Here in this gallery, we highlight some of the most famous, most fabulous — not to mention most expensive — jewels in the world!
This 68-carat diamond ring was given to actress Elizabeth Taylor by her husband, actor Richard Burton in 1968. Taylor found the diamond too big and heavy for a ring, so she had it made into a customized pendant for a necklace. This Harry Winston-cut diamond is now in the property of Robert Mouawad of the Mouawad family of jewels. Side note: This diamond is over twice the size of Kim Kardashian’s engagement ring!
This 128-carat yellow diamond was discovered in the Kimberley Mine, South African in 1877. Two years after, New York jeweler Tiffany acquired the diamond in its original uncut form — which weighed about 287.42 carats — making it as one of the biggest diamonds ever found on earth.
The Tiffany Diamond (also known as Tiffany Yellow Diamond) magnified its noble status when screen legend Audrey Hepburn briefly wore it in publicity photos for her film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It is now in a permanent display at Tiffany’s Fifth Avenue store.
This 56.15-carat unmounted heart-shaped diamond used to be a part of Christie’s jewelry collection until it was sold for a staggering $700,000 in 2003.
This gem-dripping brooch, made in 1855, is supposed to be one of Empress Eugenie’s favorite jewels. Originally it was made to be a ribbon, but Empress Eugenie requested to update it into a brooch, which certainly captured a lot of attention. The Louvre acquired this elaborate piece of jewel for almost $11 million.
This dazzling and colorful necklace, also known as the “Tutti Frutti,” is one of Cartier’s famous creations. In 1936 the necklace was commissioned by heiress and socialite Daisy Fellowes. It consists of platinum and white gold which are studded with dozens of diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds cut in different shapes. This Indian-style necklace helped ignite Cartier’s “Art Deco” craze.
The La Peregrina necklace is a beautiful piece of jewelry studded with pearls (including a heart-shaped pearl pendant), rubies, and diamonds. It used to be owned by a succession of European kings and queens (including Prince Philip II of Spain and Bloody Mary) until it landed in the hands of actress Elizabeth Taylor (again). Her husband Richard Burton even outbid a prince just to buy this necklace as a gift for her in 1969.
Parisian fashion designer Paloma Picasso is best known for her work with Tiffany & Co. Her most famous creation is probably the Kunzite Gem, a necklace which Picasso crafted to celebrate the New York-based jeweler’s 100th anniversary. This piece features a 396.30 carat Kunzite gem mined from Afghanistan. It is now on display in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.
This 18-carat sapphire ring, lined with diamonds, is probably the most famous engagement ring. The late Princess Diana herself chose it back in 1981. Her choice sparked a bit of an uproar because during that time the ring cost around $60,000, which meant that it was “cheap” by royal standards and therefore any commoner who had money could afford to buy it. However, Princess Di made the ring a legendary piece. Her son Prince William presented it as an engagement ring to his then-fiancee Kate Middleton (now Duchess Kate) back in 2010. The iconic sapphire ring is now a family heirloom piece.
One of the most valuable emerald-and-diamond tiaras, it was commissioned by a German prince for his spouse, Princess Katharina, in 1900. This fine tiara consists of eleven rare pear-shaped Colombian emeralds and was last auctioned by Sotheby’s in Geneva for a staggering $12.7 million.
Elizabeth Taylor (once again) is one of the previous owners of this gold-and-ruby heart-shaped necklace, also a gift from husband Richard Burton in 1972. The heart-shaped pendant is made of diamond and has the name “Nur Jahan” inscribed on it. It is assumed that the necklace was owned by the great emperor Shah Jahan, a gift to him from his father Mughal Emperor Shah Jahangir. Shah Jahan then presented this necklace as a gift to his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal.
Touted as the largest-known pear-shaped diamond, The Cora weighs 110.3 carats. It was sold at auction at Sotheby’s for a whopping $10.9 million. The Cora was found pretty recently, in 2010, from a South African mine.
One of jeweler Harry Winston’s most well-known pieces, this necklace features 36 beautiful Sri Lankan sapphires. Altogether, these blue gems weigh a total of 195 carats. Adorned further by diamonds which weigh an additional 83.75 carats, the necklace has a total of 276.75 carats. You will now be able to have a view of the necklace at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.
If the necklace looks familiar to you, you may have seen it in the blockbuster film Titanic. While the “Heart of the Ocean” never existed in reality, rumors circulated that it was patterned after an actual necklace (which may not have been made of sapphire nor been heart-shaped) found on the Titanic and is known as the “Love of the Sea.”
The most celebrated diamond in the world is supposedly the most cursed, despite the name. Most of its previous owners and their families (such as the McLeans and Lord Francis Hope) have either died from accident, suicide, and murders, or have suffered divorces, bankruptcies, and other sorts of ill fate. Harry Winston, who reshaped the diamond, owned it for some time until he donated it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958. It still remains in the museum up to the present. The Hope Diamond weighs a whopping 45.52 carats and has a deep blue color.
This sapphire from Sri Lanka is the second biggest sapphire in the world, having about the shape of an egg. Polly Logan, a Washington D.C. socialite, used to own this stone before donating it to the Smithsonian Institution in the early 1960s. It is still on display in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.
The diadem was initially designed with emeralds but was later replaced by Persian turquoise stones. Jewelry maker Van Cleef and Arpels installed these stones in the diadem, and in 1962 it was up for display at the Louvre. These 79 turquoise stones are surrounded by 1,006 diamonds.