Forget being a fly on the wall, jewels are the glitterati’s partners in crime — and fun times. No diva worth her reputation is complete without gorgeous gems. While jewels have always provided a way for the wealthy and powerful to convey their status to the world, they’re also some of the most deeply personal objects people own. Whether you be a queen or commoner, our jewelry is privy to some of our most intimate moments. If only they could talk! Read on to get the inside scoop on some of the world’s most iconic celebrity jewels.
Elizabeth Taylor’s Well-Travelled Pearl Necklace
La Peregrina’s most recent celebrity owner was Elizabeth Taylor, but the prized pearl whose very name means ‘The Wanderer’ has a long and illustrious history of famous owners. The 56-carat pear-shaped pearl had a humble beginning when it was found in the Pearl Islands of Central America by an African slave (he was freed in thanks for his discovery). La Peregrina’s globe trekking began when it was shipped back to Spain to King Philip II who promptly kept it for himself rather than giving it to his daughter as a wedding gift. What the beautiful bauble thought of this change in plans is anyone’s guess. What we do know is that the graceful gem was later passed along to Napoleon Bonaparte’s brother Joseph, and then to Napoleon III. We can only imagine the indignity the one-of-a-kind gem suffered when it once got lost in a sofa in Windsor Castle, and then again during a ball at Buckingham Palace. But at the top of the list of personal insults has to be the time Elizabeth Taylor lost it. One of her puppies had gotten a hold of the priceless pearl and used it as a chew toy! Luckily, La Peregrina is one tough treasure and wasn’t scratched. Start your own exciting pearl story with a jewel from The Pearl Source.
Kate Middleton’s Heirloom Sapphire
Most people know that the Duchess of Cambridge’s stunning sapphire and diamond engagement ring once belonged to William’s mother, Princess Diana. But did you know that the inspiration for the engagement ring goes back to the 1800s? Queen Victoria received a similarly-shaped sapphire and diamond brooch from her betrothed, Albert. She loved it so much, she wore it on her wedding day as her ‘something blue.’ As for the engagement ring, Charles offered Diana a selection to choose from. She picked the enormous 18-carat sapphire, reportedly because it was the biggest one in the tray. It was dubbed the ‘Commoner’s Ring’ because it was not specially made for her. After Diana and Charles divorced, the ring was returned to the royal family. Following her untimely death, Charles allowed William and Harry to pick a memento of their mother. Harry actually selected the sapphire ring while William picked her Cartier watch, but when he got engaged, they switched. The bewitching blue beauty is surely proud to know that it has reignited interest in non-traditional stones for engagement rings, just like it did when Diana first wore it back in the 1980s.
Michelle Yeoh’s Crazy Huge Emerald
Michelle Yeoh’s immense emerald would probably start off by telling you that it is flawless, a very rare quality in emeralds. It might also mention that emeralds symbolize life and prosperity, perfect for the main character’s mother to show — or withhold — approval of the relationship between Nick and his girlfriend. But in one of her cattier moments, the emerald might also let it drop that the budget for Crazy Rich Asians was so small, the original jewel just wasn’t up to snuff. This emerald ring doesn’t have to worry about being accused of gossiping because its owner Michelle Yeoh, the actress who played the over-the-top mom Eleanor, already spilled the beans. When she saw the poor quality of the paste jewel, Yeoh produced the stunning emerald from her own collection. Another bit of trivia Yeoh’s ring may or may not have known is that the original mock-up was based on the engagement ring John F. Kennedy offered Jackie. It is a much more modest Art Deco style than Yeoh’s fit-for-a-dragon-queen emerald-cut. Jackie’s ring featured an emerald and an emerald-cut diamond along with several smaller diamonds, weighing about 8 total carats.
J. Lo’s Signature Look
If the other four engagement rings in Jennifer Lopez’s jewelry box got to gossiping with J. Lo’s current ring, they’d probably say that A-Rod knew what he was doing when he went with the jaw-dropping 16-carat emerald-cut diamond. They might also let it slip that the men who offered her other shapes didn’t make the cut, or last long even if they did make it all the way down the aisle. This £1.3M ring is probably feeling pretty confident about the match. At least for the time being.
