Miss USA 2012: Alyssa Campanella's coveted $298,000 crown

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alyssa-campanella-miss-usa-crown-2011.jpgDresses and bathing suits aside, the single most coveted piece of attire on the Miss USA stage is the crown. The one worn by the current Miss USA, Alyssa Campanella, is valued at $298,000.

miss-usa-2011-alyssa-campanella-winning.jpgIt is described as eco-friendly because Diamond Nexus, the jeweler, used 1,436 white simulated diamonds, which are created, not mined. The piece is accented with 296 cultured emeralds and is inspired by an Arabian flower in bloom.

Whenever the reigning Miss USA makes an appearance, she wears the crown.

Surprisingly, David Profeta, the pageant's costume designer, tells Zap2it, "It is not as heavy as you would think. Because it sits on somebody's head, it can't be overly heavy. It is like putting on an expensive, fully beaded gown. When you hold it in your hands, it is one weight. When you put it on, it distributes the weight."

"It is a piece of art and has a little bit of fragileness to it," Profeta says of the crown. "And it is put together in a way more delicate than you think. It is not like putting on a diamond bracelet. If you drop it, pieces will fall."

The 2012 Miss USA competition airs Sunday, June 3 on NBC.
Photo/Video credit: Miss USA