Expensive Royal Jewelry

From ornate palaces and heart-stopping wedding ceremonies, to gorgeous gowns and lavish countryside retreats, the royal’s truly live fairytale lifestyles. Royal jewelry collections have long been the most spectacular in the world, containing historic gems whose eye-catching allure is exceeded only by their eye-popping price tags.

Marie Antoinette Necklace

Marie Antoinette is noted for her derisive, “Well, let them eat cake,” comment which ultimately led to her beheading. France’s former queen owned an expressive collection of lavish jewels, the most noteworthy of which was the “Marie Antoinette Necklace.” The stunning piece featured a 7.06-carat pear-shaped white diamond, two rare, oval shaped yellow diamonds with a combined 5.24 carat weight, and a pink diamond on the bottom. The stunning necklace is valued at $3.7 million.

Queen Mary’s Diamond Riviere

Queen Mary’s Diamond Riviere necklace includes 34 graduated old-cut diamonds.

England’s first female ruler, Queen Mary, had one of the world’s most stunning jewelry collections. The Diamond Riviere — or river of diamonds, necklace is arguably the collection’s highlight. The dazzling piece features 34 graduated old-cut diamonds mounted on silver and gold. The Diamond Riviere was given to Queen Mary by her daughter, Princess Margaret, in 1900. The necklace was sold at auction in 2006 for $1,828,224, nearly three times its pre-auction estimate.

Princess Margaret’s Poltimore Tiara

Princess Margaret’s dazzling tiara fetched $1.7 million at auction.

On May 6, 1990, the world watched the first televised royal wedding between Princess Margaret of England and photographer Antony-Armstrong Jones. The princess walked down the aisle wearing the Poltimore Tiara, which was originally created in 1870. The stunning crown contained dozens of old-cut diamonds set on scroll motifs. The tiara was a versatile piece that could be converted to a necklace or 11 individual diamond brooches.  The Poltimore Tiara fetched $1.7 million at auction in 2006, more than double its pre-sale estimate.

Kate Middleton Engagement Ring

Kate Middleton’s stunning engagement ring belonged to the late Princess Diana and i valued at $39,488.

Though not as pricey as other royal jewelry pieces, Kate Middleton’s engagement ring is a historic gem. It originally belonged to Prince William’s late mother, Princess Diana, who received the stunner as an engagement ring from Prince Charles. The ring features a large, oval sapphire center stone, surrounded by a halo of brilliant-cut round diamonds. The stunning piece is valued at $39,488.

Zographgus Collection Auction

rare diamond earrings were just some of the precious jewels auctioned from the Zographgus collection.

On March 25 and 26, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers in Chicago offered up an impressive selection of antique jewelry from the Zographgus collection. The jewelry pieces included one-of-a-kind necklaces and rings studded with pearls, diamonds and rubies. The two-day auction drew big spending jewelry lovers from across the globe, and brought in $3.4 million.

The Zographgus collection was stocked with several impressive diamond rings. A 6.20-carat, antique cabochon-cut ruby ring sold for $146,400. The stunning piece featured yellow gold, a center stone derived from unheated Burmese rubies and 16 mm old mine cut diamonds. Other top pieces included a carved chalcedony and diamond ring which sold for $36,000, and an 8.50-carat natural heated sapphire ring that fetched $61,000. The 4.70-carat, lozenge-cut Shlumberger ring was an auction highlight. The standout piece sold for $134,200.

In addition to spectacular rings, the auction featured several of the world’s most precious gem stones. Two antique, cushion-cut diamonds, with a combined 25.75-carat weight, were auctioned for $280,000. A rare 7.20-carat heart-shaped diamond earned a staggering $448,000. The heart-shaped diamond was graded as a D color and has VVS1 clarity. A pair of antique briolette-cut Victorian diamond pendants was also in high demand, selling for $67,100. The pendants were originally earring components and they feature two briolette shape rose-cut diamonds.

Natural pearls were also a prominent part of the Zographgus Collection. An elegant pearl, platinum and diamond tassel necklace earned $126,840. A stunning pair of diamond and pearl drop earrings was also a top earner. The earrings sold for $43,920.



Tips For Buying Diamonds: External Diamond Blemishes


Diamonds often have external flaws that can be treated to preserve the life of your diamond.

When purchasing a diamond, it is important to know the various ways it can blemish. External diamond blemishes are typically less serious than their internal counterparts. However, some external blemishes can shorten the lifespan of your diamond if they are left untreated.


Scratches are surface lines that develop on the diamond as a result of daily wear. They can also be caused by the diamond coming into contact with other stones on your hand or in a jewelry box. Scratches do not impact the diamonds structure; therefore, scratches do not impact the diamond’s long-term durability. Diamond scratches can be polished away by your jeweler, but the diamond will have to be removed from its setting.


