Mounted on intricate necklaces, set into shining tiaras, and handcrafted into iconic eggs, precious gemstones have always been a symbol of wealth, power, sophistication, and style. Over the ages, from the time of emperors and kings to the red carpet of the Met Gala, jewelry and our favorite shiny stones have never ceased to amaze and enchant us. Let's dive deeper into the story and creation of some of the world's most unique custom-made jewelry.
British designer Kat Florence has had the chance of working with one of the most valuable Tanzanites in the world. Ranking right after the famous Mawenzi jewel, the 563-carat Namunyak Tanzanite was the largest known gemstone of its kind at the time, estimated at 423.56 carats after it had been recut. Set into a cushion shape, the Namunyak Tanzanite was then mounted into a 5-strand necklace made of over 208 grams of 18-carat white gold and 57-carat diamonds. The intriguing precious stone displayed the best of its trichroic ability by showcasing an intense royal velvet blue when viewed from the top as well as a deep violet and subtle pinkish red from the sides.
This unique and mesmerizing piece of jewelry was worn by none other than the Hollywood actress and holder of 6 Golden Globes awards, Sarah Jessica Parker, during a photo shoot for a famous photographer, Peter Lindbergh. Florence then went on to sell the best jewelry at an auction and donated all the proceeds to build a school in Nepal. (Photo: Courtesy of Kat Florence Atelier)
The Napoleon necklace is an exquisite piece made up of over 230 diamonds. Designed in 1811 by jeweler Etienne Nitôt and Sons of Paris, the necklace was a gift from Emperor Napoleon to his second wife, Marie Louise after the birth of their son. The necklace was made of both silver and gold and contained 28 old mine-cut diamonds, five pear shapes, four ovals, and 10 briolettes. Each pear-shaped diamond is mounted next to a small brilliant while the ovals are attached to intricate designs of 23 tiny diamonds. Similarly, each briolette is set next to another 12 rose-cut diamonds for an elegant and intricate masterpiece.
Upon the downfall of Emperor Napoleon around 1814, Marie Louise is said to have fled back to her family in Austria, taking with her all her precious jewelry. After Marie Louise's death, the necklace was given to her sister-in-law, the Archduchess Sophie of Austria. This best jewelry was then passed down through her family until it was finally sold to a French collector, who in turn sold it to jeweler Harry Winston in 1960. Marjorie Merriweather Post, an American businesswoman, and philanthropist then bought the jewel and donated it to the Museum of Natural History, where it is now displayed next to another iconic piece from Marie Louise's collection, her diadem.
Among some of the most unique pieces of best jewelry to date, the Hutton-Mdivani necklace is made of 27 seemingly perfect jadeite beads with a unique ruby and diamond clasp. Received as a gift from her father after her marriage to her first husband, Prince Alexis Mdivani, Barbara Hutton showcased the iconic necklace at the Metropolitan Opera in 1933.
Now acquired by Cartier, the necklace is divine and quite unique. Due to the scarcity of jadeite boulders, it is very rare to acquire a high-quality bead of jade exceeding 10 mm in diameter. However, the Hutton-Mdivani necklace boasts 27 beads of exquisite quality, reaching 15 mm. To add to the wonder, all the jades in this necklace were mined from the same boulder. For this reason, the jewel has recently been auctioned for over $ 27 million in 2014.
The Dresden Green refers to one of the first green diamonds to become famous. Mined in the now shut-down Golconda mines of India prized for the transparency and purity of their gems, the diamond is about 41 carat and extremely rare. First discovered in 1722, the stone was presented to King George as per custom, but ended up in the Court of Saxony as the king took no interest in the gem at first glance.
There, Frederick the Great of Prussia developed a fondness for the unique green gem and decided to have it mounted with diamonds and designed into a pin for his hat. For almost 300 years, the piece has resided in the Dresden Green Vault with rare interruptions to be put on display in America for special occasions. Seemingly by luck or faith, the Dresden Green was shipped to America in 2019 for an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where it safely remained as thieves broke into the Dresden Vault and stole countless historic artifacts.
