Thursday, November 24, 2011

Spectacular Gem Collections of Female Icons

Throughout recent history we've been dazzled by household names and icons that flaunt their possessions with sheer elegance. Here's an insight into some of those standout female icons whose names need no introduction.

Elizabeth Taylor

credit: Vicki @ Nostalgic Collections
Elizabeth Taylor was well known for her love affair with jewellery. This year, her vast collection will be auctioned off by Christie’s. It is estimated to be worth $150m. Proceeds from the auction will go to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS foundation. Her collection was accumulated over the years as a result of gifts from the men in her life and is said to rival that of many royal households. Her collection includes the Krupp diamond and the 16th century Taj Mahal diamond necklace, originally a gift from Shah Jahan in 1621 to his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who also inspired the Taj Mahal. Other famous items include the King Farouk bracelet, the La Peregrina Pearl, a pear-shaped natural pearl that was once part of the Spanish Crown Jewels and then owned by Queen Mary I.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Credit: Famous Fashionistas (First)
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, style icon and wife to a US president and shipping magnate, had as exquisite a taste in jewellery as she did in everything else. After her second marriage to Aristotle Onassis, her collection increased significantly. Not only did he give his bride $5m in jewellery, he was known to put Harry Winston bracelets in the bouquets of flowers he sent her. In 1996, after her death, Sotheby’s auctioned off her estate. Probably the most famous of the jewels in her collection, was also the least worn. A gift from Aristotle when she agreed to marry him, the 40 carat marquise Lesotho III diamond was only worn a few times by her and then it was locked away in a bank vault in New York for safekeeping. It sold for $2.59 million during the Sotheby's 1996 auction.

Queen Elizabeth II

credit: david5151
No one really knows how much Queen Elizabeth II’s private jewellery collection is worth. The Queen has never allowed it to be valued. However, rough estimates start at $300m. This collection is separate to the Crown Jewels which are kept at the Tower of London. Most items in the collection are owned by the Queen on behalf of the nation and are part of The Royal Collection which reflects the tastes of the Kings and Queens in history. Other pieces, for example pieces given to her as wedding presents are her own, private belongings. The most valuable piece is thought to be the most valuable brooch in the world, valued at around £50,000,000. It was made from two stones cut from the Cullinan Diamond: one is 94.4 carat and the other 63.6 carat and commissioned by Queen Mary. Queen Elizabeth inherited this piece from her mother in 1953.

Another beautiful piece in the collection is the Timur Ruby necklace which was made for Queen Victoria. The central ruby weighs 352.5 carats along with the three smaller stones. Along with countless other historical jewels, this collection is thought to be one of the most priceless in the world.

In 2012, to mark The Queen’s diamond jubilee, there will be a display of a selection of her most famous jewels at Buckingham Palace.

This article was produced by Ingle and Rhode - London based merchants of ethically sourced jewellery, including bespoke engagement rings, bracelets, necklaces and a range of other fine jewellery products