Duchess of Cambridge Loves: Jewelry for Engagement and Wedding Day

Posted on Jul 3 2014 - 1:28pm by admin
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Duchess of Cambridge Loves: Jewelry for Engagement and Wedding Day

We’re back with our ‘Duchess Loves’ series and taking a look at jewellery worn by the Duchess of Cambridge. Kate’s collection is very much a varied one and since the royal wedding we’ve seen Her Royal Highness wear everything from affordable pieces, which can be purchased for £25, to opulent items, which retail for five figures. I’ve decided to divide this segment into a series of posts and for today’s we’ll be looking at engagement and bridal jewellery.Cast your minds back to November 16, 2010 (can you believe it’s been almost three years?), Clarence House officially made the announcement royal fans had been waiting years for: Prince William and his long-time girlfriend were engaged to be married. I recall coming in from a university lecture, switching on Sky News and hearing the joyous announcement. It was the first time the public were introduced to Kate, and on that day a worldwide fascination with everything the future Duchess wore began.

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

The British Monarchy Flickr

While Kate’s royal blue Issa wrap dress became an instant hit, all we really wanted to see was her engagement ring.

02 Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry
PA

If we didn’t think Prince William was Prince Charming before, we certainly did when we saw he had presented his future wife with his late mother’s oval blue engagement ring, which consists of fourteen solitaire diamonds elegantly surrounding a twelve carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire set in 18-karat white gold.  Below we see the dazzling ring on Diana and Kate.

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

PA

It was created by former Crown Jeweller Garrard & Co. and cost £28,000. The show-stopping ring was featured in Garrard’s collection at the time of the engagement and was surprisingly not unique either. Both the Princess Royal’s and the late Queen Mother’s original engagements rings were both sapphires. Charles did not propose to the, then, Lady Diana Spencer with ring in hand, but instead Garrard was called in to provide samples.

Diana later told her biographer Andrew Morton:

‘A briefcase comes along on the pretext that Andrew is getting a signet ring for his 21st birthday and along comes these sapphires – I mean ‘nuggets’ – I suppose I chose it, we all chipped in. The Queen paid for it.’

It has been said Diana selected it because it reminded her of her mother’s engagement ring, however, according to Leslie Field, author of The Queen’s Jewels:

‘She had said she would like a sapphire and chose this one purely because she liked it. Somebody came up with the story that she immediately went for the biggest, but I asked her and she told me it definitely wasn’t the biggest, she simply thought it was beautiful.’

The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer officially announced their engagement on 24 February 1981, in the grounds of Buckingham Palace. It was later said the ring was too big for her, but there was no time to alter it before the engagement, so one will notice Diana often the held the ring to keep it in place on the day of the announcement.

PRINCE CHARLES AND LADY DIANA SPENCER ENGAGEMENT

PRINCE CHARLES AND LADY DIANA SPENCER ENGAGEMENT

The British Monarchy Flickr

After the divorce of Charles and Diana, the possession of the ring returned to Prince Charles and it remained at Kensington Palace. After Diana’s tragic death in 1997, Charles took his sons to the palace to select mementos from their mother’s possessions. Harry selected the engagement ring, while William chose Diana’s £18,000 yellow gold Cartier Tank Française watch. The brothers exchanged mementos when William decided to propose to Kate. Harry thinks of Kate as a sister and it is obvious both princes wanted her to have their mother’s ring.

It was incredibly kind of Harry and a lovely gesture on William’s behalf who spoke about his choice during theengagement interview:

‘It is very special to me. It was my way of making sure my mother didn’t miss out on today and the excitement, and the fact we are going to spend the rest of our lives together.’

While Kate had this to say:

‘It’s beautiful. I just hope to look after it. It’s very, very special.’

Like her late mother-in-law, Kate had the ring resized, asking Crown Jewellers G. Collins & Sons to attach two platinum beads to act as runners inside the bottom of the ring to ensure it did not fall from her finger on the day of the wedding (I had to have my own engagement ring resized and as there are diamonds inset in the band, I was quite worried they would ‘pop out’. Thankfully the jewellers did a seamless job!). Diana and Kate’s iconic ring has very much earned it’s place in royal history and has sparked countless imitations.

Kate cleverly coordinated her look around her engagement ring and kept the rest of her jewellery quite simple. She opted for matching earrings and necklace set by Tiffany & Co. (with thanks to Diana’s Jewels and My Small Obsessions). It is believed the set is from a past season Elsa Peretti collection. Below we see the sapphire oval Cabochon by the Yard earrings set in yellow gold, hanging a bezel set diamond stud.

