Every time you see the British royal family in the news or on television, they seem to be wearing some kind of very expensive jewel. Whether it’s an engagement ring, a tiara, a crown, a brooch, or a necklace, the royal family seems to be dripping in diamonds (and rubies, and crystals, and sapphires…). Over the years, the family has acquired some absolutely breathtaking pieces. All of these bedazzled items have a unique story behind them.
Keep reading to learn where all of these jewels came from, and to find out how much some of them are worth.
Queen Mary Repurposed Her Jewels
This is a photo of The Delhi Durbar Tiara which was originally made for Queen Mary in 1911. Garrard crafted the tiara in honor of a celebration that took place in Delhi marking the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary as Emperor and Empress of India.
The piece was fashioned out of remnants of another tiara. It used to have 10 cabochon emerald drops on it, but those jewels were later placed on a different headpiece.
Princess Diana’s True Blue Engagement Ring
This is a photo of Kate Middleton’s ring finger. Of course, Kate is wearing the sapphire engagement ring that once belonged to Princess Diana. The ring was passed on to William after Diana’s tragic death.
When Diana first picked out this ring, some members of the royal family weren’t so happy about her choice. They didn’t like that she picked it out of a Garrard catalog and that Diana didn’t choose to have her ring custom made.
Is It A Brooch Or Is It The Center Jewel Of A Tiara?
On her wedding day, Meghan Markle wore Queen Mary’s Bandeau Tiara which was lent to her by Queen Elizabeth II herself. Meghan got the full princess treatment when she married Prince Harry. She got to choose her favorite tiara from the queen’s extensive tiara collection.
The center stone of this tiara actually used to be a brooch that was given to Mary of Teck in 1893 on the occasion of her wedding. The brooch seamlessly blends into this gorgeous headpiece.
Never Waste A Good Ruby
Queen Elizabeth II must have been taking notes when her mother was rearranging all of her tiaras because Elizabeth had this tiara made from jewels that she got as a gift from the People of Burma. The tiara Queen Elizabeth II is wearing in the photo is known as the Burmese Ruby tiara, and it was made in 1973.
The tiara features multiple Tudor rose designs that are fashioned out of a total of 96 rubies.
The Meaning Behind Meghan Markle’s Engagement Ring
Prince Harry designed this engagement ring for Meghan Markle with the help of famed jeweler British Cleave & Co. Harry knew exactly what he wanted— he chose a trio of diamonds situated on a simple yellow gold band.
All three of the diamonds on this ring came from Botswana, which is a country that holds special meaning for Harry and Meghan. The diamonds that flank the center stone once belonged to Harry’s mother, Princess Diana.
The Queen Mother’s Favorite Style Of Tiara
The tiara in this photograph is known as a honeycomb-style tiara. The late Queen Mother absolutely loved this tiara. Now the Duchess of Cornwall’s wears it whenever she can. The Queen Mother got this tiara from a brewery heiress named Margaret Greville who had no heirs of her own.
This headpiece was made by Boucheron, but Elizabeth asked Cartier to make some adjustments. Cartier added even more sparkle to the piece with the marquise-shaped diamond in the center of the crown.
That Time The Coronation Ring Was A Bit Too Snug
All Kings and Queens of Britain wear a coronation ring during their coronation ceremony. This particular ring was made for Queen Victoria by goldsmiths Rundell, Bridge & Rundell. These goldsmiths royally messed up, though, because they sized the ring to Victoria’s pinky, not her ring finger.
During the ceremony in 1838, the Archbishop forced the ring onto Victoria’s ring finger anyway, and she had to soak her hand in ice water to get the ring off.
Meghan Markle’s Push Present
Some husbands like to get their wives “push presents” after the birth of a child. We don’t know if Harry knows what a “push present” is, but we do know that he gave Meghan a new sparkly ring after Archie was born.
It also looks like her engagement ring has been slightly redesigned. The band is no smaller to emphasize the size of those three gorgeous diamonds. It also looks like the band might be white gold now.
A Gorgeous Gift From Canada
When King George VI and Queen Elizabeth first traveled to Canada as king and queen in 1939, George bought this maple leaf brooch for his wife. After the Queen Mother died, Queen Elizabeth II inherited the brooch. She has been seen wearing it on many occasions.
Other members of the royal family have also worn the brooch, including Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. The maple leaf is the official symbol of Canada and it can be found on the Canadian flag.
This Art Deco Tiara Has Really Been Around
This tiara, which is known as the Art Deco Lotus Flower tiara, was made out of a Gerrard necklace that once belonged to the Queen Mother. Elizabeth had Garrard take apart the necklace and use the diamonds and pearls for a tiara.
