Who doesn’t love a royal wedding? Amid all the tradition, the pomp and ceremony, the patriotic flag waving, royal coaches and cucumber sandwiches, there’s one aspect of any royal wedding that stands out for diamond and jewelry fans everywhere - the royal wedding jewelry. Which jewels will the bride wear? Which jewelry will be lent to her by the Queen? What jewelry will she receive from her new husband as a gift? In the months leading up to the big day, every aspect of the royal wedding is rife with speculation, and that includes the royal wedding jewelry. Indeed, there is so much interest in the wedding jewelry that Kensington Palace even tweeted about every detail of the bride’s attire, including the tiara, giving an official statement about its origins.
The veil is held in place by Queen Mary's diamond bandeau tiara, lent to Ms. Markle by The Queen. The diamond bandeau is English and was made in 1932, with the entre brooch dating from 1893.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 19, 2018
A royal wedding doesn’t come around very often, and with it the opportunity to see some of the world’s historic, valuable and most beautiful diamonds and jewels. In addition to drawing on historical traditions, royal brides are often trend setters in their jewelry choices, driving new jewelry fashions worldwide. So how did the jewelry choices of Meghan Markle, the new Duchess of Sussex, stack up on the recent royal wedding day? Let’s take a look.
The engagement ring
The engagement ring is no surprise, having been examined in the minutest detail since the engagement was announced. However, the engagement ring, with all its value and beauty, is still one of the standout jewels of any royal bride. Meghan Markle’s engagement ring was a mix of old and new - the center stone is an estimated 5 ct round brilliant diamond sourced in Botswana, where Meghan and Harry took their first vacation as a couple. The center diamond is flanked by two smaller diamonds from the late Princess Diana’s collection. Designed by Prince Harry himself, the much-talked about engagement ring took center stage once again on the wedding day.
The wedding ring
In 1923, the late Queen Mother began the tradition of using Welsh gold to forge wedding rings for brides of the royal family. In 1981, the British Royal Legion gave Queen Elizabeth a gift of a 36g piece of 21 karat Welsh gold from the Clogau St David’s mine in North Wales, to be used to make the wedding rings of future royal brides. Markle’s wedding ring was forged from this piece of gold, as were Princess Kate’s, Princess Diana’s and the former Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson’s. The band was forged by Cleave and Company who also created Prince Harry’s platinum wedding ring.
The British royal family has a large collection of spectacular tiaras, many with a rich history, so there is always much debate and speculation about which tiara will be worn by the royal bride. Markle chose to wear the Diamond Bandeau tiara, an Art Deco period platinum and diamond encrusted design featuring a diamond centerpiece that can be removed and worn as a brooch. The brooch was made in 1893. The tiara was in fact made for Queen Mary specifically to showcase the magnificent brooch. This lesser known tiara was last seen in public in 1965.
Round diamond studded earrings by Gelanterie de Cartier were the order of the day, together with a Reflection de Cartier diamond-encrusted bracelet valued at over $150,000. The Cartier earrings may have become a staple favorite in the Duchess’s wardrobe - she was wearing them again at her first public engagement after the wedding.
The after party jewelry
For the wedding reception in the evening, a less formal event than the official proceedings held during the afternoon, the Duchess stepped out in a sensational white halter neck dress by Stella McCartney, paired with $68,000 Cartier earrings, made of white gold in the chandelier style, encrusted with a total of 1.89 ct of diamonds. All eyes were on the ring she was wearing, an enormous emerald cut aquamarine ring that belonged to the late Princess Diana.
The Queen of jewelry
While the Duchess Meghan’s jewelry was stunning, there is no queen of jewelry like Queen Elizabeth herself. The British crown jewels is an incredible collection, housed in a vault underneath Buckingham Palace. Estimated to be worth over 3 billion pounds, it consists of 140 objects, with over 23,000 precious jewels, including the world’s largest clear cut diamond, sized at 530 carats. So it’s no wonder that the Queen’s choice of jewelry, at the royal wedding and at all public appearances, is held in fascination. At the recent royal wedding, the Queen chose one of her favorites, a 3-strand pearl necklace, and a magnificent diamond brooch, the Richmond brooch. Like the Diamond Bandeau tiara worn by the bride, the Richmond brooch was also part of Queen Mary’s collection, inherited by her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth. In this way, there was a special connection between the diamonds worn by the bride and her new grandmother-in-law, the Queen of England.
The wedding bells have stopped, all the months of frenzied speculation have come to an end, but there’s no doubt - the enduring spectacular beauty of the British royal jewels, and the royal wedding jewelry, will be remembered and enjoyed, until the next royal wedding.