By Donald Pang
Famous jewels and the art of crafting it will live on for generations to come. With prehistoric roots, jewellery was first made out of natural materials that were readily available. Such items included bone, shells, carved stone and wood. Jewellery Design soon evolved to a renowned symbol of wealth and status. And today, jewellery is made out of almost any material thinkable to express wealth, status, individuality or all of the above.
These treasures tend to be family favorites for heirlooms due to their durability. Some have collected stories and legends of their own for their dazzling beauty. Other jewels claimed their fame from being worn by celebrities and royalty. Some of them have made it to prestigious auction houses like Christie’s or Sotheby’s. A few are lost, while others are displayed in museums for their historical value.
Here is a collection of six famous jewels in the world:
1) Princess Diana’s Diamond Engagement Ring
This 18-carat sapphire ring accented with smaller diamonds stirred some buzz amongst the public and the royal family. Celebrities and Royalty usually have the option of custom-making their matrimonial rings. Professional jewelers are usually sworn to secrecy about their clients’ details – including the price of the rings.
However, the late Princess Diana chose a ring from Garrard Jewellers’ catalogue. So there was a variety of talk about her engagement ring: that it was available for sale at 28,000 British pounds, it was something that was not a traditional diamond, and that it was not custom made for royalty.
Princess Diana was probably the pioneer trendsetter for non-diamond engagement rings.
2) Imperial Crown of Russia
Also known as the Great Imperial Crown, it had been handed down to the Emperors of Russia when they ascended the throne. The crown was set with around 5000 diamonds from India, set in the pattern of oak branches and laurel wreaths. It is topped with a large historic red spinel weighing 398.72 carats.
Russia’s royalty lived in unparalleled luxury. Everything from the interiors, clothes and furniture were elaborately crafted. Their jewellery pieces were also pieces of art that became living stories for years to come.
3) Moon of Baroda
The gem was originally 25.95 carats before it was cut to its current shape at 24.04 carat. It originated in Vadodara (Baroda), India and belonged to the Maharajas of Baroda. For 500 years, the gem stayed in the royal family.
Fans of vintage idols might be familiar with the pear-shaped yellow diamond that Marilyn Monroe wore in a promotion shoot for her movie ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’.
An urban myth exists that the Moon of Baroda will bring bad luck to its owner if carried across the sea.
4) Heart of the Ocean
The necklace has a platinum chain accented with diamonds. Smaller, colorless diamonds surround the blue heart gem, which spans almost two inches.
It was originally inspired by the Hope Diamond. In the hit movie, Titanic, the necklace follows a similar tale to its inspired treasure. This piece is also one of the Garrard Jewellers’ classic masterpieces. Worn by Kate Winslet’s character, this gem became famous because of the movie.
Replicas are easily available online for diehard movie fans.
5) The “Satine Diamond Necklace”
Made by Australian jewellery designer, Stefano Canturi, this famous jewel necklace has 1,308 diamonds, weighs 134 carats and is worth around US$1 million. It was made specifically for the 2001 ‘Moulin Rouge’ film for Nicole Kidman’s character. Trends from the late 18th century were taken in consideration when making this necklace.
A lot of symbolism is usually used in high-budget films like ‘Moulin Rouge’. This necklace represented the offer of the antagonist to the heroine of the story. It showed a glimpse of an extravagant life in exchange for her love and dreams.
6) The Hope Diamond
It is a deep-blue diamond weighing 45.54 carats. This gem was worn by French royalty since the 15th century. During the French revolution in September 1792, the jewel was stolen and it disappeared from history records.
Sources say that the diamond resurfaced in London in the early 17th century. By 1939, it was owned by Henry Philip Hope, where it got its current name from.
It was given a false curse – most likely to increase its popularity and sales value. The tale says that the diamond was originally the eye of a temple idol. A curse was then laid on the owner of the gem by the temple priests. Whoever possessed the stone would have trouble upon them. But ever since the gem was moved to the Smithsonian Institution, there were no unfortunate incidents linking to it.
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