More than 23 years after she was tragically killed in a car collision in Paris, Diana’s image and aura are enchanting a new generation of fans, many of whom were not yet born when she was referred to as the People’s Princess in the 1980s and 1990s. Not only the brightest star of the world’s longest running reality show, she was also a fashion maven and style guru, who dominated the front pages of glossy magazines for about 16 years.
While many remember her for her sizeable collection of dresses, which in later years she would put on display at charity events, Princess Diana was also a lover diamonds and gemstones, who developed a reputation for refashioning jewelry, styling chokers as headbands, brooches as statement necklaces, and tiaras as necklaces.
One of those occasions is recreated during the fourth season of The Crown. During her and Prince Charles tour of Australia in 1985, Diana improvised a tiara by wearing an Art Deco emerald and diamond choker as forehead adornment. She wore it while dancing with the prince during a ball in Melbourne.
The choker, created by Garrard in 1921, was first owned by Queen Mary, and inherited by her granddaughter, and Diane’s then mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II, in 1953. It was unworn for decades, until Diana repurposed it.
A TRANSFORMATIONAL JEWELRY MAVEN
Princess Diana once again showed her talent for transforming older jewelry items in May 1986, when she styled a velvet choker as a head piece for an appearance at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
She refashioned the choker from two pieces, a ring and a watch, which had been given to her to her as a wedding present by the then Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. It was meant to complement her engagement ring, which was a blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds.
The watch and the ring actually resulted in four new pieces of jewelry, including the velvet choker. The last known time she was known to have worn the latter was at an event in Cardiff in 1995, two years before her death.
One of Diana’s favorite piece was also a transformed piece of jewelry worn, which she fashioned into a seven-strand pearl, sapphire, and diamond choker. It started out as a large oval sapphire and diamond brooch, which was given to Diana by the Queen’s Mother as a wedding gift. Diana wore the choker at the White House in 1985, when she famously danced with actor John Travolta.
Princess Diana wearing the seven-strand pearl, sapphire, and diamond choker, during a dance at the White House in 1985 with with actor John Travolta.
The 12-carat sapphire engagement ring surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds, first worn by Princess Diana, and today by her daughter-in-law, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge.
DIANA’S, AND NOW KATE’S, ENGAGEMENT RING
There are several jewelry pieces that are most closely associated with Princess Diana, and one most certainly is the earlier mentioned engagement ring, which is highlighted by a 12-carat sapphire ring surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds.
After the Prince and Princess of Wales divorced in 1986, Diana returned the engagement ring to her ex-husband, and it was stored at Kensington palace.
After her tragic death, Prince Charles allowed his two sons, William and Harry, to select mementos from her jewelry collection. William chose a gold Cartier watch, while Harry picked the engagement ring.
But when William proposed to his girlfriend Kate Middleton in 2010, Harry generously agreed to swap their mementos, and the sapphire ring is now worn by the Duchess of Cambridge.
When he gave his prospective bride her engagement ring, Diana’s eldest son and the future King of England told her that was his way of making sure his late mother did not miss out on their wedding day.