Princess Diana of Wales was a woman who captured British media’s attention more than once. Her activities as a member of The Royal Family and her humanitarian work were always in the spotlight, and her appearance was never overlooked. Beautiful jewelry was the perfect match for her style that shook the world forever because it truly conveyed her personality. The way she wore necklaces, bracelets, and accessories was elegant and modest at the same time. Today, parts of her fine jewelry and gemstone collection have become true luxury items, and they’re timeless symbols that still speak to many of us.
iBuzz wants to pay homage to Lady Di by exploring the history of some of her accessories with our readers. We also took the time to learn the fate of each piece since her tragic passing.
1. The sapphire and diamond engagement ring
For her engagement to Prince Charles, Lady Di got to choose a ring from Garrad, one of the most renowned jewelry houses in England thanks to the trust the Royal House has placed in it for several generations. Lady Di went for a cluster ring made of a blue oval Ceylon sapphire bordered by 14 solitaire diamonds. The design was inspired by a wedding gift that Queen Victoria received in 1840. Today, this piece is worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. She received it in 2010 as an engagement ring when Prince William asked her to marry him.
2. Sapphire earrings
As a wedding present, the then-Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Fahd, gave Princess Diana a suite of jewelry. Known as the Saudi sapphire suite, it included a Burmese sapphire and diamond pendant suspended on a baguette diamond tennis necklace, matching earrings, and a matching ring, among other things. Lady Di was seen wearing them in many events back in the ’80s and ’90s. Today, the earings made it to the list of jewels that Kate Middleton inherited, via her husband, Prince William. The only difference is that they were modified to become one-piece earrings. We saw the Duchess wearing them during a visit to Dundee in 2019.
3. Butterfly-shaped earrings
During a visit to Canada in the mid-eighties, Princess Diana brought a gold necklace and earrings with her as a set. The earings, which also had diamonds on them, were shaped like a butterfly. Although these were not really prominent or flashy, they caught the attention of the press and became a sort of classic.
More than 30 years later, the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, paid tribute to her husband’s mother by wearing this accessory that was kept safely in Prince Harry’s care. Meghan Markle was seen wearing the earrings during her visit to Australia and on the day her pregnancy was announced.
4. The 4-row Japanese pearl choker
According to the book, Garrard: The Crown Jewellers for 150 Years, the Queen commissioned this choker from a set of the “finest cultured pearls presented to her by the Japanese government” on her first state visit to Japan in 1975. The piece, which includes 4 rows of pearls and a diamond clasp in a curved shape in its center, was lent to the then-new Princess of Wales, who wore it during a state visit to the Netherlands in 1982.
And from the looks of it, it seems that Kate Middleton also borrowed this coveted piece. This can be seen in a picture of her that was taken during Her Majesty’s seventieth wedding anniversary back in 2017 where she was wearing it.
5. Prince of Wales’ feather pendant/brooch
This brooch/pendant is composed of an oval of 18 brilliant-cut diamonds decorated with tiny emeralds. They’re all encircling the Prince of Wales’ ostrich feathers and a scroll inscribed with the Prince of Wales’ motto: “Ich Dien” (German for “I serve”). It also has a detachable cabochon emerald pendant. In 1981, Diana received it as a wedding gift from Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. She soon incorporated it into the Saudi Sapphire Suite’s diamond tennis necklace and wore it on a visit to the Royal Opera House in 1982.
In recent years, the accessory was changed again to its original brooch form and has been worn by Duchess Camilla of Cornwall, the second wife of Prince Charles of Wales.
6. Diamond and South Sea pearl earrings
Princess Diana wore this accessory on many occasions during the ’90s. The earrings have a circular design of diamonds and a single diamond-encrusted pear from which hangs a single giant white pearl from the South Sea. Lady Diana later appeared with a version of these earrings that had the pearls removed.
Like many other pieces that Lady Di wore, these earrings were passed on to Prince William, who later offered them to his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge. In 2019, Kate Middleton was seen wearing them as part of the outfit she chose for the BAFTA Awards.
7. Aquamarine ring
This ring was worn by Lady Di after her breakup with Prince Charles. She first wore it at the 1997 auction of her clothes at Christie’s as well as during a visit to Sydney, Australia. Both events took place in 1997. It’s made of a stunning aquamarine emerald embellished with small diamonds and 24-carat gold.
According to a spokesman from Kensington Palace, this piece of jewelry that was in Prince Harry’s safekeeping was given to his partner, Meghan Markle, as a wedding present. The Duchess of Sussex showed off the ring on her wedding day.
