Experts reveal everything you need to know about Princess Diana’s most iconic jewels
From a selection of enormous sapphires to tiaras and pearls, Lady Diana wore some of the finest jewellery from the Royal family.
Princess Diana is one of the world’s most influential women. While she is commemorated for her philanthropy, kindness, and beautiful approach to life, she’s also celebrated for her incredible style.
Fine jewellery expert Steven Stone couldn’t help but notice Princess Diana’s iconic jewellery collection. Not only did she sport some incredible diamonds and precious gemstones, but she also set some of the biggest trends in the 80’s and 90’s.
To help you find out more about Princess Diana’s sensational jewels, we reveal everything you need to know about her most iconic pieces.
1. Ceylon Sapphire and Diamond Engagement Ring
Probably the most iconic engagement ring in the world, we couldn’t ignore Princess Diana’s incredible sapphire.
This 12-carat Ceylon sapphire includes 25 cushion-cut diamonds that are set in an 18-carat white gold band. This alluring ring was a stock purchase (not a custom one) from the crown jeweller Gerard.
In 2010, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge used the stunning ring to propose to Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge.
Whilst it cost just £28,500 at the time of purchase, its value has soared.
Max Stone said: “While Prince Harry inherited the ring in 1997 in the wake of Diana’s tragic death, it’s said he offered the cherished ring to his brother, Prince William, so he could propose to Kate Middleton with it.
“When Prince William and Kate Middleton became engaged in 2010, the royal engagement ring was once again in the spotlight.
“Globally, the sale of blue sapphires increased by around 300 per cent at the time, and even now, thanks to Netflix show The Crown, sales of sapphires are surging, with vintage style halo designs being extremely popular.
“Due to inflation and its legacy, we’d estimate the value of this ring to be around £390,000 today, however in 10 years’ time it’s likely this ring will be worth over £500,000, thanks to its history, beauty, and priceless legacy.”
2. Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara
The Lover’s Knot tiara is a famous Royal headpiece, worn by Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana, and Kate Middleton.
The dazzling diamond and pearl tiara was originally designed for Queen Mary back in 1913 which passed on for her granddaughter. Queen Elizabeth II reportedly presented it to Diana for her royal wedding day in 1981, although she respectfully declined and opted to wear her father’s Spencer’s Family Tiara instead.
Despite this, the Lover’s Knot became one of her favourite pieces, although it’s claimed to have been so heavy that it hurt her head. She famously paired it with a white, pearl-encrusted Catherine Walker ensemble while visiting Hong Kong in 1989.
It is now often worn by the Duchess of Cambridge who has worn the tiara on many occasions, including in October 2018 when Queen Elizabeth loaned Kate Middleton the tiara, plus a necklace and earrings, to wear to a state dinner at Buckingham Palace.
Max Stone said: “The fact that it’s so heavy it hurt Princess Diana’s head indicates that this is a valuable tiara, packed with the finest quality diamonds and pearls. If I had to put an estimated value on this, I would say it is worth around £1,000,000 – maybe, even more, thanks to the legacies of the ladies who’ve worn it.”
3. The Spencer Family Tiara
The Spencer family tiara is the piece Princess Diana wore with her David and Elizabeth Emmanuel gown on her wedding day.
Unexpectedly, the stunning Tiara didn’t come from the royal vault, it belonged to Diana’s father, John Spencer, Eighth Earl of Spencer. It is an aristocratic family heirloom that started in the 18th century.
The tiara was gifted to Princess Diana’s grandmother, Countess Cynthia Spencer in 1919. This famous tiara remained one of Princess Diana’s favourites for the rest of her life.
Both of Diana’s older sisters have worn it to their weddings. In 2018, Princess Diana’s niece, Celia McCorquodale also wore it on her wedding day.
The Spencer Tiara has beautiful diamond-encrusted shapes of tulips, scrolls, and stars. Like many royal tiaras, it was fashioned from other pieces of jewellery.
While there’s no official value for the piece, a similar tiara from the Spencer family with 800 cut diamonds and 48 carats sold for $225,000 in 2018, which equates to around £163,000.
Max Stone said: “Based on the selling price of a similar Spencer family tiara, I’d estimate this piece to be worth around £400,000. With its incredible detail and the high-quality diamonds, not to mention its popularity, this is no doubt a very valuable heirloom.”
4. The Queen Mother’s Sapphire Brooch
The eye-catching sapphire brooch was a wedding gift from the Queen Mother. The breath-taking brooch previously belonged to Queen Mary, passed down in Royal tradition.
In true Diana style, she redesigned the diamond-and-sapphire brooch as a centrepiece of this incredible seven-strand pearl necklace.
It’s been worn on many occasions and is one of her most iconic, statement pieces. In 1985, she was pictured wearing it during a dance with John Travolta at the White House.
Max Stone said: “Princess Diana was a clear fan of sapphires and just like her engagement ring, she only wore the most beautiful deep, blue stones. Looking at the image of the huge stone, it could be anywhere from 50 to 70 carats in weight, maybe even heavier. With that in mind, it could be worth anywhere from £50,000,000 to £100,000,000. This is probably one of the most expensive jewels from the entire Royal collection.”
5. The Garrard Diamond and Pearl Necklace
Princess Diana collaborated with the family jeweller, Garrard and Company for this dazzling yet demure design. She wore this piece during her last official public appearance on June 3, 1997, to a performance of “Swan Lake” in Royal Albert Hall in London.