The tiara was gifted to Princess Margaret before she married the Earl of Snowdon in 1959. Royals Serena Stanhope and Kate Middleton have been seen wearing the famous art deco style headpiece.
This Tiara Can Also Be Worn As A Necklace
The Prince and Princess of Wales received Queen Alexandra’s kokoshnik tiara as a silver wedding anniversary gift from the Ladies of Society in 1888. The tiara contains 488 diamonds set in white and yellow gold. The piece has 488 diamonds set in white and yellow gold.
The tiara can also be taken out of its frame, flipped over, and worn as a necklace. It’s really two pieces of jewelry in one. This tiara now belongs to Queen Elizabeth II.
A Very Special 21st Birthday Present
The Queen mother gave Princess Margaret this Persian Turquoise tiara on the occasion of her 21st birthday. The tiara also came with a matching necklace, pendant earrings, a square brooch, and several hair clips. All of these pieces were created by Gerrard in the early 1990s.
The last time this tiara was seen in public was before Margaret’s death in 2002. None of Margaret’s children or grandchildren have been seen wearing it. Maybe another lucky royal will receive it as a 21st birthday present in the future.
A Diadem Fit For A King
This is the King George IV State Diadem which was originally made for King George by Rundell, Bridge, and Rundell in 1820. George wore it on the way to his coronation. After George died, his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, wore it when she was crowned queen.
Now, nobody but the queen is allowed to wear this impressive headpiece. Maybe in the future, when Prince Charles becomes the new king, we’ll see this crown on his head.
Princess Diana’s Favorite Tiara
Princess Diana wore The Lover’s Knot tiara, also known as the Cambridge Lover’s Knot, on several occasions. In recent years, Kate Middleton has been seen wearing this very headpiece. Diana liked this tiara so much that she decided to wear it on her wedding day. She did have to return it to Queen Elizabeth II after she divorced Prince Charles.
This tiara originally belonged to Queen Mary. It was made by Garrard in 1914 out of gems that were already owned by the royal family.
A Monochromatic Look
Queen Elizabeth II has been seen wearing the Kent Amethyst Brooch on several occasions. She often wears the brooch with a fully purple ensemble. The brooch really completes her monochromatic look. This brooch first belonged to Queen Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent. It’s part of a set that includes a necklace, a pair of hair combs, a pair of earrings, and three brooches.
Queen Elizabeth II has only been seen wearing the necklace and earrings once, at a banquet in 1984.
This Necklace Must Be Very Heavy
This is a photo of Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Coronation Necklace and matching diamond earrings. These jewels have been worn by every queen since Queen Victoria. That teardrop diamond in the center of the necklace weighs 22.48 carats. Each of the 25 surrounding diamonds is only slightly smaller.
That center diamond, which is known as the Lahore Diamond, came from a ruby tiara that belonged to Queen Victoria. The matching earrings were also originally from that same tiara.
A Vision In Blue
This tiara was made by Gerrard upon special request by Queen Elizabeth II. The queen wanted an aquamarine tiara to match a pair of aquamarine earrings and an aquamarine necklace that she got as a coronation gift from Brazil.
Each time Elizabeth was gifted another piece of aquamarine jewelry form Brazil, she would add those gems to the tiara to make it even more impressive. Queen Elizabeth II is particularly fond of this tiara and she wears it quite frequently.
The Imperial State Crown
This is a photo of The Imperial State Crown which was made for the coronation of King George VI in 1937. There are a total of 2,868 diamonds on this crown, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, and 269 pearls.
That giant diamond in the middle of the crown is called Cullinan II, or the “Second Star of Africa.” At 317.4 carats, it weighs more than any other known diamond in the world. Queen Elizabeth II wore this crown when she took the throne in 1953.
Pearls And Diamonds Look Nice Together
When Queen Elizabeth II received cultured pearls as a gift from the Japanese government in the 1980s, she decided to have those pearls made into a choker. The choker is made out of four strands of pearls that meet at an impressive center diamond pendant.
In the past, Princess Diana and Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge have both worn this necklace. Kate paired the choker with Diana’s pearl and diamond earrings when she attended a royal banquet.
An Emerald Tiara Stands Out From The Crowd
This is a photo of Princess Eugenie wearing the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik tiara on her wedding day. This piece was once a part of the Queen Mother’s collection. Before Eugenie wore it in 2018, it hadn’t been seen in public for nearly a century.
This tiara made by Boucheron, a Parisian jewelry house, in 1919. The tiara features six emeralds and several rose-cut pave diamonds. That impressive center emerald stone weighs a whopping 93.7 carats.