8. Spencer tiara
It was one of the most remarkable pieces Diana wore during her wedding reception with Prince Charles in St. Paul’s Cathedral. This accessory, which was pulled directly from the family jewels, was used to complement her attire when she walked down the aisle. But later on, she also wore it for official events that were recorded in the royal calendar.
Currently, the tiara has been returned to the Spencer family and is mostly used by its members during their weddings. Some of the women who’ve worn this popular family jewel include Jane Spencer, Victoria Lockwood (when she engaged to Charles Spencer), and more recently, Celia McCorquodale, Princess Diana’s niece.
9. Nigel Milne bracelet with pearls and diamonds
This bracelet is one of the pieces that was part of Nigel Milne’s Birthright charity collection. It was designed to have 3 rows of pearls and a diamond brooch. The piece was worn by the Princess of Wales in combination with iconic outfits, such as designer Catherine Walker’s “Elvis” dress.
In 2017, British media, which is often on the lookout for new coverage of royal activities, noticed that the bracelet was worn by Kate Middleton during a state visit to Berlin, Germany.
10. 2-stoned gold cuff bracelet
This golden piece, decorated with a beautiful stone on each end, was frequently seen on Lady Di’s wrist. It was first worn by Lady Di in 1990 during an official engagement at the Lord Gage Centre for Old People, a nursing home run by The Guinness Partnership. The bracelet is now part of the collection of the Dukes of Sussex and is one of Meghan Markle’s most recurring choices when it comes to jewelry. For example, in 2018, Meghan wore it on her first royal tour to Australia.
11. Queen Mary’s diamond and emerald choker
In 1921, the jewelry house Garrard created a choker for Queen Maria of Teck made from a present of emeralds and diamonds from the Ladies of India. In 1953, it became part of Queen Elizabeth II’s collection, and she, in turn, gave it to Diana in 1981 as a wedding present.
A distinctive feature of this accessory is that the Princess of Wales gave it a double use by wearing it on her neck as a regular choker and on her forehead, as a bandeau. After her death, it is believed that the necklace was returned to the Queen and that it remains in her collection to this very day.
12. The “Lover’s Knot” tiara
This piece was designed by the British Crown’s jewelry house in reference to Queen Mary in 1913. It’s a tiara made of brilliant, rose-cut diamonds shaped in knots that create infinite loops. It also has 19 baroque pearls. It soon became one of the Princess of Wales’ favorite pieces, and she proudly wore it during many events. In recent years, the jewel has been worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, who like Princess Diana, has made the most of it by combining it with various outfits and accessories during state visits.
13. Collingwood pearl earrings
Diana received them as a wedding gift from Prince Charles — a set of pearl drop and diamond earrings from Collingwood Jewellers that she wore on an outing a month before they were married. She wore them several times at different events.
In the twenty-first century, this accessory came back to light thanks to another great woman: the Duchess of Cambridge. Kate Middleton has donned these earrings on several occasions as a finishing touch to her carefully chosen attire.
14. 7-strand sapphire and pearl necklace
Another one of the wedding gifts Lady Di received from Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was a large oval sapphire and diamond brooch, which she later had converted into a clasp for a 7-strand pearl choker.
This piece was spotted with great interest during her visit to the United States in 1985, as well as in 1994, along with the so-called “revenge dress.” Although it has not been exposed publicly since that coverage, it is believed that this jewel was passed onto Prince William and Prince Harry.
15. Meghan Markle’s engagement ring
The Duchess of Cambridge is known for paying homage to Diana by wearing her jewelry. But not far behind is the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, who also “wears” Diana close to her heart. We are talking about the ring that Prince Harry gave her before their marriage. According to Lady Di’s own son, the piece was made by combining a golden ring with a Botswana gemstone and 2 diamonds from his mother’s collection. No one has yet revealed the origin of these last 2 diamonds, but the piece is meant to symbolize a neverending relationship.
Bonus: Lady Di’s inheritance to her children
As you might have noticed, many of the jewels worn by the Princess of Wales were passed on to her son’s partners, Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton. Apparently, this is not an accident. According to unofficial information, Diana enclosed a secret letter with her will stating her wish that her entire jewelry collection be given to William and Harry. It’s said that she did that so that their future wives would be able to wear the pieces. Therefore, it is believed that, in many ways, her wish came true after all and that the jewelry was properly distributed among her descendants.
If you had the chance, what jewel from the British Royal Family would you wear? Why?