Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Kate Loves: Jewellery (Engagement and Bridal)

We're back with our 'Kate 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 the engagement 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.

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.

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.

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.


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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

Robinson Pelham

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

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".

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.

51 comments:

  1. WONDERFULL POST! I am speechless.
    Just reed on the cover of the new issue of Hello magazine, that the Cambridges will give a party in their new apartment. Charlotte, do you have any details about it?
    Best, Emese

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Esme,

      I expect we will have news on upcoming engagement (possibly) this week. There's a function later this month I think William and Kate will attend, we'll know for sure later this week and according to Hello! the Cambridges plan to host a housewarming/charity event at KP in November.

      I expect the very quiet patch is coming to an end and we will see the couple slowly increase their engagements very shortly.

      Delete
    2. Pauline Oak Hills9 October 2013 at 06:37

      Hoping to see them do many joint engagements. They are so good together.

      Delete
  2. Wonderful post! I'm looking forward to the next installment

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jean from Lancs.8 October 2013 at 14:34

    Her engagement ring is beautiful on her hand and because it was Diana's and so very special to her sons, it must seem extra special to her.
    Catherine seems to have a definite preference for earrings and has some beauties. especially the diamond ones from her parents that she wore on her wedding day. I don't believe we have seen them since, except in the display at Buckingham Palace.
    Numerous members of the Royal Family have worn the Halo Scroll tiara in the past, including Princess Margaret at the Coronation---but I think it has never looked so beautiful as it did on Catherine .on her wedding day.
    I remember at the time of the Coronation reading that King George VI had purchased it for the Queen Mother (then the Duchess of York) with the intention that she would wear it for the Coronation of his brother---but of course, when that Coronation came round George was King and Elizabeth was Queen Consort and had a Crown to wear. It was said that was the reason Princess Margaret wore it in 1952.
    With that history I thought it was a great honour for it to be loaned to Catherine. I hope we see her wearing it again soon.
    Now they are living in London I am hoping HM will invite them to the State dinner at the upcoming State Visit from South Korea---I would have thought it was time they were getting to know other heads of state---besides which we don't get to see many pictures unless they or Prince Harry attend any event.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Jean,

      I've seen talk of them attending the State Dinner. It would be a perfect function for a tiara, wouldn't it?

      Delete
  4. Hi Charlotte, the engagement ring cost £28k in 1981 which at current values would be £75k (http://www.moneysorter.co.uk/calculator_inflation2.html#calculator) - however the true value because of it's provenance and it's previous owner would be very much higher were it to go for auction, with some estimates saying it would realise at least $500k. As always love the blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Lesley, I have amended the post. I recall reading somewhere, because of the royal connection the ring is worth £32 million now.

      Delete
  5. Thank you for such a wonderful post!!! Having not seen Kate in some time I was starting to go through withdrawls! I really enjoy your "Kate Loves" posts and the indepth look at her fashion and jewelry choices. I too look forward to her next tiara worthy occasion but I wonder why she hasn't worn her wedding earrings since that day. She's attended several events since then where those earrings would have looked stunnng.
    Thanks again for such a great post and I really appreciate all the hard work you do!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I simply LOVE the tiara but unfortunately Kate's choice of veil and the way she did her hair didn't to anything to show it off at all. It was neither stylish nor modest. Maybe they didn't think it through well and when the time came to do wear the tiara it was too late to change anything.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Each time when I look at close Kate's wedding photos, I can't understand why she lost so much of her weight. Her face at the engagement looked so fresh and healthy but at the wedding she has so horrible wrinkles around her eyes. I can't understand why so many woman insist they have to loose weight before wedding when actually they look nice. They think they will look better at size 8 than 10. But it may spoil the final effect instead. That's a lesson. Good she put on weight again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think it was her intention to lose weight, but if you multiply the normal stress associated with any wedding, it's not surprising that she did.