This Necklace Was Made In 1907
In the photo on the left, Queen Elizabeth II can be seen wearing the Greville Ruby Necklace in the 1980s. In the photo on the right, Kate Middleton is wearing the same necklace in 2017. Queen Elizabeth II received the Greville Ruby Necklace as a wedding gift from her parents, King George VI and the Queen Mother.
We think the necklace looks amazing with Kate’s deep-v soft pink Marchesa gown. It’s almost like she was always mean to wear it.
The Scroll Diamond Tiara
In this photo, Princess Anne, Prince Charles’ sister, can be seen wearing the Scroll Diamond Tiara, which is also known as the Cartier Halo Tiara. The last time Anne wore the tiara in public was in the 1970s. The tiara made a very famous reappearance when Kate Middleton wore it to her wedding in 2011.
This photo was taken in March 1970, when Princess Anne accompanied her parents on an official trip to New Zealand.
All Of The Royals Love Sapphires
Sapphires were a favorite gem of the late Queen Elizabeth. In the photo on the left, you can see her wearing one of her favorite pairs of sapphire earrings. In the photo on the right, you can see Kate Middleton wearing the same earrings in 2015.
These earrings are known as the diamond and sapphire fringe earrings. They match Kate’s sapphire engagement ring (that once belonged to Princess Diana, another sapphire fan) very nicely. These ladies love their blue stones.
Queen Mary’s Choker Turned Bracelet
In this photo, Kate Middleton is wearing some very sparkly jewels around her wrist. The bracelet she is wearing is actually an art-deco styled diamond choker that was first owned by Queen Mary. Before Kate wore the choker as a bracelet to a gala dinner for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, it hadn’t been seen in public since the Queen Mother wore it on her 75th birthday.
Kate always knows how to make accessories work for her.
One Of The Queen’s Most Prized Possessions
Queen Elizabeth II has a lot of jewels in her personal collection, but this sapphire broochis one of her favorie pieces. The brooch was a gift for her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. Prince Albert gave it to Victoria the day before they got married.
Victoria loved the brooch and what it symbolized. She wore it many times after she got married. Queen Elizabeth II also wears it quite often. She can be seen wearing it in this photo from 2017.
A Necklace That Never Goes Out Of Style
Several members of the British royal family have been seen wearing this necklace that was originally given to Princess Alexandra of Denmark on the eve of her wedding in 1863. The piece is now known as Queen Alexandra’s Wedding Necklace, and after many years, it landed in the Queen Mother’s collection.
When the Queen Mother died, Queen Elizabeth II inherited the necklace. We’ve seen this necklace time and time again on many members of the royal family. In the photo on the right, you can see Kate Middleton wearing it to an official event in 2018.
The Sovereign’s Orb Is Involved In Royal Ceremonies
The solid gold sphere on the left of this photo is called the Sovereign’s Orb. It’s involved in coronation ceremonies and it was initially made for the 1661 coronation of Charles II.
There are more than 600 gems and pearls on the orb, including diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and amethysts. The orb on the right of the photo was made when William and Mary came to the throne as King and Queen together in 1689. The orb on the right is Mary’s orb. Both of the orbs were placed on Queen Victoria’s coffin during her funeral.
The Story Of The City Of London Diamond Fringe Tiara
On April 24, 1963, Princess Alexandra of Kent, who is Queen Elizabeth’s first cousin, married Angus James Ogilvy at Westminster Abbey.
On her wedding day, Alexandra wore the City of London diamond fringe tiara. The diamonds on this unique piece of jewelry are set in both gold and silver. Alexandra and her mother, Princess Marina, had a very similar sense of style. Marina actually wore this exact tiara on the day that she married Alexandra’s father.
The Largest Tiara Collection In The World
The royal family has been collecting tiaras for quite some time now. Now, that whole tiara collection belongs to Queen Elizabeth II. She became Head of the Commonwealth in 1952 after her father, King George VI, died.
In this photo, you can see Elizabeth and Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on their wedding day in 1947. The tiara she choose for her wedding once belonged to Queen Mary, her grandmother. The tiara must have had a special meaning to the queen.
Diana Shines Brighter Than Her Jewels
We’ve already seen Princess Diana in a stunning diamond tiara very similar to this one. This was one of Diana’s favorite tiaras. She liked it almost as much as the tiara she wore on her wedding day. This photo was taken in November of 1981 and Diana’s smile is outshining even the shiniest diamonds on that headpiece.
Diana and Princess Anne were photographed while en route to the State Opening of Parliament in the same stagecoach that Diana rode in on her wedding day.
When You Marry Royalty, You Get To Dress Like Royalty
Autumn Patricia Kelly married Princess Anne’s son, Peter Phillips, on May 17, 2008. Anne lent her tiara to Autumn for her to wear on her special day. Anne received this tiara the same year she married Mark Phillips, but the tiara was not a wedding gift. It had been given to her by the World Wide Shipping Group as a gift in 1973 after she christened a ship for them.