Penelope Cruz’s Eco-Friendly Jewels
Penelope Cruz’s jewels would proudly proclaim ‘You won’t find any blood diamonds here.’ Cruz has teamed up with Swarovski to create an entire collection of gorgeous synthetic gems including rubies and sapphires along with diamonds. Several stars have publicly worn pieces from the collection, including Zendaya, Laura Dern and Mandy Moore. Other celebs who are fans of eco-conscious gems include Camila Mendes, Meghan Markle and Emma Watson. Leonardo DiCaprio hasn’t been spotted wearing any synthetic gems yet, but he’s a big investor in the San Francisco-based Diamond Foundry that uses solar power to create lab-grown diamonds.
Beyoncé’s Sparkling Stilettos
For Beyoncé, diamonds truly are a girl’s best friend. No doubt she croons to her collection as she decks herself out in them from head to toe. It’s likely Queen Bey had a chat with her £200K Contessa diamond-studded stilettos to remind them not to trip her up on the red carpet. She probably also gave a gentle admonition to her 300-carat Lorraine Schwartz diamond earrings not to tug and give her a headache when she wore them to the 2020 Golden Globes. Jay-Z clearly took Ms. Fierce at her word and put a ring on the thing he liked. But we can only imagine the exchange that took place as she and hubs debated over wearing their matching champagne pink diamond rings seeing as his square cut outweighs her pear cut by 2 carats.
Victoria Beckham’s Discreet Desires
We don’t need to hear from the former Spice Girl’s £9M diamond and ruby necklace to know she’s always been posh. The gift from hottie hubby David wasn’t in the picture when she earned the nickname from being dropped off at school in a Rolls Royce and toting her books in a Gucchi handbag, but it has likely heard the story. We can only conjecture what each of her 14 different engagement rings have to say about the wedding ceremony that cost upwards of £500K. It would be interesting to hear what her Bulgari necklace has to say about their house, ‘Beckingham Palace,’ which, between purchase price and upgrades, still cost less that the £6M Valentine’s Day gift. One thing Beckham’s bling can agree on: she only accepts the very best.
Wallis Simpson’s Treasure Trove
The media would have likely done anything to be able to infiltrate Wallis Simpson’s jewelry box back when Prince Edward abdicated the throne to marry her. Simpson was an jewelry aficionado and trendsetter, and over their 55-year marriage, she acquired some serious stunners. Her onyx and diamond panther bracelet and the ruby, sapphire and emerald flamingo brooch would certainly tell tales to keep us entertained for hours. But the more sentimental pieces could probably recount many more, including the ruby and diamond bracelet inscribed with the words Hold Tight, and a charm labeled God Save the King for Wallis. Her 19-carat emerald and diamond ring to commemorate their secret engagement would probably have the juiciest intel of all. When Simpson’s 200+ piece set was sold by Sotheby’s in 1987 it fetched nearly £40M, a world record for a single jewelry collection. Among the 1,600+ bidders was none other than Elizabeth Taylor, a friend of the Duchess’. She bought a feathered brooch, saying her dear departed friend would have wanted her to have it. No doubt she added plenty to the piece’s rich history.
Rihanna’s Down-to-Earth Duds
If Rihanna’s pearl choker could talk, it would say: ‘I’m a fake!’ From earrings to toe rings, rockstar Rihanna proudly wears paste. The cheapies at Claire’s all clamor for her attention, and so do the affordable baubles from her mom’s boutique in Barbados called Fab-U-Lus. But Rihanna is too big a name for the industry to pass up, and her gems have become distinctly more highbrow after she partnered with LVMH, home of Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Givenchy to create her own fashion brand called Fenty. Her earrings can now proudly proclaim that Rihanna is the first woman of color to head an LVMH Maison. The pop diva’s gems missed out on a recent Met Gala because she was too busy working on her brand that runs the gamut of ready-to-wear fashion. Fenty isn’t cheap, but it does bring bling down from the stratosphere so we ordinary folk can enjoy it.