As of 2021, jewellery, particularly fine jewelry, is a $269 billion industry worldwide. This is no surprise given the place precious stones and jewels have had in human history.
From the ancient Egyptians who wore golden earrings to the modern-day princess wearing diamond rings, jewellery has been around forever. It has had religious and ceremonial significance. It has been used as a status symbol, the ultimate separator of the haves and have-nots.
That’s because of how expensive they are. Their worth is due in part to their intrinsic value and also their value as investments.
If you’ve ever watched the TV show “Antiques Roadshow,” then you know how pricey jewellery really can be. In this article, you’ll get to see a few of the most expensive pieces of jewellery in history.
1. The Crown Jewels
It’s no secret that some of the most expensive and famous jewels in the world are found in the United Kingdom. The crown jewels are kept in the Tower of London, a fortress built around 1000 AD.
We’ve cheated a bit by giving the Crown Jewels a mention because it’s a collection and not a single piece.
In total, the Crown Jewels consist of more than 100 objects, including the Imperial State Crown, Queen Elizabeth’s II Coronation Ring, the Royal Sceptre, the Ruby-and-Diamond Star of Africa, and the Gold Cross of St. Louis to name a few.
Altogether, the pieces are estimated to be worth between $1.2 billion and $5.8 billion.
2. The Hope Diamond
The Hope Diamond has such an illustrious backstory it’s housed in the US Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.
Part of this includes ownership by personages like Louis XIV and King George IV and a curse that’s said to consume those who possess it. The blue diamond is currently set as the pendant of a white diamond necklace.
Because of its provenance and quality, the Hope Diamond is said to be worth between 200 and 250 million dollars.
3. The Heritage In Bloom Necklace
The Heritage in Bloom consists of a 104-carat Cullinan Heritage diamond at its centerpiece, surrounded by over a thousand smaller diamonds and a lesser number of jade pieces.
The necklace is designed so that it can be worn in 27 different configurations. What is it worth? A cool $200 million.
4. The Peacock Brooch by Graff
If you’re a fan of animal-shaped jewellery, you’ll like this one. Graff created the piece using 120.81 carats worth of clear and coloured diamonds.
What’s the value of the exquisite brooch, which features a peacock with spread wings? At last count, it was a mere $100 million.
5. The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond
Another blue diamond, the Wittelsbach-Graff is almost as storied as its counterpart in colour, the Hope Diamond.
Preserving this history has sparked controversy. Its most recent owner, Laurence Graff, had the diamond recut to remove flaws angering several purists. Even with 4 carats missing, it’s still worth 80 million dollars.
6. The Pink Star
The Pink Star is the largest and most valuable diamond of its type. It was discovered by the De Beers mine in South Africa in 1999.
It has since been sold many times, each time undergoing a name change. Its latest owner, Hong Kong jeweller, Dr. Henry Cheung Kar-Shun bought it for $71.2 million and renamed it the CTF Pink Star.
7. The Oppenheimer Blue
This diamond set a record in 2016 as the most expensive diamond ever auctioned.
Beyond the fact that it was mined in at a De Beers mine, not much is known about the Oppenheimer Blue. It’s named after Sir Phillip Oppenheimer, who once sat on De Beers’ board.
It fetched 57.6 million on the auction block.
8. The L’Incomparable Diamond Necklace
The L’Incomparable Diamond is a large yellow diamond worth 55 million dollars. Its story goes back to the 1980s when it was found by a little Congolese girl in a mine’s waste material.
Far from these humble beginnings, the stone is now part of a rose gold and diamond necklace that’s said to be one of the most expensive necklaces in the world.
Do you have jewellery that you’d like to have valued? Whether it’s £500 or £500 million, let our experts have a look. Make an appointment to see us. Call us at 0141 946 6333.