      Delete
    2. Actually she did. She and her mother did the dukan diet

      Delete
  8. Hi Charlotte

    I have to congratulate you on an amazing job u do!! I have been following ur blog from the beginning. I have never yet left any comments bec I like to read and observe everybody elses comments. But today after reading about the rings and tiara I wanted to let u know how extraordinarily talented u are. U r so accurate in ur descriptions. your post is the first one I read always when I google the duchess!! Thanx for updating us and giving us something at all times. Whether its a kate loves or any engagement she has. We love u!!!! Thanx a ton!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Rose. I greatly appreciate all your comments and feedback. It's been a quiet patch in terms of royal engagements and the Jewellery posts will tide us over until we see more of Kate, which I think we will quite soon :)

      Delete
  9. Wonderful post, Charlotte. Thank you! So many details and stories I didn't know. I was surprised to know that Diana chose her own engagement ring.
    It's a shame William didn't want to have his own wedding ring. Here in Portugal, I don't think that the grooms have another option. Both bride and groom exchange rings, even if the man is not one for jewelry, ah ah :)
    Hugs!
    Z. from Portugal

    ReplyDelete
  10. Another wonderful post...thank you!

    I am on the edge of my seat waiting for the next installment now...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Dear Charlotte, thank you for another wonderful and interesting post. I do hope the Duchess will wear the Halo Tiara once more for it is an absolutely gorgeous piece. I m looking forward to see pictures of the Duchess first appearance on her own. Maybe we get to see some more from her jewellery, though it sourely won`t be the Halo Tiara ;)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you so much for this post. Although I had already read that William and Harry had swapped the engagement ring, I did not know about the watch. I was very touched by the way you wrote how William and Harry both wanted Kate to have this very special ring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too, it shows the closeness of all three of them!

      Delete
  13. Starter tiara . . . LOL!!! I wish I could have a starter tiara. And is it me, or does the Halo Tiara come apart? Looking at the photo, there seems to be two places where it can be disassembled. Maybe for earrings or a brooch?

    And I love sapphires. My engagement ring is sapphire and diamonds also although, sadly, not worth $32 million.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see what you mean about the tiara. I also thought it might convert into a necklace (some tiaras do), but I have yet to find anything at all about this piece being anything but a tiara.

      Btw, www.thetudorswiki.com has some amazing photos of royal tiaras. Most of them are far from "starters". LOL.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, royalfan. I'm going to check that out right now.

      Delete
  14. Such wonderful detail, thank you, Charlotte. The Duchess was a beautiful bride from tiara to toes, and I would not have had her change one thing on the day. She has settled into Royal routine so smoothly and is a great asset to the family Firm. I especially love her earrings collection. Looking forward to more of your comments on her baubles.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Dear Charlotte I've had quite the trouble trying to post to your blog on my mobile today the post a comment button wouldn't work. Any who wanted to thank you for this fantastic post. I am a huge fan of her taste in jewelry they are such simple but elegant pieces that make her so pretty. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is a great post, so well researched. I had no idea of the history behind these beautiful items of jewellery. I learn so much from your blog and it's all interesting knowledge to have.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Beautiful and informative as always Charlotte. Andrea from Canada.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Are Kate's wedding earrings really 15,000£?!? Wow!! That's almost $30,000 US. I don't know why it surprises me, but it does. Love Kate. Love Charlotte. Love this site. Thanks! Nicole in CA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Nicole!

      Robnison Pelham didn't disclose the price but it is widely believed the earrings are worth £15,000.

      Delete
  19. I wondered what metal the Halo Scroll tiara was made of. It took a lot of research, but I finally discovered that it's platinum. Diamonds and platinum. Apparently, all Cartier tiaras since the early 20th century are made of platinum rather than gold, even white gold.

    Miss Eve

    ReplyDelete
  20. A lot of people see the jewelry worn by royals as unnecessarily expensive and boastful, which is why I think a lot of modern royals are more modest with their jewels than royals of generations past. I wish it was not this way, because the jewels are one of the most fascinating parts of royal-watching! Just the history of the Halo Scroll tiara is so interesting, how it has seen such historic moments in history, with many more to come. I always wish I could be a fly on the wall when the Queen decides which tiara to lend out. Does she just choose it and her word is final? Or does the recipient try them on and they discuss options? These are the things I wonder when I unashamedly fantasize about that priceless jewel collection.

    Hopefully as stated earlier, with Will and Kate living in London now we may finally have a chance of another tiara moment!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love the earrings her parents gave her as a wedding gift! Though I was thinking I'd rather get a bracelet or something I could wear on daily basis to remember of the happy day. You can't really do that with earrings so striking.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Great post! I love her jewelry and really like the fact that she has an heirloom ring.

