|Gemstones of the Rich and Famous
Jacqueline Kennedy OnassisJacqueline Onassis was once the wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. She had a large and magnificent jewelry collection and loved large colorful necklaces and bracelets. Jackie O acquired most of her jewelry from her second husband, Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, who gave her $5 million in jewelry and often slipped bracelets into the bouquets of flowers he sent her.
Jewelry owned by Jackie Onassis that was sold at the Sotheby's Estate of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis auction on April 24, 1996 included:
The Van Cleef & Arpels engagement ring that John F. Kennedy presented to Jacqueline consisted of one 2.88 carat diamond mounted next to a 2.84 carat emerald and accented by marquise-cut diamonds.
The emerald engagement ring trend.
Queen Elizabeth IIThe Queen's personal jewelry is conservatively valued at $57 million. She has so much jewelry that she has a special room to keep it in, beneath Buckingham Palace. This does not include the Crown Jewels, which are kept in the Tower of London. Her personal jewels include:
Marlene DietrichMarlene Dietrich used to wear her own jewelry in her movies.
In "Stage Fright", 1950, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, Marlene wears her own ruby bracelet, which was made by Van Cleef & Arpels, Paris, c.1937.
In October 1992, the bracelet sold for $990,000 at Sotheby's in New York to an unknown bidder.
A story goes that during a dinner party at Katherine Cornell's house, Marlene took off her 37.41 carat cabochon emerald ring while she was baking a cake in the kitchen and then couldn’t find it. The house was turned upside down but the ring couldn't be found. It was only during dessert that the ring was discovered by one of the dinner guests inside a piece of the cake!
Elizabeth TaylorAlthough Liz Taylor is usually associated with huge diamonds, she also had a fabulous collection of other gemstones.
As an engagement present, Richard Burton gave her an emerald and diamond brooch that she wore with an emerald necklace he gave her as a wedding present.
Possibly one of the most interesting pieces of jewelry that Richard Burton gave to Elizabeth Taylor was La Peregrina, one of the largest and most historic pearls in existence, a pear-shaped drop that originally weighed around 56 carats and was previously owned by queens and generals for over 500 years!
Earrings to match La Peregrina were given to Elizabeth Taylor by Aaron Frosch years after her 40th birthday. The earrings are natural pearl and diamond pendants by Bulgari. She wore them in the movie "Ash Wednesday" (1973).
Another one of Taylor's husbands, Michael Wilding, gave her a sapphire cabochon engagement ring.
Mike Todd gave her a spectacular ruby necklace and earring set.
In 1975, at her second wedding to Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor showed off
Grace KellyGrace Kelly received a 12-carat emerald-cut diamond engagement ring from Prince Rainier. Also given to Grace was a friendship ring with rubies and diamonds. The prince was said to be one of the wealthiest bachelors in the world and Grace was a Hollywood icon, so the world was captivated by the intermingling of Hollywood and old-world royalty. Once married, Grace did not make any more movies.
In her final screen performance before becoming Princess Grace of Monaco, Grace Kelly wore the magnificent diamond ring. During the film, aptly titled "High Society", actor Bing Crosby looks at the ring and quips, "Some stone, did you mine it yourself?"
Lady Diana SpencerPrince Charles gave Lady Diana Spencer a huge, oval sapphire engagement ring surrounded by 14 brilliant-cut diamonds. The ring was valued at £42,000. Unusually, for a choice made by a member of the British Royal Family, it was not unique and any member of the public could buy the same ring from the Garrard catalogue.
Before the Princess of Wales’s death in the 1997 Paris car crash, the ring was valued at more than £250,000 because of its connection to the royals, and in particular, Diana. The large central stone is a 12-carat oval Ceylon sapphire and the solitaire diamonds surrounding it are set in 18-carat white gold. Diana’s choice sparked a trend for similar rings.
Prince William inherited it and then presented it to his then fiancée, Kate Middleton, who is now his wife and the Duchess of Cambridge.
Sarah FergusonSarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, received a ruby and diamond ring. The Royal family’s choice of such precious colored gemstones for engagement rings started a huge demand.
Camilla Parker-BowlesPrince Charles presented Camilla Parker-Bowles with an engagement ring featuring 3 baguette diamonds on each side. The ring was formerly owned by the Queen Mother and is valued at half a million pounds.
Joan CrawfordJoan Crawford was so keen on sapphires that the press called them "Joan blue" after her. One of her favorite pieces in her extensive collection included a bracelet set with three star sapphires of 60 carats each. She was also the owner of a 70-carat star sapphire engagement ring from her second husband, and a 72-carat emerald-cut sapphire, which she often wore together on the same finger! In the 1940s, Joan added a 75-carat amethyst ring and a huge 100-carat citrine ring, both emerald-cut with simple mountings.
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- First Published: September-23-2011
- Last Updated: March-09-2015
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