• Royal and famous jewellery collections throughout history
  • Do the British royals own the most expensive crown jewels?
  • Which celebrities own the most expensive stones and rings?

There’s not one person among us who hasn’t been impressed by a beautiful jewel. Many of these unique pieces belong to the richest people on earth, are part of museum collections or have been set in a royal crown. The value of the jewels is not only to do with their beauty or rarity, but their historical value. This is an overview of the most expensive royal jewellery as well as the jewels that Hollywood made famous.


What is the story behind Marie Antoinette's jewellery?

Marie Antoinette - Marie Antoinette
In 2018, for the first time in 200 years, Marie Antoinette's famous jewellery and diamonds were shown to the public and sold. On 14 November 2018, the Bourbon-Parma family exhibited the royal collections at Sotheby's auction in Geneva.
History Jewellery - History Jewellery
The Countess disappeared with the custom-made necklace without paying. The people thought it was Marie Antoinette, so the hatred towards the royal crown and throne only grew. The press and the people turned against her, and the anti-monarchist movements grew in the country. Not much later, the French Revolution changed the country forever. 

How was Marie Antoinette's jewellery collection saved?

The royal family fled but was intercepted. The whole family was convicted in a sham trial. Marie Antoinette too was sentenced to the guillotine and brought there on a manure cart. The contrast with her earlier lifestyle couldn't be more immense.

Fortunately, she already had her collection of jewellery brought to safety by sending it to her cousin in Vienna, Emperor Francis II, in a wooden box.

The box contained all her famous diamonds, rubies and pearls, wrapped in cotton cloth. In 1796, the queen's only surviving daughter, Marie Thérèse, arrived in Austria. There, Francis II returned the jewellery to her. She gave part of it to her niece, Princess Louise, Duchess of Parma, because she had no children herself. The world famous jewellery and diamonds thus came into the possession of the Bourbon-Parma family.
Sotheby Geneva - Sotheby Geneva

What were the auction proceeds of the royal jewellery collection in Geneva?

Marie Antoinette's smuggled diamond jewellery are also part of the family's renowned collection. On 14 November 2018, it was decided to put the Queen's jewellery on public display after 200 years. At the same time, Marie Antoinette's famous jewels, diamonds, jewels and pearl necklaces were auctioned at Sotheby's in Geneva. The entire collection was one of the most expensiveimportant collections of royal jewellery ever to be auctioned.
The pearl to the royal crown of Marie Antoinette: a diamond pendant - BAUNAT - royal, crown, pearl
The yield was estimated to be €2.5 million, but in the end all pieces were sold for a whopping €42 million.

The most expensive item of jewellery was Marie Antoinette's famous diamond and pearl pendant, which was previously estimated at €1.7 million. After an exhaustive bidding process between several avid collectors from 42 countries, the piece of jewellery was auctioned for €36 million, which is a record amount for the sale of a pearl.
The pearl to the royal crown of Marie Antoinette: a diamond pendant - BAUNAT - royal, crown, pearl

Which French jewellery collection still appeals to the imagination?

For this, we must tell the story of Eugénie de Montijo, the last empress of France, trendsetter and lover of art, fashion and exclusive jewellery.

Eugénie de Montijo was the daughter of a Spanish count and was born in Granada. At the age of six, they fled to Paris because of a cholera epidemic in Spain. In 1849, she met the future French emperor Napoleon III at a reception. When Napoleon asked her about the way to her heart, the bold Eugénie replied: “Down the aisle to the altar, Sire”
The two were married in 1853, and she became Eugénie, Empress of France. A role that also allowed her to put her mark on fashion and the world of exclusive jewels.
The royal diamond crown of Eugénie de Montijo - BAUNAT

How did Eugénie fulfil her role as empress?

Eugénie was politically active and stood up for women's rights. Napoleon regularly consulted her on important decisions, and it was also not uncommon for her to represent the royal crown and her husband abroad. For example, she travelled to Egypt to open the Suez Canal on her own.
She also allowed a new wind to blow through the French court by having several salons in Versailles, the Louvre and Chantilly decorated in Napoleon III style.

When she accompanied her husband to official balls, she was always dressed elegantly and bedecked in the most exclusive jewellery. She was passionate about art and fashion.

How did Empress Eugénie put her stamp on clothing and exclusive jewellery?