Princess Anne wears the tiara frequently. It’s thought to be one of her favorites.
Kate Looks Like A Perfect Princess
The whole world stopped to watch Kate Middleton marry Prince William on April 29, 2011. Their wedding was televised, so people all over the world tuned in to see Kate and William finally tie the knot. People also tuned in to see what Kate would be wearing on her big day.
Kate chose to wear the Cartier Halo Tiara, also referred to as the Scroll Diamond Tiara. It was made in 1936 and was presented as a gift from King George VI to his wife Elizabeth.
Fergie Wore The York Diamond Tiara To Her Wedding
When Sarah Ferguson married Prince Andrew at Westminster Abbey in 1986, she wore a headpiece called the York Diamond Tiara. Apparently, Queen Elizabeth II bought this tiara especially for Fergie.
When Sarah and Andrew got divorced in 1996, she kept the tiara and continued to wear it to high profile events. She was last seen wearing it at Elton John’s White Tie and Tiara Ball in 2001. Many people thought that Fergie’s daughter, Princess Eugenie, would wear the York Diamond Tiara for her 2018 wedding. Instead, she chose to wear an emerald tiara that she borrowed from the Queen.
Sophie Rhys-Jones’ Wedding Jewels
In 1999, Sophie Rhys-Jones became the Countess of Wessex when she married Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. Sophie wore a silk organza gown on her wedding day that was embellished with 325,000 crystals and pearls.
On that special day, Sophie also wore a tiara that hadn’t been seen in public before. Some experts have speculated that the jewels in the tiara were on loan from Queen Elizabeth’s personal collection. Others think the tiara might have been made from jewels that once belonged to Queen Victoria.
A Look Inspired By Princess Margaret
The Earl of Harrington’s daughter Serena Stanhope is now known as Viscountess Linley. She married Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon’s son Lord Linley in 1993. Serena’s custom-made dress was very similar in style to dresses that Princess Margaret would wear. Serena also chose to wear one of Margaret’s favorite tiaras, the Lotus Flower Tiara.
In recent years, Kate Middleton has been spotted wearing the Lotus Flower Tiara. Jewelry really does get recycled in the royal family.
A Tiara That Tells A Story
Lady Rose Gilman (born Lady Rose Victoria Birgitte Louise Windsor), a daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, married George Gilman in the spring of 2007. Lady Rose wore a long white custom dress to her wedding that had a simple top and removable flowy sleeves.
She also wore the Iveagh Tiara, which once belonged to Queen Mary. The tiara was originally a wedding gift, but Mary didn’t wear it on the day of her wedding. It’s also been worn by two Duchesses of Gloucester, Alice and Birgitte.
A Delicate Halo Of Diamonds
Laura Lopes has tenuous ties to the royal family. She isn’t a direct descendant, but she is Prince Charles’ step daughter. Laura is the daughter of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Camilla’s former husband, Andrew Parker Bowles.
Laura got married to Harry Lopes in 2006, and on her wedding day, she wore the Cubitt-Shand Tiara. This headpiece belongs to Camilla, who wore it on the day she married Laura’s father. The tiara once belonged to Camilla’s grandmother, Sonia Keppel.
The Kent Diamond And Pearl Fringe Tiara
On the day that Lady Helen Taylor, née Windsor, married art dealer Timothy Taylor, she wore the distinctive Kent Diamond and Pearl Fringe Tiara. Lady Helen is the only daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Kent. She is currently 42nd in line to the British throne. Helen works in the fashion industry and she has very close ties to designer Giorgio Armani.
We’ve seen the Kent Diamond and Pearl Fringe Tiara on quite a few royal brides, and it always looks stunning.
Lady Sarah Chatto Wore The Snowdon Floral Tiara
The Snowdon Floral Tiara was made out of three different brooches that all belonged to Princess Margaret. Lady Sarah Chatto, Princess Margaret’s daughter, wore the Snowdon Floral Tiara on the day that she married Daniel Chatto in 1994.
The brooches haven’t been worn as a tiara since then. Lady Sarah is a painter and she is currently 23rd in line to the British throne. Sarah and her mother looked very similar and had very similar tastes.
Not Quite The Diamond Fringe
Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark married Prince George on November 29th, 1934. After her marriage, she became the Duchess of Kent. This is a photo of Marina and George on their wedding day.
Marina is wearing a tiara very similar to the City of London diamond fringe tiara that saw earlier on this list. This tiara was a wedding gift from the city of London. Marina’s daughter Alexandra wore the tiara in this photo on her own wedding day. Marina was kind enough to lend her this stunning headpiece.