes to white diamonds, Skuza added, “you really want the absence of any color, and platinum is the purest of the white metals.”

“Platinum and diamonds are a natural marriage at William Goldberg. It’s about 90 percent of what we do,” said spokeswoman Eve Goldberg, whose father founded the New York jewelry company 50 years ago.

Goldberg feared that after Sept. 11, red-carpet-bound stars would shy away from pricier, showcase pieces. But stylists’ interest has indicated otherwise: A-list dressers such as Jessica Paster, Ricci De Martino and Tod Hallman all stopped by the suite at the St. Regis Hotel where the jewels were on display days before the Sunday event.

And at the Golden Globes, actress Thora Birch, nominated for “Ghost World,” wore a platinum diamond heart she designed herself, as part of a Platinum Guild charity program. “For me, a major necklace is the ultimate statement for beauty and glamour,” Goldberg said. “Of course, you probably need to be a pretty big star to carry one off, like a Halle Berry or Catherine Zeta-Jones.”

But even petite starlets can shine with smaller, more delicate doses of platinum and diamonds.

Bulgari offers three-stone drop diamond and platinum earrings, and Tiffany & Co., which has never lent its jewels for red-carpet wear before, made available its new Lace collection to major stars this awards season.

“They’re very young-looking pieces, fresh interpretations of designs that have been in our archives for 100 years,” said Tiffany’s Southwest regional manager, Wallace Steiner, adding that pearls would also complement platinum and diamonds.

M. Fabrikant & Sons developed its Royal Asscher-cut diamond ring and earrings with the award shows in mind. Other luxe jewelry makers on the diamond and platinum bandwagon include Chopard and Kwiat.

And Harry Winston pinned a marquise-cut brooch to its new, red satin clutch. “Accessories are much more refined this year,” said a Harry Winston spokeswoman, in town last week to help match the sparklers with the stars.