The Jewellery of Princess Diana
The British Royal Family have accumulated an extremely impressive collection of jewellery over the years, with different members holding on to specific pieces. Princess Diana is renowned for pairing her elegant sense of dress with beautiful pieces of jewellery, and some of these were given to her as gifts while members of the Royal Family lent others to her. The following article will examine some of the most famous pieces from the Princess of Wales jewellery collection.
Princess Diana’s Tiaras
Perhaps the most famous of all tiaras in her collection, the Spencer Tiara was originally given as a wedding gift to Countess Cynthia Spencer from Lady Sarah Spencer in 1919. This piece of jewellery consists of large gold scrolling foliage adorned with tulip flowers and star shapes that are decorated with diamonds and set in silver. Diana’s father, John Spencer gave her the Spencer Tiara before her wedding to the Prince of Wales.
The Spencer Tiara has actually been worn by other female members of the Spencer family on their wedding days, and was extremely loved by Princess Diana. Another popular tiara worn by Princess Diana on a number of occasions is the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara, which was originally owned by Queen Mary.
Garrards created the tiara in 1914 based on a design approved by Queen Mary, which is fashioned after a very popular style first owned by Queen Mary’s grandmother.
The Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara consists of diamonds and pearls from Queen Mary’s personal collection set into a silver holder. Queen Elizabeth II wore this tiara on special occasions, and she gave this piece of jewellery to Princess Diana as a wedding gift in 1981.
Princess Diana’s Rings
Princess Diana’s most known ring is the diamond sapphire engagement ring that was given to her by Prince Charles after he asked her to marry him.
The ring consists of a large sapphire fashioned into an oval shape that is surrounded by fourteen diamonds and set into an eighteen-carat white gold band. Although no one is sure of the exact value of the sapphire, many believe it to be between nine and ten carats. Princess Diana’s Aquamarine Ring is another famous piece of jewellery from her collection, and was manufactured by Asprey in 1997 after Diana commissioned them to do so.
The ring is made up of an emerald cut aquamarine that is surrounded by smaller solitaire diamonds. The stones are set into twenty-four carat yellow gold which helps the colour of the stones to really stand out and catch the light. Princess Diana famously wore this ring at the Christie’s Auction reception where she auctioned off seventy-nine dresses for charity.
Princess Diana’s Necklaces
The Swan Lake Suite is a stunning necklace that was worn by Princess Diana to the Royal Gala performance of Swan Lake, which took place in June 1997 at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
This is another piece of jewellery commissioned by Princess Diana and created by Garrards, and Princess Diana had considerable input into the design of the necklace and the jewellery that would adorn it. For this piece the Princess of Wales chose her five of her favourite South Sea pearls, which hang from the main silver drop on the necklace. Garrards also made matching earrings, although both the necklace and the earrings were not fully finished at the time of the ballet, and Princess Diana returned them to the jewellers after the performance to have them completed. Sadly, the Princess died before she got a chance to wear the finished pieces, and the Swan Lake Suite was privately sold to an English couple a few years later. The couple in turn auctioned off the jewellery and donated a large portion of the proceeds to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.
The King Faisal of Saudi Arabia Necklace is a very impressive piece of jewellery that consists of a fringe necklace with drop diamonds that is set with a number of baquettes and brilliant diamonds. The necklace was designed by the renowned American jewellery designer Harry Winston, and was given to Queen Elizabeth II by King Faisal as a gift in 1967 during his state visit to the United Kingdom.
Queen Elizabeth II loaned the necklace to Princess Diana in 1983 during her state visit to Australia.
Princess Diana’s Earrings
Possibly the best known earrings in Princess Diana’s collection are those that were given to her in addition to her engagement ring. These earrings are matching to the engagement ring Prince Charles gave her and also consist of sapphires surrounded by bright diamonds.
The earrings were originally set into studs but have been changed since Prince William gave them to his wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Catherine had the studs removed and the earrings are now drop style and hang from a thin piece of silver. Queen Elizabeth II also loaned her Pear Drop Earrings to Princess Diana during her Australia State trip. The earrings have a modern gold setting and are made from stones from the Royal Family Collection.
The Future for Princess Diana’s Jewels
Princess Diana tragically died in a car crash in 1997, but not before she had a will written up leaving the various pieces of jewellery she had accumulated over the years to the future wives of her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.
Indeed, it was Diana’s engagement ring that Princes William gave to his then wife to be, Kate Middleton. We can only assume that Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge will continue to wear more pieces on both official duties and during ceremonial and celebratory events.