Eugénie was a true trendsetter. The last empress of France appointed Charles Frederick Worth, the Briton considered the founder of haute couture, as court supplier. Famous jewellers, including François Kramer and Bapst, also received numerous imperial assignments. Although many tiaras, crowns, brooches, necklaces and earrings were lost over the years, part of her collection of exclusive jewellery was preserved at the Louvre.
In the British royal crown, the Koh-i-Noor is the most famous diamond -BAUNAT

Do the British royals own the most expensive crown jewels?

The most expensive and most extensive collection of crown jewels is indeed that of the British Royals. There's no doubt about that. Crowns, sceptres, swords, tiaras, rings, bracelets and cloaks... the list goes on. The British crown jewels represent an extensive collection that is certainly worthy of your admiration.

If you wanted to buy the diamonds in the royal crown jewels, you would need an estimated budget of €26 million.
Some exceptional jewels were also processed in the royal family jewels. So exceptional that according to the Indian government they are worth a lawsuit! During the British colonisation, the Koh-i-Noor, one of the world's most famous diamonds, was stolen by the British in India. The exceptional stone, which weighed 793 carats in its rough form, is the eye catcher of the British royal crown and you can still admire the diamond in the Tower of London.
The British royal crown contains 2 868 diamonds - BAUNAT

Which royal jewellery is included in the British crown jewels and diamonds?

The house of Windsor had always been huge diamond lovers. The collection includes the Cullinan I, at 530.2 carats one of the largest and most expensive diamonds ever. But even those pale at the sight of the King's Crown, which contains a whopping 2,868 diamonds. The total value of the British royal house's jewellery is estimated at around €26 million.

Where can you view the Aurora Pyramid of Hope diamonds?

We don't have to go far, because the Aurora Pyramid of Hope diamonds are part of a unique exhibition at the Natural History Museum on Exhibition Road in the British capital. It is the largest collection of naturally coloured diamonds, collected over a period of a quarter century. The Pyramid of Hope includes 296 stones in beautiful shades of colour, such as blue, pink, red, green, orange, purple, yellow and brown. Literally a mind-boggling collection of diamonds.

Which British royal jewels are privately owned?

The royal family's collection of jewels includes numerous rings, necklaces, bracelets, brooches and tiaras. Officially, there is a separation between state ownership and private property. However, that doesn't mean every queen complies equally with that rule.

For example, the Queen's beautiful flower brooch, with a pure pink diamond in the centre, is a wedding gift from the mine owner where the diamond was discovered. So, state property. However, journalists have noted that she also wears the brooch on unofficial occasions, indicating private property.

Where can you buy royal jewellery?

In April 2018, another piece of royal crown jewellery was offered for sale on the private market. “You only experience this once in a lifetime” Sotheby's director said when he announced the auction of the Farnese Blue. The royal blue diamond reflects 300 years of turbulent European history and was missing for more than a century. The stone eventually went under the hammer for €5.6 million.

Christie's auction house also had the honour of auctioning a royal diamond.

In November 2017, 'Le Grand Mazarin', the 19 carat pale pink diamond owned by 4 French kings, 4 queens, 2 emperors and 2 empresses, was auctioned for €12.3 million.
De collectie van Liz Taylor zou niet misstaan in een koninklijke kroon met diamanten – BAUNAT

Who gave Liz Taylor her most beautiful diamond?

One of the many provocative statements once heard from Liz Taylor's mouth was: "Women who say they don't like diamonds are women who don't have diamonds". The Hollywood actress owned a diamond collection that can only be described as 'iconic'. Diamond earrings, brooches, a diamond tiara... Liz had it all.

Liz Taylor is sometimes also called the diamond queen.
The tabloids feasted on Liz Taylor's many amorous perils at the time. Her on-off relationship and 2 marriages to British actor Richard Burton led to a lot of speculation. Despite everything, he proved to have a generous hand with diamond jewellery. In 1968, he paid more than $300,000 for the 33.19 carat Krupp Diamond. Taylor was spotted only sporadically without the diamond ring on her finger.

Burton later bought Liz Taylor a 69.42 carat pear-shaped diamond for more than $1 million. It turned out to be too big for a ring setting, so the celebrity couple had a necklace designed by Cartier especially for the occasion. The actress showed off the world famous jewel at the 1970 Oscar ceremony.

After Liz Taylor's death, her entire jewellery collection went under the hammer at auction house Christie's New York. It was auctioned for €106 million.

A record at the time! The masterpiece, the necklace 'Peregrina', raised €9 million. Unsurprisingly, it was also a gift from her ex-husband Richard Burton. The jewellery was part of the Spanish royal crown jewels in the 16th century.
De collectie van Liz Taylor zou niet misstaan in een koninklijke kroon met diamanten – BAUNAT

Why is the Graff Pink an extraordinary diamond?