The show-stopping diamond and South Sea pearl necklace is just half of the collection, too, as the Princess sadly passed before the matching Swan Lake Suite earrings were completed. In 2017, they were sold to private New York auction house Gurnseys where they were purchased by an anonymous bidder.
6. 11-Strand Pearl, Diamond, and Ruby Choker
It goes without saying that Princess Diana was a huge fan of pearls, so it’s no wonder they were a popular trend in the 1990s.
Diana wore a regal purple Versace dress at a Gala Dinner at Field Museum of Natural History during her visit to Chicago on June 5, 1996. The royal accessorised with a striking 11-strand pearl choker that consists of 900 pearls held together by thin columns of diamonds and rubies.
Max valued this piece a staggering £200,000.
7. The Delhi Durbar Emerald Choker
Princess Diana’s Art Deco diamond-and-emerald choker was a wedding gift from Queen Elizabeth II. This enviable piece of jewellery was a gift to Queen Mary by the Delhi Durbar during her visit with King George to India on December 12, 1911.
This gift was given to commemorate the succession of the Emperor of India during the British Reign in India.
Whilst designed to be worn as a necklace, Princess Diana wore this sensational choker as a headband. The trend-setting Princess was last seen wearing her stunning diamond-and-emerald choker during a low-key gala celebration to mark her 36th birthday at London’s Tate Gallery on July 1, 1997.
The royal paired this spectacular choker with a stellar Jacques Azagury black floor-length beaded gown which she received as a gift from the fashion designer that morning.
Despite the headband looking fabulous, Royal biographer Kitty Kelley claimed in her book The Royals that the fashion statement was an accident, as in a rush, Diana tried to put the choker over her head, rather than wait for someone to help her clasp it. When it got stuck and wouldn’t go over her nose, Canadian diplomat Victor Chapman convinced her to wear it as a headpiece instead.
“Whether this was an accident or not, wearing the choker as a headpiece was a wonderful choice. The diamonds in this piece alone are magnificent, looking to be around 10 carats each. They are old cut stones, which makes them even more valuable. While it’s so difficult to put a value on a piece like this that has such a rich history, it could be worth from £10,000,000 to £15,000,000,000.
8. The Saudi Sapphire and Diamond Jewellery Suite
Adding to the collection of sensational blue stones, next up we welcome the Saudi Sapphire and Diamond Jewellery Suite.
The sparkling suite consists of a diamond-and-sapphire necklace, a matching pair of earrings, a ring, and a bracelet, all of which were a wedding gift by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.
Princess Diana cleverly redesigned the ring and the watch from the suite as a choker which, again, the royal brilliantly wore as a headband.
The headband features a large deep blue Burmese sapphire pendant set in jagged sunray fringe of baguette diamonds which are hung on thin diamonds. The jaw-dropping suite is made by Asprey.
Max Stone said: “This is an incredible jewellery suite, especially the necklace which is a real showstopper. Whilst it’s a huge stone, it’s not quite as large as the sensational Queen Mary brooch Diana remodelled into a pearl choker. This sapphire looks to be around 30 to 35 carats which are almost treble the size of the stone in her engagement ring. It would have an estimated value of around £15,000,000.”
9. The Asprey Aquamarine ring
Featuring an emerald-cut aquamarine flanked by small solitaire diamonds, the eye-catching aquamarine was given to the Princess by her friend, Lucia Flecha de Lima, and created into a ring by Asprey in 1996.
While many people claim the aquamarine ring was commissioned as a replacement for Diana’s sapphire engagement ring after their divorce in 1997, it was only worn on two occasions before her tragic death.
The first appearance of the ring came when Diana, attended the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute Fundraising Dinner in Sydney, in October 1996, a few months after the couple’s divorce. She paired the ring with a coordinating pearl bracelet, featuring a huge aquamarine clasp.
The ring, set on a 24-carat yellow gold band, was passed down to Prince Harry who gave it to Meghan Markle to wear for the couple’s wedding reception.
Max Stone said: “Aquamarine is one of the most visually beautiful gemstones. With an enchanting pale blue colour, the ring complimented Diana’s skin tone perfectly.
“Now having been passed down to Meghan Markle from Harry, it’s interesting to know that the Aquamarine’s light blue colour symbolises feelings of sympathy, trust, and friendship.
“While the ring is no doubt priceless, if it were available to buy, it would be worth around £75,000 to £85,000.”
10. Collingwood Diamond Pearl Earrings
The refined drop-pearl-and-diamond earrings were a wedding gift from London jeweller, Collingwood, worn by Princess Diana on numerous occasions, both casual and formal.
Kate Middleton wore the delicate pearl-drop earrings to honour her late mother-in-law at the Queen’s annual garden party at Buckingham Palace on May 15th, 2019.
Max Stone said: “While pearls can vary in price, the ones featured in these earrings are of the highest quality as they are South Sea pearls. Earrings like this would cost between £30,000 to £35,000 on today’s market.
Interestingly, since Kate Middleton was seen sporting these earrings in 2019 at the BAFTAS, we’ve seen a spike in interest for earrings of a similar style. As Diana passed down the jewellery, it seems as though she’s also passed down her fashion influence too.”