THE STUNNING OPULENCE OF ROYAL JEWELRY
Obviously there are certain perks to being royalty—having a personal valet, wearing the best clothes imaginable, and donning the most exquisite pieces of jewelry. Throughout the centuries, royals have been dabbling in and refining the art of jewelry making. However, looking back at some of the most stunning pieces of jewelry in history is a treat for the imagination and food for daydreams of what it would be like to adorn oneself in royal jewels.
Marie Antoinette is famous for many things, one of which was her opulent taste in fashion. One of the most famous pieces of jewelry she alleged to have worn was the Hope Diamond. A stunning deep blue stone weighed at 45.52 carats (approximately the size of a pigeon egg), the gem was also known as “The Blue of France.” However, historical record suggests that this magnificent piece was actually only worn by her husband, King Louis XVI. The Hope Diamond is now on display at the Smithsonian.
Queen Mary I of England, better known as “Bloody Mary,” was the only child born of King Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Besides her reputation as a vengeful and violent monarch, she had excellent taste in jewelry. Two of the most breathtaking pieces that she owned were the Diamond Riviere necklace and La Peregrina Pearl brooch. The Diamond Riviere is a necklace composed of 34 old European cut diamonds set consecutively in silver and gold. Her La Peregrina Pearl brooch has a history of its own and is one of the most famous pearls in the world. Set as a drop on the brooch, La Peregrina is featured in a famous portrait of Mary.
Last, but definitely not least, is a royal piece of jewelry from a far more recent time: Princess Diana’s sapphire engagement ring. A gorgeous piece that stands out from the engagement rings of other British royalty in that it was not a custom commission—Diana selected the ring from a design the jeweler (Garrard) had already designed. The central gemstone is a Ceylon sapphire, set in 18 karat white gold, surrounded by a halo of 14 round white diamonds. After her death, Prince William selected the ring as a keepsake from his mother’s possessions. In October 2010, Prince William proposed to his then-girlfriend, Kate Middleton, giving her his mother’s ring.
Regardless of the origin or ultimate resting place of these stunning royal jewelry pieces, they drift through the imagination presenting the average woman with a glimpse of the extravagance of the royal life.