Nicks are characterized by the appearance of surface chips that develop along the diamond. In these areas, the parts of the diamond have been chipped away. Nicks are caused by abrasions that develop after long-term wear. They typically occur on the diamond’s girdle and in areas such as the facet junctions. Unlike scratches, nicks can weaken the diamond over time. Severe nicks may ultimately cause it to break. Small nicks can be treated through polishing and the creation of additional facets along the diamond.


Unpolished areas on the diamond’s surface are called naturals. When the diamond is being cut, unpolished areas are left near the girdle to help the manufacturer create a bigger carat size. Since naturals have always been present on your diamond, it poses no threat to its structure.


Small or tiny white dots that appear on a diamond are called pits. These white dots – or cavities, are holes in the diamond’s facet. If pits are visible, they will negatively affect your diamond’s grade. Shallow pits can often be polished away.


Clusters of fuzzy or white areas on or near a diamond’s facet junction are called abrasions. They cause diamonds to rub against one another if the stones are handled carelessly.  Abrasions are minor and can be polished away.

Sotheby’s Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Auction

This dazzling 8.65-carat, step-cut sapphire ring brought in $852,872 at the Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Auction.

On April 3, Sotheby’s Hong Kong held their Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Auction. The auction included several lots of rare diamonds, rubies and other fine jewels from several of the world’s top private jewelry collections. The single-day auction took in $64 million, making it the second-highest grossing jewelry auction in Hong Kong to date. The auction attracted well-heeled bidders from across the globe who clamored to take home the graceful pieces up for grabs.

The auction’s top earner was a stunning 8.01-carat, emerald-cut fancy vivid blue diamond ring which sold for $12.78 million. The ring is mounted on a stunning platinum band, and the center stone is flanked by a single, shield-shaped diamond. The shield-shaped diamonds have a combined weight of 1.0 carat. The $12.78 million price tag breaks down to roughly $1,588,079 per carat. This is the second highest price per carat for a blue diamond at auction. The highest per carat sale price for a blue diamond ring was set during an October 2011 auction at Sotheby’s Hong Kong. During that auction, a 6.01-carat fancy vivid blue diamond ring was purchased for a whopping $10.1 million, or $1,686,505 per carat.

Other top performers at the Magnificent Jewels and Jadeite Auction include an 18.11-carat brilliant-cut loose diamond that sold for $39. 8million, while a gorgeous, 8.65-carat, step-cut sapphire ring brought in $852,872. A 4.11-carat, heart-shaped diamond mounted ring was one of the more understated pieces up for bid. The elegant ring sold for $41,870, nearly double its pre-auction estimate.

Bonham’s Fine Jewelry Auction Recap

A three-stone white gold ring with brilliant round-cut diamonds sold at the Bonhams New York auction.

Bonhams New York held a “Fine Jewelry” auction at their Madison Avenue location on April 19. Auction lots consisted of contemporary and antique fine jewelry pieces, as well as high-quality gem stones. The spirited proceedings were simulcast to Los Angeles and San Francisco, and attracted a bevy of international bidders who packed the auction house or participated via the Internet and phone.

The auction’s top earner was a stunning 14.82-carat, JVVS1 marquise-cut, diamond solitaire ring. The piece sold for $482,500, nearly doubling its $250,000 pre-auction estimate. Another high earner was a 20.59-carat cut-cornered rectangular diamond solitaire ring, which sold for $254,000. A smaller 4.42-carat cut-cornered, rectangular-cut diamond solitaire stone went for an impressive $116,500.

Antique jewelry was also in high demand, thanks to two distinct pieces that date back to 1910. A belle époque yellow topaz and diamond necklace sold for $15,625, while an 8.46-carat marquise-cut diamond solitaire ring fetched $88,900.

Other hot ticket items include a striking, turtle-shaped, purple sapphire and amethyst diamond brooch. The distinctive piece was bought for $68,500, earning six times its pre-sale estimate. Fine gemstones were represented by an exquisite, 7.10-carat, European-cut solitaire diamond. The high-grade diamond sold for $60,000.

Bonhams New York reports that the auction was a rousing success. Early estimates list a take of $5 million for the single-day event. The impressive tally suggests high-demand in the market for fine jewelry.



Finding Vintage Bridal Jewelry

You can find breathtaking vintage wedding jewelry at auctions, jewelry stores or among your own family members.

Tradition states brides need “Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.” Put a stylish touch on the “Something old” requirement by wearing a distinct piece of vintage jewelry on your wedding day. From shimmering diamond bracelets and natural pearl necklaces, to classic pieces that are centuries old, there are a myriad of options to choose from.

