The British Monarchy are considered, internationally, to be the jewel in the United Kingdom’s crown. With homes all over the nation, from the wildly romantic Balmoral in the Scottish Highlands, to the ancient fortress of Windsor Castle on the edge of Windsor Great Park to the more formal and statuesque Buckingham Palace, it’s easy to believe in the fairy tale.
With titles that resonate loudly with small children – and grown ups – the Royal Family present us with Queens, Princes and Princesses, Dukes and Duchesses. While it may seem like a fairy tale, living life in the private eye means that our Royal Family has got to look good at all times. Wall to wall press coverage showcases each outfit to perfection, but the little sparklers that complete the look get lost in a barrage of flashing cameras. While Royal jewellery can seem quite formal, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, is wearing the sparkling stones in a more modern way – and she’s triumphant in how she wears classic pieces in more informal settings.
Hopkins & Jones, central London pawnbrokers, are experts in high value jewellery and have taken a close look at how Kate manages to wear big gems with effortless grace and poise.
Kate’s most famous piece of jewellery is her engagement ring. Made iconic by its first owner, Diana, Princess of Wales, the world fell in love with its diamond and sapphire setting all over again. The ring comprises a 12-carat oval blue sapphire, cut into facets, and surrounded by fourteen solitaire diamonds in a setting made from 18K white gold.
CREDIT: Getty Images / Jeff Spicer
Diana had returned the ring to her ex-husband, Prince Charles, upon their divorce and it was stored in Kensington palace. After Diana’s death, Prince Charles invited William and Harry to select a keepsake from her personal collection. Harry picked the engagement ring, while William chose Diana’s gold Cartier watch. However, when William decided to propose to Kate, the brothers exchanged their mementos.
William had planned to propose to Catherine during the couple’s 2010 trip to Kenya. William had taken the ring taken out of the royal safe before carrying it around Africa in his rucksack for three weeks. Kate’s ring is incredibly valuable now and is valued at ten times its original 1981 cost of £28,000.
Kate is clearly well cherished by the Royal Family as her father in law, Price Charles, has also added to her personal jewellery collection with the gift of a dazzling diamond bracelet, said to be worth £150,000.je
While Kate has her favourite contemporary jewellers, including Kiki McDonough, fashion house Oscar de la Renta, Catherine Zoralda and Soru Jewellery, she also has a keen eye for stunning pieces from classic, luxury jewellers.
The Duchess of Cambridge has a penchant for Cartier pieces, including an unusual pendant featuring five diamond-studded hoops in white, yellow and rose gold, that’s estimated to cost £55,000. She has a pair of Cartier earrings which she pairs with the pendant and are said to be a present from William.
Being a modern princess and mother isn’t simply about looking good. The Duchess of Cambridge needs to keep on schedule, so timepieces are critical to her daily wardrobe. Kate strikes a balance between functionality and finesse through her choice in watches. Her Ballon Bleu de Cartier is part of Cartier’s more feminine range and features a perfectly rounded face, instead of the more traditional Cartier rectangle shape.
Kate’s active lifestyle and love of sport are well documented, with her support of the Olympic Games in London, 2012, helped her to raise the profile of the benefits of playing sport. It’s no surprise then, that we get glimpses of Kate’s more sport side – through her choice of watch. Once again, Kate managed to bridge the gap between functional and style with a Tissot Bridgeport Automatic Lady watch. As dynamic as the Tissot brand, the Bridgeport Automatic Lady features a mother of pearl face and crystal chips at the hour points.
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The Duchess of Cambridge is growing her personal collection of jewellery and watches, and can also count on borrowing from the Queen’s collection of tiaras and crowns for state events. Kate’s also lucky enough to be gifted with pieces during her state visits. These belong to the Royal Family, rather than Kate herself, and she will be expected to wear them as a sign of friendship to those who gifted them to her. Why not keep an eye out for the stunning diamond and platinum polar bear brooch presented during her royal tour of Canada.