There is a widespread misperception that jewelry is only a fashion object. The truth is that gems have long been used as historical monikers in society. Indeed, many gemstones and classic pieces of jewelry have infamous histories that provide historians and fans with a glimpse.
Some have been looted from conquered regions since antiquity. Others were acquired as gifts by celebrities for their lovers and partners, or they resided in the crown gem collections of royals all over the world. All highlight the genius and artisanal abilities of their designers.
The legend and infamy of many of these diamonds and occasionally scandalous origins continue to captivate the globe. Here, we take a thorough and intriguing look into some of the world’s most famous sparkling jewelry. Learn about an evil black diamond that made owners superstitious, a sapphire formerly cherished by Indian royalty, and more.
The Koh-I-Noor Crown: Obviously Priceless
The Koh-I-Noor is a 106-carat diamond that has held the title of “world’s largest diamond in the universe” for centuries. Its history spans several centuries, with the first trustworthy record in 1526, when it was in the control of an Indian emperor named Babur.
The Koh-I-Noor, which means “Mountain of Light” in Persian, became famous across the world after it was acquired by the British Empire. The diamond was awarded to Queen Victoria in 1850 as war reparations for the victory of Punjab in 1849.
As a consequence, Queen Victoria trimmed the diamond’s weight from 186 carats to 106 carats in 1852, increasing its brightness and sparkle. In her testament, Victoria specified that the diamond is only worn by a female queen. It is known to bring bad luck to the wearer if they are male, a belief that persists to this day.
The Koh-I-Noor was added to the crown jewels after Queen Victoria’s death. Since then, it has been put into the crowns of Queen Mary, Queen Alexandra, and, most recently, the Queen Mother. The Koh-I-Noor, along with the rest of the Crown Jewels, is presently housed at the Tower of London.
Princess Diana’s Engagement Ring: Estimated- $400,000
A ring composed of 18-carat Ceylon sapphire and set with 17 round dazzling diamonds. It looks like a gorgeous ring, but it isn’t necessarily famous across the world. However, when Princess Diana placed it on her finger when she got engaged to Prince Charles, it quickly became one of the world’s most recognized rings.
Diana’s sapphire ring sparked debate at the time, owing to the fact that she picked it herself at Garrard of Mayfair rather than having one customized for her, as was traditional. Princess Diana, on the other hand, swiftly became a fashion icon, and her initially ‘controversial’ engagement ring quickly followed suit, becoming the world’s most sought-after form of engagement ring.
Decades later, Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with the identical ring, cementing the ring’s significance. Sapphire engagement ring sales spiked once again, as jewelers all around the world scrambled to stock up on the vivid blue gems to meet rising consumer demand.
Heart Of The Ocean: $350 Million
When discussing iconic pieces of jewelry, it’s incomplete without including Rose’s “Heart of the Ocean” necklace, which she wore in the 1997 movie “Titanic.” In fact, the necklace in Titanic was fake, but the film spurred real-life replicas to be placed for that year’s Oscars Awards.
Gloria Stuart, who portrayed the old Rose in the film, had a similar necklace made with a 15-carat blue diamond, immediately making it one of the world’s most precious jewels.
However, that is not the only ‘Heart of the Ocean’ that has been created. The film also prompted a necklace by jewelers Asprey and Garrard, which featured a 170-carat sapphire and 65 round-cut diamonds. Celine Dion took it and wore it to the same Oscars when she sang the film’s highlight song, “My Heart Will Go On.”
This stone was enormous before it was transformed into the Hope Diamond. It is said to have originated in the Golconda mines in southern India. It was purchased in 1666 by a French jewel trader called Jean-Baptiste Tavernier and renamed the Tavernier Blue. Not long after, it was cut and called the French Blue, which Tavernier sold to King Louis XIV in 1668.
When it appeared in the gem collection of a London banking family in 1839, the greatest piece of what remained of the diamond was titled Hope. Hope was their surname. It passed through various hands until being purchased in 1911 by Evelyn Walsh McLean, a young socialite billionaire from Washington.
L’incomparable Diamond Necklace: $55 Million
The L’Incomparable Diamond necklace is made up of 407.48 carats of diamonds set on an 18k gold bed. Its center contains the world’s biggest Internally Flawless yellow diamond, which is roughly the size of an egg. It is now the most expensive necklace in the world, and it was acquired for $55 million in 2013 by Mouawad, a Swiss and Emirati luxury goods firm.
The enormous diamond in the necklace’s center has an intriguing backstory. Around 30 years ago, a little girl in the Democratic Republic of the Congo discovered it by chance in a mound of mining rubble.
The Graff Pink Ring: $46 Million
The following piece joins the list because when it was auctioned off to Laurence Graff (British billionaire jeweler) for £29 million in 2010, it set the record for the most money ever paid for a gem. Graff christened the 24.78-carat diamond the Graff Pink as soon as he acquired it.
The diamond’s rare intense pink color is what makes it so incredibly valuable. The vibrant pink color is thought to have been caused by the way the stone absorbed light while forming over millions of years inside of the earth.
The Hutton-Mdivani Necklace – More than $27 Million
Jadeites have been adored and worn by the world’s top fashion icons and prominent female leaders throughout history. Perhaps the most renowned are the incredible necklaces given to American heiress and billionaire Barbara Hutton.
The Hutton-Mdivani Necklace is made up of 27 graded jadeite beads in an emerald tone. With a clasp set of caliber-cut rubies and petite diamonds. The jadeite beaded necklace sold for more than $27.4 million to the Cartier Collection at Sotheby’s auction in 2014.
Wallis Simpson’s Panther Bracelet: $12.5 Million
Wallis Simpson was a well-known Cartier collector (due to King Edward VIII, afterward the Duke of Windsor, and her husband). Jeanne Toussaint’s classic panther design is among her treasures. The house’s artistic director at the era was recognized for her adoration of the huge cat, and it became her long-lasting hallmark. Simpson began her cat collection in 1952 with two Cartier panther brooches, followed by this Cartier panther bracelet.
Peacock Brooch: $100 Million
The Graff Diamonds Peacock Brooch do not have as much history as the Hope Diamond, but it is still worth almost $100 million. It was initially shown at the TEFAF art fair in the Netherlands in 2013. The brooch, which is designed like a peacock with fanned feathers, weighs 120.81 carats. It has almost 1,300 diamond stones in white, blue, yellow, and orange. An extremely unusual, dark blue pear-shaped diamond of 20.02 carats rests in the middle.
Lawrence Graff launched Graff Diamonds in 1960. The company is now a worldwide jeweler with headquarters in London. Graff jewelry adheres to the Kimberley Process. An ethical approach that prohibits the purchase or usage of diamonds would prolong human suffering or conflict.
The Dresden Green Diamond
It is the world’s biggest natural green diamond, at 41 carats. We’re referring to the Dresden Green. This magnificent diamond is said to have been discovered in India’s Golconda area. It has a history that goes back to the early 18th century. When it was acquired by Friedrich Augustus I of Saxony. The diamond is presently housed in Dresden Castle in Germany