    ReplyDelete
  23. This is off topic...Charlotte please don't publish it if you'd rather not. :)

    I just checked Getty's site. Has anyone seen the photo of Princess Charlene arriving at the Ralph Lauren Collection show in Paris on Oct 8th? She wore a stunning purple gown and large earrings. Color AND jewelry! I don't think she has ever looked better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No problem at all, feel free to chat about anything you wish. I haven't seen the photos but will check them out now :)

      Delete
    2. Royalfan,

      You are correct - This is her best look!! Loved the purple, the jewels and her make-up and hair worked with the look - the whole thing was totally sublime. OOS will be going nuts over this look!!

      I hope this new found style continues!

      PP

      Delete
    3. Hi Penelope...

      Yes, I have a feeling her new found style *will* continue. I looked at the photos again today and I still thought, "Wow!". Simply stunning!

      Sadly, I think she looks happiest and most confident when she does solo engagements. I also believe she is starting to use her wardrobe to make a statement. It reminds me of Diana as she came to terms with personal circumstances.

      Delete
  24. Thanksv charlotte for wonderful post i love jewels that she wore how i wish she wore a tiara one day

    ReplyDelete
  25. Charlotte your pos is good ladies girls best friend is jewels im looking forward seeing her on tiara one day

    ReplyDelete
  26. Great post, Charlotte! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. As always, I walk away feeling that I read a chapter from the encyclopedia on 'Kate and her 'Loves' ! Thank you!

    Bernie

    ReplyDelete
  27. I love your blog so much - thanks for the great post- fun! I was surprised to read that Diana gave back the engagement ring after the divorce. In my memory she wore it right up until the end - more because it was her "signature" and people wanted to see and the ring became more than strictly an engagment ring. I even recall (I could be wrong) Diana wearing it when she wore the short black dress that caught everyone's attention after the divorce?

    ReplyDelete
  28. I loved this post. I am Welsh and had my own wedding ring made from Welsh gold so it has extra meaning for me. I would love to see Kate in a tiara again - fingers crossed!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Have you noticed that Kate's hand looks so tiny in William's ones. So cute :)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Jean from Lancs.9 October 2013 at 21:34

    The "Express" is reporting that William and Catherine will be holding several charity "dos" in the State Apartments of KP. this Autumn. They appear to suggest Kensington Palace will become a sort of secondary court for the younger royals.
    Sounds exciting.
    A friend in Edinburgh tells me that it's being reported there that earl in January, Catherine is to open an Art Room there ---the 1st in Scotland

    ReplyDelete
  31. Sarah from Calif.10 October 2013 at 00:20

    Bummery previous message didn't go through. What can I say....but I do love her jewelry. I feel like a Christmas tree if I over do it. I wonder if she feels that way. I love the clean , classic lines of Kate's styles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL. I can so relate to your Christmas tree remark. To this day, I do trade-offs...if I wear earrings, I will pass on a necklace, etc.

      IMO Kate is a minimalist when it comes to jewelry. But how I wish she would wear her hair up more often and wear larger earrings when she does so (like her Kiki McDonough Blue Topaz and Diamond earrings. They have to be my favorite to date).

      Delete
  32. Beautifully written, Charlotte. I love Royal history, and fashion, so these posts are great to read! I did not know that the Queen isn't too fond of the tiara. Interesting because I think the tiara is beautiful. Although I have to say that it is probably the least stunning of her personal collection, and that may be why she does not wear it and loans it out!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Does Kate every wear her wedding band?

    ReplyDelete
  34. What a delightful post! I just love reading all the background or historical bits behind her jewellery pieces or clothing item. I know we all agree that Kate's engagement ring is a show stealer and is beautiful piece! It was so sweet of William to honor Kate with his mother's ring, I can see why she wears it almost all the time. And for those earrings at her wedding - they are simply beautiful - I hope to see her wear them again in the future.

    ReplyDelete

Comments are most welcome! Constructive discussion is always encouraged but off topic or hateful remarks will not be published. If you wish to share your name and where you're from without using the sign in options, simply select the "Name/URL" option on the drop down menu and insert your name, and if you wish the country/state you're from. You can leave the URL blank.

If there are a large number of comments, it is necessary to click the 'Load More' button at the end of the comments section to see the latest additions.