Fit for a Queen (Literally): A Look at the Most Expensive Jewelry Pieces in History

Image credit: Legion-Media

The royal family's jewellery collection: sparkling proof that money can buy happiness (or at least, bling).

Money is no object when it comes to royal outfits and jewellery: no expense is spared, be it fabrics, precious stones or metals. Some royal outfits are appraised at hundreds of thousands of dollars with jewellery usually making up the bulk of the value. We look at the most expensive royal jewellery pieces from tiaras to brooches.

Princess Diana’s Tiara

One of Lady Di’s most recognisable jewellery pieces was her famous tiara. It was originally made in 1914 by Garrard & Co for the Queen Mary of Teck. For a spell, the tiara belonged to Queen Elizabeth II, who then gave it to Princess Diana as a wedding gift. The tiara is made of white gold and decorated with diamonds and pearls. It is estimated to be worth $2 million. Today, it is worn by Kate Middleton, the current Duchess of Cambridge.

Necklace of the French Queen Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette, the last French queen executed during the French revolution, loved beautiful and expensive jewellery. One famous piece that belonged to her is a necklace of white diamonds weighing in at an impressive 8.05 carats, including two rare 5.24 carat yellow diamonds and one pink one. The piece is estimated to be worth $3.7 million

Cullinan III & IV brooch

Early 20th century saw the discovery in Africa of the most expensive diamond called Cullinan. The stone was so large that nobody managed to fit it into a single piece of jewellery so it was cut up into four parts. Two of these, the third and the fourth, were set into the king’s brooch. The value of the brooch has never been appraised but the Cullinan stone is estimated to be worth $ 2 billion. The largest piece of the Cullinan stone was fitted into the crown of King Edward VIII.

Vladimir Tiara

The piece was originally made in Russia but now belongs to the British royal family. It was given as a wedding gift to Princess Maria Pavlovna and Prince Vladimir Alexandorvich, the son of Alexander II. It was later taken out of Russia and purchased by Queen Mary of Teck for almost $470,000. The tiara is comprised of rings with pearls suspended inside it. These can be replaced with emeralds. The piece has never been appraised, but it stands to reason that its value would have gone up considerably since it last changed hands.