Local Jewelers

Vintage jewelry can be obtained in various ways. Visit your local jeweler to see if they have any vintage pieces in stock. The jeweler will provide the history of the piece, and an interesting story about the way it was acquired. Most importantly, they will ensure that the piece is structurally sound before they resell it.

Online Jewelers

Online jewelers that specialize in vintage jewelry are another option. By shopping online, you have access to pieces across the globe. This increases your options of finding unique jewelry from different regions and countries. You can peruse the online inventory and look at pictures of the jewelry and the historical information the jeweler provides.  On the downside, you will not have the opportunity to see the piece in person. However, if you do your homework and purchase from a reputable online retailer, you will find a quality piece.

Estate sales

Estate sales are routinely held in most areas on the weekends, and they generally feature unique jewelry pieces that were acquired during someone’s lifetime. The jewelry is typically very unique since it represents the previous owners taste, interests, life and travels. Some of the jewelry offered at the sales can be expensive. However, you can find beautiful antique jewelry pieces at reasonable prices. Estate sales are typically advertised in local newspapers or online classified websites such as craigslist.org.

Jewelry Auctions

For the well-to-do looking to make a statement at their wedding, auctions are a great way to find one-of-a-kind fine vintage jewelry. Auction houses such as Christie’s International and Sotheby’s in New York routinely offer up the world’s most glamorous pieces which once belonged to royalty, affluent families and Hollywood legends.

Family Heirlooms

If you are looking for a piece with familial attachment, talk to your parents and family members and see if they have any vintage jewelry to spare.  A family heirloom will add a touch of comfort and a connection to the past, while you head into a new life with your significant other.

The Magnificent Jewels Auction

Forty jewelry pieces from the Lucille Davidson collection will be up for auction, including this flower brooch, adorned with stunning diamonds and rubies.

Christie’s “Magnificent Jewels” Auction is set to take place on April 17th at the Rockefeller Center Headquarters in New York. The auction will feature 300 individual jewelry pieces from the collections of private donors and late-heiresses. Items up for auction include necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings and brooches studded with diamonds, rare gemstones and natural pearls. Individual pieces are expected to earn from $2,000 to $8,000,000, and Christie’s is expecting to take in $40 million overall.

The Magnificent Jewels auction will contain dozens of pieces from the estates of several high-end jewelry collectors. Forty pieces from the jewelry collection of Lucille E. Davidson, an art collector and philanthropist who died in 2010, are up for auction. The collection is noted for its exceptional signed jewelry pieces which feature modern designs, and is highlighted by a “mystery set” of jewels designed by Van Cleef and Arpels. Mystery set jewels include the stunning “Pavot” flower brooch, which is studded with rubies and diamonds, the ruby and diamond “Bow Brooch,” and two sapphire and diamond bracelets.

In addition to fine estate jewelry, the auction will contain an impressive selection of diamond rings. Top pieces include a 6.26-carat, D-color, circular-cut diamond ring, and the “Belle Epoque” diamond ring, a 6.50-carat, D-Color stunner that is internally flawless.

Several of the world’s finest colored diamonds, rare gemstones, and natural pearls are also up for auction. The highlight of the colored diamonds is the 43.49-carat, cushion-cut fancy intense yellow diamond ring. The dramatic piece was designed by Graff and has an estimated value of $1.5 million. The exquisite, five-strand natural pearl necklace is expected to fetch between $600,000 and $800,000, while the pear-shaped, 10.26 and 9.01-carat Colombian emerald ear pendants, and square-cut, 9.13 and 8.16-carat fancy yellow ear clips, are also sure to be popular with bidders.

The Dubai Gold Souk

The Dubai Gold Souk is a jewelry lover's paradise, with world class diamonds and precious gems for sale in an extensive array or styles.

Dubai is a renowned Middle East destination known as the playground for the rich. The desert gem rose to international prominence due to its futuristic architecture, lavish attractions and opulent lifestyle. The United Arab Emirates’ most famous city is also a top destination for jewelry lovers. In fact, Dubai’s legendary jewelry prowess has led to it being dubbed “the City of Gold.”

Dubai’s main trading district for jewelry is the dazzling Dubai Gold Souk, an open-air market nestled along the narrow alleyways of the old Deira area. The marketplace gained notoriety in the 1940s after the government lessened restrictions on free trade. Today, the district is a popular spot for tourists looking to score fine jewelry products at deeply discounted prices.