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

Diana’s Jewels

The matching oval Cabochan by the Yard necklace in 18 karat gold features two bezel-set diamonds on either side of the sapphire. It is believed the piece retailed for roughly one thousand pounds. The exact pieces Kate wore are unavailable (she was photographed wearing the necklace as far back as 2008), but contemporary versions of the set in lapis lazuli are currently available at Tiffany & Co.

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

The British Monarchy Flickr
William and Kate’s engagement portraits were released in 2010 and taken by the immensely talented Mario Testino in the Cornwall Room, part of the private quarters at St James’s Palace.

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

The British Monarchy
Kate’s engagement ring (and the couple’s romantic embrace) took centre stage. Keeping accessories to a minimum the beaming future bride selected her Links of London Hope Egg Earrings. The £275 white topaz earrings represent hope and new life and are considered a very attractive and important symbol in Russia, commonly given as birthday gifts.

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

Links of London
Moving onto the royal wedding, Kate looked absolutely beautiful in her ivory and satin Alexander McQueen. She accessorised the look wonderfully and I think we all agree she was an impeccably beautiful bride.Nothing signals a royal wedding like a tiara, and if a future queen cannot wear one on her wedding day, who can? Kate looked regal in the Cartier ‘Halo’ Tiara lent to her by the Queen.

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

The ‘Halo’ Tiara was made by Cartier in 1936 and purchased by HRH The Duke of York (later King George VI) for his wife HRH The Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth). The tiara is formed as a band of 16 graduated scrolls set with 739 brilliants and 149 baton diamonds. The Duchess of York only wore it once publicly before becoming Queen Consort and moving on to larger and more opulent pieces.

10 Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry
Daily Mail

The tiara was presented to Princess Elizabeth (now HM The Queen) by her mother on her 18th birthday, however she has never worn it publicly and like her mother, is said not to have been terribly fond of it.

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

The Royal Collection

The tiara has been loaned out on many occasions to Princess Margaret and Princess Anne over the years, before their own collections grew.

12 Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry
The Royal Forums

A look at the tiara with Kate’s veil at The Royal Collection’s show ‘The Royal Wedding Dress: A Story of Great British Design’ at Buckingham Palace.

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

The Royal Collection

The royal wedding marked the one and only occasion we’ve seen Kate wear a tiara thus far. When she does wear one in the future it is very much thought it will be the ‘Halo’. It’s a nicely sized tiara – not too big, not too small – and what I would describe as an excellent starter tiara. I look forward to seeing the Duchess wear it in the future.

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

Michael and Carole Middleton had matching earrings commissioned from London jewellers Robinson Pelham as a wedding gift. Their design is derived from the acorn and oak leaves which form part of the Middleton family coat of arms and they perfectly compliment the ‘Halo’ tiara echoing the scroll elements in the design. The £15K earrings are made of 18 karat white gold and diamonds in the form of a curled diamond set oak leaf top and a pear-shaped diamond set drop with a central articulated pave set diamond acorn.

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

Robinson Pelham

When Kate wears the ‘Halo’ tiara next, I would be very surprised if she doesn’t elect to wear the earrings, too.

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

The British Monarchy
Finally, we take a look at Kate’s 18-karat gold wedding band. It is made from Welsh gold already owned by the Royal Family and in the care of royal jewellers, a long-standing tradition in the British Royal Family. Both William and Kate had a hand in the design while William elected not to wear a wedding ring because the Prince “isn’t one for jewellery”.

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

Duchess of Cambridge Engagement Bridal Jewelry

PA

How similar is Kate’s ring to Welsh gold on offer to the public? Dr Mike Bassett, expert in minerals and mining told the BBC:

‘From its discovery by the Romans, up until when the colonial gold rushes of the 19th century opened up new sources, the gold produced in Wales played a reasonable part in the British economy; though it was never regarded as anything distinct from gold in general.

 Welsh gold only became fashionable when the Queen Mother chose it for her wedding ring in 1923. But it really is an ‘Emperor’s new-clothes’ vanity, as it’s visually and very nearly chemically indistinguishable; gold is gold is gold.’

It’s very interesting to read the history of the pieces Kate has worn. In later posts in this jewellery series we’ll be looking at pieces (including tiaras) the Duchess may wear in years to come. Next up, we’ll be looking at Kate’s ‘borrowed jewellery’ along with the symbolism and history behind them.

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