Pink diamonds are without a doubt the most rare and exceptional specimens in the world. The Graff Pink is also an exceptional piece of 24.78 carat with a very vivid colour saturation. It is therefore a real miracle of nature and will undoubtedly delight our hearts for a long time to come.

Browse this exclusive ring with its pink diamond

Pink Diamond - Pink Diamond
The Gemmological Institute of America (GIA) labelled the Graff Pink as a Type IIa diamond. This means that this stone is one of the purest of its kind because it contains almost no nitrogen. In addition, it was set in a platinum ring, along with two shield-shaped stones, giving it its unique appearance.
The diamond owes its name to Laurence Graff, also called the King of Bling. In 2010, the diamond collector bought it for an astronomical amount of €46 million, making it one of the most expensive diamonds at the time.

Before it was sold, the diamond was owned by Harry Winston, a renowned jeweller from York, for more than 60 years. In addition to the Graff Pink, he had a number of other exclusive diamonds in his private collection. Among others, the famous Briolette of India and the Hope Diamond.
Hope Diamond - Hope Diamond

What is the story behind the World Famous Hope Diamond?

The history of the Hope Diamond begins when French commercial traveller Jean Baptiste Tavernier noticed the exceptional diamond, which, like some other exclusive jewels, presumably comes from the Kollur mine of Golconda, India. In 1668, the diamond ended up in the hands of Louis the 14th of France who had it cut again in 1673, by Sieur Pitau, his court jeweller.

In the inventory of the royal crown jewels, the diamond was described as an intense steel blue stone and thus was named 'Diamant bleu de la Couronne' or 'Bleu de France'.

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The diamond was set in gold and the king wore it occasionally with a ribbon around his neck. Louis the 15th had the diamond reset by his own court jeweller and thus it became a ceremonial jewel for the famous Toison D'Or.

How did the Hope Diamond end up in England?

In 1791, the Hope Diamond ended up in the hands of the French government, after Louis and Marie Antoinette fled France. During a looting in 1792, the Bleu de France was eventually stolen and landed in the hands of London diamond dealer Daniel Eliasion around 1812. Presumably, he bought it from the British King George IV, who sold it via private channels to be able to repay his debts. The exceptional diamond owes its current name to the subsequent owner, Henry Philip Hope.

Henry Philip Hope named the Hope Diamond after himself.

In 1911, the diamond came into the hands of the flamboyant Mrs Evalyn Walsh McLean, who bought it from Cartier and eventually had it set as a pendant in a diamond necklace. Since 1958, the Hope Diamond has been part of the Smithsonian Institute's collection and has since been out on loan only four times. Its value today is estimated at $350 million.

Who was the Blue Moon of Josephine named after?

It's not only diamonds from a royal crown or with a royal history that break price records. In November 2014, the Graff Pink price record fell when Chinese real estate tycoon Joseph Lau set his sights on the Blue Moon. The exceptional blue diamond was found in the Cullinan mine in South Africa only a few months earlier.

Joseph Lau paid $48.4 million for the diamond, which he named after his daughter. The day before, he also bought a rare pink diamond for $28.4 million that he called Sweet Josephine.

Lau. He also treated his daughter with a blue diamond in 2009, the Star of Josephine, though it ‘only’ carried a price tag of $9.5 million.
Woman wears a ring with yellow diamonds from BAUNAT

What is the world’s most famous collection of yellow diamonds?

The world famous Iranian Yellows are all spectacular yellow diamonds. The 23 gems from African mines collectively account for a total carat weight of 1738.51. The show-piece of the collection is a rectangular diamond of 152.16 carat. Nasser al-Din Kadjar, king of Iran from 1896 to 1949, brought the diamonds over during a trip to Europe.

Browse all BAUNAT's yellow diamond rings now

The most famous yellow diamond is the Sancy diamond of 55.23 carats. It has a unique history in which it was in the possession of many influential and important celebrities. Unfortunately, quite a lot of blood was therefore also spilt for it. Several people were killed because they had the diamond with them. After a lot of wandering throughout France and Russia, the Louvre in Paris was able to buy the Sancy in 1978. You can now admire it there.
Woman wears a ring with yellow diamonds from BAUNAT

What is the most perfect diamond?

The title of the world's most perfect diamond more than likely goes to the De Beers Centenary Diamond. When it was mined from the Premier Mine in South Africa in 1986, it weighed a massive 599 carats. After a lengthy cutting process in an underground room in the De Beers Diamond Research Laboratory, the end result was a diamond of 273.85 carat with a rather distinct heart shape.

