The most emblematic royal jewels
Princess Diana wearing the Spencer tiara on her wedding day | Source: Vanity Fair
Members of the world’s royal families have the privilege of viewing a painting of a grandmother or grandfather wearing a spectacular set of royal jewellery, then attending a reception the next day wearing the same jewellery. breathtaking.
Designed for princesses and queens, these extremely expensive pieces of fine jewelry have been passed down from generation to generation and worn only on the most special occasions by members of the royal family.
From lavish jewel-encrusted diamond tiaras to delicate adornments, these are some of the most expensive and renowned royal jewels in the world.
Queen Elizabeth II: Cullinan ‘Granny’s Chips’ Diamond Brooch
Cut from the largest diamond ever discovered, the massive 621.35 gram Cullinan Diamond, this brooch was bequeathed to Queen Elizabeth II by her beloved grandmother Queen Mary for her coronation in 1953. The Queen wore the shimmering jewel for her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
The massive Cullinan diamond was cut into 9 stones, the two largest adorning the British Royal Scepter and Britain’s Imperial Crown. The two that make up Elizabeth’s favorite brooch are the third and fourth largest in the set, weighing “only” 158 carats.
As well as being worth over A$87.77 million, the piece of jewelery has great sentimental value to Her Majesty as it was a gift from Queen Mary, whom she loved very much.
Queen Mary was a hugely popular monarch and visited wounded soldiers with her husband, King George V, and rationed food at Buckingham Palace during the war.
Queen Elizabeth II herself gave the piece the humorous nickname “grandmother’s crisps”, as a token of her affection for her grandmother.
Princess Grace of Monaco: Cartier Diamond Necklace
A three-row necklace adorned with approximately 64 carats of round and emerald-cut diamonds was the gift Grace Kelly received upon her marriage to Rainer III, Prince of Monaco in 1956. Set in platinum in the festoon style, the princess has continued to wear her Cartier diamond necklace during a photo shoot for French Vogue in 1959.
The piece is now part of the Prince’s Palace collection at the Palace of Monaco, but was worn by Princess Grace‘s granddaughter Charlotte Casiraghi in 2021 when she married film producer Dimitri Rassam .
Designed by famed jeweler Cartier in 1953, the necklace was said to have been “something borrowed” by Casiraghi on her wedding day.
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark: Ruby Danish Parure
The Danish ruby parure was made for the coronation of Emperor Napoleon in 1804. Composed of a floral diamond and ruby tiara, a pair of chandelier earrings, a necklace that can be worn in different configurations , a brooch, a bracelet, hairpins and a ring, all set with diamonds and small rubies in clusters, it is indeed a whole suite of jewels.
One of Napoleon’s marshals, Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, bought this set for his wife, Désirée Clary, who was briefly engaged to Napoleon himself. He was brought to Sweden where Bernadotte and his wife were made king and queen.
Désirée Clary, Queen Desideria of Sweden, bequeathed the jewels to her daughter-in-law, Queen Josephine of Sweden, granddaughter of Napoleon’s Empress Josephine.
They then moved on to Queen Josephine’s granddaughter who became Queen Lovisa of Denmark. They remained in Denmark and remained with the royal family until they were in the hands of Queen Ingrid of Denmark.
Crown Princess Mary of Denmark has worn the jewelry on several occasions, including the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito of Japan in 2019, and says she enjoys “playing with it”. The tiara has been customized to fit the shape of Crown Princess Mary’s head.
Diana, Princess of Wales: Spencer Tiara
Worn by Diana, Princess of Wales when she married Prince Charles on July 29, 1981, this tiara broke with tradition. Crafted with over 800 diamonds, the tiara was not borrowed from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but rather was a family heirloom that had remained in the Spencer family for a century.
The main part of the tiara belonged to Diana’s grandmother, Lady Cynthia Hamilton, and was joined with other elements from the collection of Lady Sarah Spencer, acquired in the 1870s by jeweler Garrard to create what is today now known as Spencer Tiara.
Since Diana’s wedding, it has been worn by Victoria Lockwood, Earl Spencer’s first wife, as well as Diana’s niece, Lady Celia McCorquodale.
The approximately A$286,116 tiara was passed to the Earl of Spencer after Diana’s death in 1997, where it remains to this day. Lady Kitty Spencer, Diana’s niece, decided not to wear the tiara when she married Michael Lewis in 2021.
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex: Queen Mary’s Headband Tiara
Megan Markle, now Duchess of Sussex, wore Queen Mary’s headband tiara, worth around A$12.11 million, at her wedding to Prince Harry on May 19, 2018.
It was made from an heirloom brooch from the royal family in 1932 and consists of 11 sections with interlocking ovals and a removable centrepiece. The tiara is flexible and features pavé diamonds as well as large and small brilliant cut diamonds.
Originally given to Princess Mary for her marriage to Prince George V on July 6, 1893, the jewels were later passed on to Queen Elizabeth in 1953.
After much speculation about the tiara the Duchess of Sussex would wear on her wedding day, many say she opted for this piece due to the fact that it had rarely been worn in public by members of the royal family.
Queen Elizabeth II: Brazilian Aquamarine Parure
This adornment began with an aquamarine diamond necklace and earrings and was presented to the Queen in 1953 by the President of Brazil as a coronation gift on behalf of the Brazilian people.
In 1957, the Queen commissioned jewelers Garrard to make a tiara to accompany the demi-parure using aquamarine. The tiara features an elaborate diamond and aquamarine headband base, with three aquamarine and diamond elements placed at intervals.
The adornment saw an evolution from 1958 to 1971 when the South American nation gifted even more massive aquamarines to the queen. After the governor of Sao Paulo gave her an aquamarine and diamond hair adornment, the tiara was said to have been “oversized” by incorporating these pieces.
The Queen is said to be very fond of this A$6.73 million jewelery set as it is one of the few sets in her possession that she designed herself. Her Majesty wore it at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Australia in October 2011 and again at the Spanish State Banquet at Buckingham Palace in July 2017.
Queen Elizabeth II: George IV’s State Tiara
Worn by Queen Elizabeth II during her coronation in 1953, this royal jewel is one of the most recognizable jewels in the world as it appears on the banknotes of most British Commonwealth realms.
Adorned with 1,333 diamonds weighing a total of 320 carats, there is a central yellow stone and the tiara is adorned with four bouquets of roses, thistles and shamrocks, representing England, Scotland and Ireland.
Made by Rundells in 1820 for the full price of £8,216, a very large sum at the time, the Queen wears the iconic royal jewel on the procession to and from the annual opening of Parliament each year.
The purchase included £800 for diamond hire which was never returned. Rundell, however, maintains that King George IV quietly swapped the diamonds for other stones from his extensive private collection.
The George IV State Tiara has two rows of pearls attached to the headband and is worth around A$52.49 million.
For more on some of the most expensive dresses and accessories worn at royal weddings, check out Royal Dresses and Classic Clothing: The Most Expensive Celebrity Wedding Dresses.