The Dubai Gold Souk is home to approximately 300 retailers that supply the majority of the Middle East’s jewelry. The district is the second largest distributor of gold bullion in the world. According to industry estimates, 95% of the yellow gold sold at the Dubai Gold Souk is 21 karat, while the remaining 5% is 18 karat. The Dubai Gold Souk is strictly regulated by the government; therefore, the jewelry sold there is genuine.

The Dubai Gold Souk offers a staggering selection of wrist and foot bangles, necklaces, amulets, rings and pendants that feature a distinct Middle Eastern flair. Retailers also offer impressive selections of diamonds, platinum and sterling silver jewelry.  The jewelry is so glamorous that it is routinely featured in Bollywood films, where it is worn by India’s biggest stars.

If you find yourself in Dubai with a little time to kill, spend the day at the Dubai Gold Souk. Whether you are in the market for jewelry, or are simply looking for an interesting place to people-watch, the marketplace is among the city’s must-see attractions.

The World’s Most Expensive Jewelry

The sale of expensive jewelry generates headlines across the globe. Diamond lovers and appreciators of artistic pieces wait with baited breath to see what these unique jewels will earn when offered up at the world’s most prestigious auction houses.

The Onyx Panther Bracelet, designed by Cartier, is among the world’s priciest pieces. The bracelet was auctioned by Sotheby’s in 2010 for a whopping $7 million due to its exquisite design and royal lineage.

The luxurious piece is a symbol of the forbidden love shared between King Edward VIII of England and his mistress, Wallis Simpson, an American Socialite. Since Simpson was a divorcee, their relationship was frowned upon by the Royal Family and British Government. However, the King was so enamored with Simpson that he announced a royal abdication in December 1936 in order to marry her. Following the abdication, Edward was given the title His Royal Highness the Duke of Windsor by his brother George VI. When Edward married Wallis the following year, she was crowned the Duchess of Windsor.

The Onyx Panther Bracelet is a striking piece with a fascinating royal history.

The Duchess of Windsor received the bracelet as a gift from her husband in 1952. The Onyx Panther Bracelet has a total width of 6.5-inches and a total length of 7.7-inches. The panther’s body is composed of pave-set brilliant and single-cut diamonds, calibre-cut onyx and platinum, while its illustrious eyes are made from marquise-shaped emeralds.

The story of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson was chronicled in the 2011 film, “W.E.” directed by Madonna.

The Sun Drop Diamond is the world's most revered yellow diamond.

The Sun Drop Diamond is arguably the world’s most illustrious yellow diamond. Originally discovered in South Africa in 2010, the 110.03-carat stone was graded Fancy Vivid Yellow by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). To date, Fancy Vivid Yellow is the highest-color grading ever given to a yellow diamond. Since its discovery, the diamond has been exhibited across the globe, including an extended stay at London’s Natural History Museum. In November 2011, the Sun Drop Diamond fetched $10.9 million at a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva, Switzerland.

The World’s First All-Diamond Ring

 The world's first all-diamond ring dwarfs Kim Kardashian's and Elizabeth Taylor's famed diamonds.

Swiss designer Shawesh Jewelry has unveiled what they are claiming as “The World’s First All Diamond Ring.” The designer is trumpeting their 150-carat sparkler which is valued at a jaw-dropping price of $70 million. According to Mohammad Shawesh, CEO of the Geneva-based design house, the ring took over a year to create. In a 2011 interview with Vogue UK, Shawesh stated that the idea for the ring came from his desire “to do something new.” Shawesh continued by saying that “A ring made entirely of diamonds seemed like a fantasy. It seemed impossible, so we decided to embark upon the adventure of creating it.”

To create the all-diamond stunner, a design team used special laser equipment to form the piece from a single massive rock. The special laser equipment allowed designers to cut directly into the diamond with expert precision and to create the oversized piece without sacrificing the diamond’s integrity.

Shawesh Jewelry’s all-diamond ring was recently displayed at the 2012 edition of “BaselWorld Watch and Jewelry Show” and it was the talk of the event. The high-profile exhibition is held annually and it features the latest designs from the world’s top jewelry design houses.

By comparison, the all-diamond ring is five times larger than the stunning, 20.5-carat engagement ring Kim Kardashian was presented with before her 72-day marriage to NBA basketball star Kris Humphries. In fact, the all-diamond ring makes Elizabeth Taylor’s world-famous 33.19-carat diamond ring seem passé.

With so many carats on display, the ring will be coveted by a who’s who of diamond lovers looking to flaunt their wealth. The lucky lady who receives the all-diamond ring will forever hold the trump card whenever carat size is mentioned. Most importantly, she will be walking around with the key to a cushy lifestyle wrapped around her finger.

I guess diamonds truly are a girl’s best friend.