The De Beers Centenary Diamond is widely regarded as the best diamond ever.

The Centenary is a colour D. That means 'perfectly colourless'. The Centenary is also unbeatable in terms of purity. It is therefore insured for $100 million.

The De Beers Centenary Diamond is widely regarded as the best diamond ever.

The Centenary is a colour D. That means 'perfectly colourless'. The Centenary is also unbeatable in terms of purity. It is therefore insured for $100 million.

Which diamond jewellery became famous thanks to Hollywood?

Woman wears a ring with yellow diamonds from BAUNAT

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Audrey Hepburn is best known for her role in Breakfast at Tiffany's. The opening scene is therefore etched in the mind of many moviegoers. Hepburn parades across the street with exceptional elegance in a little black dress. She wears a striking necklace in multiple layers, large earrings and a tiara.

Maid in Manhattan

This 2002 blockbuster with Jennifer Lopez tells a truly modern fairy tale. A girl in New York secretly wears the clothes of a wealthy guest at the hotel where she works. Then, she meets her great love, quite by chance. Dolled up in exceptional and exclusive jewels, everyone immediately believes her to be a wealthy, luxurious woman.

It is her white gold earrings with marquise diamonds that draw special attention. In BAUNAT's collection, you will find earrings that look pretty much like the couple Jennifer Lopez was allowed to wear. You too can feel like a princess in a fairy tale.

Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly's engagement ring became famous in the last film she starred in, High Society. The actress, who also grew up in America's high society, lived a real fairy tale life. At the Cannes Film Festival in 1955, she met Prince Rainier III of Monaco. In 1956, she officially became Princess of Monaco.

Grace Kelly received multiple engagement rings from her beloved, Prince Rainier of Monaco.

The first engagement ring she received was an eternity ring set with diamonds and rubies designed by Cartier. Prince Rainier didn't think that was enough, however, when he saw the engagement rings of some other leading ladies in Hollywood. Her second engagement ring was set with a 12-carat diamond in emerald cut. This stone was flanked by two stones in baguette cut.

Which celebrity received the most engagement rings?

That has got to be Victoria Beckham. Hubby David Beckham loves to regularly surprise her with a beautiful diamond ring. The former Spice Girl has since built up a collection of a dozen engagement rings, most of which are emeralds, a royal stone that ranks in many royal crowns, or diamonds. Her most beautiful engagement ring with a heart-shaped diamond was estimated to cost €1,265,000.

What expensive engagement rings do today's superstars wear?

Despite the fact that hefty sums are sometimes spent on the engagement rings of contemporary celebrities, it is not always a guarantee of romantic success.

  • Taylor Kinney showed off his most romantic side when he proposed to singer and actress Lady Gaga with a heart-shaped solitaire engagement ring. Unfortunately, due to the pop star's busy career, the couple didn’t marry.
  • Adam Shulman must have thought it could be done better. He personally designed a one-of-a-kind engagement ring worth $150,000 for Anne Hathaway.
  • Actor Ryan Reynolds also put a lot of money aside for his wife Blake Lively. He gave her a red gold engagement ring with a pale pink, oval-shaped diamond worth $2.5 million in 2012. This beautiful choice contributed to the increased popularity that red gold has had in recent years.
  • Tennis player Anna Kournikova's ring deserves a special mention. Strictly speaking, it is not an engagement ring, because Kournikova and her partner Enrique Iglesias have no wedding plans after an 18-year relationship and twins. The ring, with an 11-carat pear-shaped pink diamond, has an estimated value of $2.5 million.
  • One of the most expensive engagement rings in the world is wrapped around the finger of American R&B singer Beyoncé. Queen B's beloved Jay-Z proposed to her with a platinum ring with an emerald cut diamond of 18 carats. He had paid a staggering $5 million for it.
  • Diva Mariah Carey received an engagement ring from her billionaire partner James Packer.The ring adorned a 35-carat diamond, worth $7.5 million. The couple is no longer together, but Mariah was allowed to keep the ring.
  • Despite a $2 million ring, reality star Kim Kardashian was married to Kris Humphries for barely 72 days. He never saw the ring again, by the way.
  • Kanye West also spared no effort to coax Kim Kardashian into wedded bliss. In a rented stadium illuminated by a beautiful fireworks display, he proposed to her with a real beauty of an engagement ring. However, the $4.5 million ring with a 20-carat diamond was stolen when Kim was robbed in Paris in October 2016. The ring wasn't recovered...
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