The Crown Season 5 has dropped on Netflix, and Princess Diana is at the center of the story. The new season covers a difficult time in royal history, the 1990s, which were also the final years of Diana’s life.
Twenty-five years after her tragic death, the late Princess of Wales is still one of the most influential women in the world. She’s still celebrated for her approach to life, the way she mothered her children, her kindness, and her philanthropy. She’s also still well-known for her iconic style, which always included some amazing pieces of jewelry from her enviable collection.
“Princess Diana wore jewelry in a unique way, knowing exactly how to make each piece stand out. From remodeling brooches into necklaces to wearing chokers as headbands, she set some huge trends and showcased her jewels in a unique way,” says leading jewelry expert, Maxwell Stone.
As we eagerly binge the new season of The Crown, let’s take a look back at the 10 times Princess Diana set trends with her jewelry.
1. Princess Diana’s engagement ring is iconic
At the time it was purchased from crown jeweler Gerard, Diana’s Ceylon sapphire and diamond engagement ring cost just $32,500 (£28,500). The reason for the low cost was that it was a stock purchase instead of a custom one.
Now, as one of the most iconic engagement rings in world history, its value has soared. Current estimates are around $445,000 (£390,000), with a projected increase over the next decade.
The 12-carat Ceylon sapphires include 25 cushion-cut diamonds that are set in an 18-carat white gold band. After Diana’s death, Prince Harry inherited the ring from her collection. However, he gave it to his brother Prince William when he was ready to propose to Kate Middleton in 2010.
The current Princess of Wales now wears Diana’s engagement ring as her own.
“Globally, the sale of blue sapphires increased by around 300 percent at the time, and even now, thanks to Netflix show The Crown, sales of sapphires are surging, with vintage style halo designs being extremely popular,” Stone says.
2. The Lover’s Knot Tiara hurt her head
The Lover’s Knot tiara is a famous royal headpiece that’s been worn by generations of royal women — most recently Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Diana, and Kate Middleton. However, the piece actually dates back to 1913 when the dazzling diamond and pearl tiara was designed for Queen Mary.
She passed it on to Queen Elizabeth, who gave it to Diana for her wedding day in 1981. However, she declined the offer and wore her father’s Spencer Family Tiara instead. It still became one of Diana’s favorite headpieces, even though it is incredibly heavy.
“The fact that it’s so heavy it hurt Princess Diana’s head indicates that this is a valuable tiara, packed with the finest quality diamonds and pearls. If I had to put an estimated value on this, I would say it is worth around £1,000,000 – maybe even more thanks to the legacies of the ladies who’ve worn it,” Stone says.
3. The Spencer Family Tiara is a family heirloom
One of the few pieces that didn’t come from the royal vault was the Spencer Family Tiara, which came from Diana’s father, John Spencer, Eighth Earl of Spencer. Dating back to the 18th century, it features beautiful diamond-encrusted shapes of tulips, scrolls, and stars.
4. She wore The Garrard Diamond and Pearl Necklace for her final public appearance
Diana collaborated with royal family jeweler Garrard and Company to make the diamond and pearl necklace that she wore for her final public appearance on June 3, 1997. She wore the piece to a performance of Swan Lake at Royal Albert Hall in London.
5. Princess Diana absolutely loved pearls
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but the late princess was a huge fan of pearls. They were also a popular trend in the 1990s, and she made the most of it. Diana wore an 11-strand pearl, diamond, and ruby choker with a purple Versace dress at a Gala dinner in Chicago in 1996.
The striking piece consisted of 900 pearls held together by thin columns of diamonds and rubies. And has a staggering estimated value of £200,000.
6. The Queen Mother’s Sapphire Brooch was a wedding gift
Originally belonging to Queen Mary, the Queen Mother’s Sapphire Brooch was passed down to Diana as a wedding gift. Diana redesigned the diamond and sapphire brooch to be the centerpiece of a seven-strand pearl necklace.
It was one of her most iconic pieces, as Diana wore it in 1985 when she was photographed dancing with John Travolta at the White House. She also wore it with her iconic “revenge dress” the day then-Prince Charles admitted his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.
“Princess Diana was a clear fan of sapphires and just like her engagement ring, she only wore the most beautiful deep, blue stones. Looking at the image of the huge stone, it could be anywhere from 50 to 70 carats in weight, maybe even heavier. With that in mind it could be worth anywhere from £50,000,000 to £100,000,000. This is probably one of the most expensive jewels from the entire Royal collection,” Stone says.
7. The Saudi Sapphire and Diamond Jewelry Suite added more blue stones to her collection
The Saudi Sapphire and Diamond Jewelry Suite was a wedding gift from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. It consists of a diamond-and-sapphire necklace, a matching pair of earrings, a ring, a bracelet, and a watch. Diana eventually redesigned the ring and the watch as a choker, which she wore as a headband.
“This is an incredible jewelry suite, especially the necklace which is a real showstopper. Whilst it’s definitely a huge stone, it’s not quite as large as the sensational Queen Mary brooch Diana remodeled into a pearl choker,” Stone says.
“This sapphire looks to be around 30 to 35 carats which is almost triple the size of the stone in her engagement ring. It would have an estimated value of around £15,000,000.”
8. The Delhi Durbar Emerald Choker was a wedding gift from Queen Elizabeth
Another piece of royal jewelry that originated with Queen Mary, the Delhi Durbar Emerald Choker was a gift from the Emperor of India when she and King George visited the country in 1911.
Instead of wearing it as a choker, though, Diana wore it as a headband. The last time she was seen wearing the stunning diamond and emerald choker was at a celebration for her 36th birthday on July 1, 1997.
“Whether this was an accident or not, wearing the choker as a headpiece was a wonderful choice. The diamonds in this piece alone are magnificent, looking to be around 10 carats each. They are old cut stones, which makes them even more valuable,” Stone says.
9. Her Collingwood Diamond Pearl Earrings have been worn by Kate Middleton
This wedding gift came from London jeweler Collingwood, and Diana wore these diamond pearl earrings on numerous occasions. In 2019, Kate Middleton wore the earrings to the queen’s annual garden party to honor her late mother-in-law.
10. Princess Diana wore her Asprey Aquamarine Ring only twice
As the story goes, Diana commissioned the Asprey Aquamarine ring as a replacement for her engagement ring after her divorce. However, she only got to wear it twice before her tragic death.
Featuring an emerald-cut aquamarine flanked by small solitary diamonds. It now belongs to Prince Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle.