Diana, Princess of Wales, played a pioneering role in revolutionizing British fashion. Once a naïve 20-year-old with huge public responsibilities, Diana gracefully grew from being a girl struggling with protocol into becoming a wildly popular young mother, and eventually the sleek, confidently stylish People’s Princess the whole world had begun to love.
Graceful in whatever she wore; Diana had an impact on fashion like no other royalty before her. As a public figure, the Princess’s sense of style was under constant scrutiny, both by the public and the media.
From an excerpt from her book, ‘Diana, fashion and style’, the writers, Beatrice Behlen and Joanna Marschner mention that, ‘For Diana, clothes were part of a charisma captured in the camera eye. But the process became extremely thought-out and planned as the Princess took control of how she was represented.’
But, Diana’s style and her clothes could only be imitated but never duplicated.
Once she married Prince Charles in 1981, Lady Di gained access to a wide range of the British family jewels that had been accumulated over the years. While some were gifted to her, others she chose. Her favourite jewelry styles included pearls of all types, which became synonymous with her many an official galas. Chokers were another one of her favourites, some simple and others ornate.
Diana’s sense of dressing and style was bold and she wasn’t afraid to combine elements from one piece of jewelry into another or wear jewelry in non-traditional ways. This blog will examine some of the most famous pieces from the Princess of Wales jewelry collection.
THE SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND ENGAGEMENT RING
Created by Garrards in 1980, the ring, set in 18-carat white gold is made up of a 12-carat oval Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 14 solitaire cut diamonds. The ring was later presented to Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge on the occasion of her engagement to Prince William.
The Princess’ wedding band was made from the last of a soft nugget of Welsh gold, mined at the famous Clogau St. David’s gold mine. Pieces from the same nugget had earlier been used to make wedding rings for the Queen Mother, the Queen, Princesses Margaret and Anne.
‘I Love You, Diana’, is engraved on the inside of this wedding band.
One of the most famous of all tiaras in Diana’s collection, the Spencer Tiara was originally given as a wedding gift to Countess Cynthia Spencer from Lady Sarah Spencer in 1919. The Spencer Tiara is in the form of scrolling foliage adorned with tulip flowers and star shapes that are decorated with diamonds and set in silver.
The tiara along with the Princess’ wedding gown, and other items have been kept on display at an exhibition called ‘Diana – A Celebration’ at Althorp. The exhibition is open between July 1 and August 31 of each year.
Originally owned by Queen Mary, Diana was seen wearing the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara on various occasions. Designed by Garrards in 1914, this silver, diamond and pearl tiara consists of diamonds and pearls from Queen Mary’s personal collection set into a silver holder. Queen Elizabeth II also sported this fine piece of jewelry at a number of events but presented it to Lady Di on her wedding to Prince Charles.
Princess Diana wore this stunning necklace of created by Garrards to the royal gala performance of the ballet, Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall in London in June 1997. The necklace consisted of South Sea Pearls which were regarded as the Princess’ favourite.
THE KING FAISAL OF SAUDI ARABIA NECKLACE
Designed by American jeweler Harry Winston and presented to the Queen by King Faisal in 1967 during his state visit to England, this impressive piece of jewelry consists of a fringe necklace with drop diamonds and is set with a number of baquettes and brilliant diamonds.
The Sapphire and Pearl Choker was not a choker when it was gifted to Lady Di by the Queen Mother Diana’s nuptials with Charles. It was originally a 20-carat brooch surrounded by two rows of diamonds to which Diana later attached four separate rows of pearls and turned it into a choker.