Princesses of the United Kingdom have been known to wear sapphires almost as much of British Queens. Some of the sapphire jewels that these princesses wear deserve attention amid the many jewellery pieces held by the Royal Family.
Other than her famous engagement ring, the most well-known piece of sapphire jewellery owned by Princess Diana was perhaps her sapphire and pearl choker. Queen Elizabeth originally gave Diana a sapphire and diamond brooch as a gift for her wedding to Prince Charles featuring a large blue sapphire surrounded with a two row diamond halo. The brooch was treasured by the princess, who wore it on a handful of notable occasions, including a stately visit to the Netherlands where the brooch was used by Diana to fasten the Order of the Crown sash that had been awarded to her by the Dutch queen. Eventually the brooch was modified to become the centrepiece and clasp of Diana’s seven stranded pearl choker. The new necklace became an iconic accessory for the Princess, and famously graced her neckline at the 1985 White House dinner in Washington, D.C. hosted by President Reagan and the First Lady, where the necklace captured the attention of the President and numerous stars attending the event, including Tom Selleck and John Travolta. Diana’s necklace made its most recent appearance in 1996, when the Princess wore the jewel for the Met Gala in New York City. The necklace has not been publicly seen since then, as it was not owned by the Crown and belonged to Diana as a private belonging, so it likely now resides with her children. Many of Diana’s admirers and jewellery fanatics alike await the day that the Princess’ sapphire choker emerges from hiding and appears in the public eye once again.
Along with her sapphire choker and engagement ring, Princess Diana also owned a fabulous sapphire jewellery suite. The jewels were given to Diana as a wedding present by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Sapphire Suite was crafted by Asprey, and consists of a necklace with matching earrings, ring, bracelet, and wristwatch. The necklace features a large Burmese sapphire, set in a halo of baguette shaped diamonds on a thin diamond chain, with the pendant motif repeated as the centrepiece of the bracelet and wristwatch. Diana debuted the suite in 1981 at the National Film Institute dinner at the Royal Festival Hall, in London. Eventually the suite’s ring and wristwatch were converted into a choker for the princess. Diana wore the jewellery suite on numerous occasions over the years, but its last public appearance was in 1987, when the Princess of Wales wore the sapphire treasures for a dinner with Prince William in Melbourne, Australia. Following Diana’s passing, the Saudi Sapphire Suite was inherited by Prince William and Prince Harry, who still have the jewels in their keeping.
The Marie Feodorovna Pearl and Sapphire Choker is an incredibly regal piece of sapphire jewellery currently in the possession of Princess Anne. The Choker once belonged to Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia, and had been purchased from the Empress’ estate by Queen Mary of England for 6,000 pounds sterling following Marie’s death. The necklace features a gold geometric sapphire and diamond centre clasp strung on four rows of pearls interspaced with twenty diamonds, and it can also be worn as a pair of bracelets with the clasp functioning as a detachable brooch. Queen Elizabeth II inherited the Marie Feodorovna Choker after Queen Mary’s death in 1953. Not being a fan of chokers, the queen passed the jewel on to her daughter, Princess Anne, although it is unclear as to whether the jewel is still owned by Elizabeth or is the personal property of Anne. The Marie Feodorovna Choker is one of marvellous in the Royal Family’s collection that both displays the splendour of sapphires and carries a multinational history.
Great displays of the beauty possessed by sapphires, these pieces of jewellery will always be remembered as incredible sapphire creations. Read about the sapphire jewels in the care of Queen Elizabeth II in the next installment of this series.
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