Sitting next to the Napoleon necklace and the Marie Louise diadem in the Smithsonian National Gem Collection, the Hope necklace boasts a surprisingly large deep blue diamond set into an elegant design of white diamonds. Designed by renowned jeweler Pierre Cartier, the centerpiece gem is surrounded by 16 alternating pear and cushion-shaped white diamonds and hangs from a chain comprising another 45 stones. As quality blue diamonds are quite rare, the Hope gemstone is actually the largest known stone of its kind, weighing 42.52 carats.
As a surprising story, the jewel was donated to the Museum of Natural History by jeweler Harry Winston in 1958 through an ordinary brown package sent through the mail. Quite an unusual feat for a gem that attracts over 6 million visitors to the museum each year.
L'incomparable diamond necklace, sometimes also referred to as the Mouawad Incomparable actually holds the record for the world's most valuable necklace estimated at $ 55 million. The intricate necklace features a rare 407.28-carat yellow diamond set into an 18-carat rose gold mount with 229.52-carat white diamonds.
When translated from French, the name of the unique jewel rightfully stands for the necklace 'with no equal'. Created by Lebanese jeweler Mouawad, this delicate but imposing piece has been designed to resemble the leaves of a vine. Surprisingly, the centerpiece yellow diamond was actually found by a young Congolese girl among a discarded pile of mining rubble.
Among the most valuable jewels in the world, the Tsarevna Swan ring actually holds the Guinness World Record for the "most diamonds set in one ring wearable on the human finger". With an impressive 2525 diamonds with a total weight of 10.48 carats. This statement ring created in Ukraine took 530 hours to be designed and another 3625 hours for its fabrication. Estimated at $ 1.3 million, the Tsarevna Swan ring was inspired by a 1900 oil painting by Russian artist Mikhail Vrubel, based on his opera 'The Tale of Tsar Sultan'.
Created for the Russian Imperial family by Peter Carl Fabergé between 1885 and 1916, the famous imperial Fabergé eggs are among the most prized possessions of the ill-fated Romanov family. The tradition of the Fabergé jeweled Easter eggs began during the reign of Emperor Alexander III and was later perpetuated by his son, Nicholas II, who ordered two of the precious eggs per year, one for his mother and the other for his wife.
Overall, as many as 69 of these exquisite eggs were created by the House of Fabergé, with only 57 surviving today. The eggs were handcrafted using gold, diamond, pearls, and semi-precious stones such as emeralds. The wonder of the Imperial Fabergé Eggs lies in their uniqueness. Each piece of the set has its own one-of-a-kind design of glass enamel, metalwork, and gems.
As the second wife to one of the richest men in the world, Katarina Henckel von Donnersmarck received a truly divine tiara made up of 11 of the world's rarest emeralds. The gemstones were said to have belonged to the Empress Eugenie of France before Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck acquired them for Katarina as he had the empress' pearls for his first wife, Pauline.
The emeralds on the tiara weigh up to a total of over 500 carats, while the base boasts a set of remarkable cushion-shaped diamonds over rows of diamond laurels. When the tiara was put up for auction by Sotheby's in 1979 and acquired by a private collector who also auctioned the piece in 2011. This latest sale found the diadem sold for an impressive $ 12.7 million setting the world record price for a tiara sold at an auction.
Jewelry doesn't need to be old to be iconic. In 2012, rapper Jay-Z offered his wife, Beyoncé Knowles, one of the most beautiful Tanzanite rings of the decade to mark the birth of their daughter, Blue Ivy Carter. At an impressive 10 carats, the precious stone expertly shaped in a cushion cut and bordered by a fine diamond frame boasted one of the most intense and vivid shades of blue ever seen on a Tanzanite.
While the gemstone is said to have been chosen in relation to their baby's name, Blue Ivy, it has also been said that the rapper specifically gifted his wife with a Tanzanite ring due to the Maasai customs. Over the course of time, it has become a tradition for Maasai women to be offered a Tanzanite stone after childbirth to bring luck, prosperity, and hope of longevity.
Jewelry is both a demonstration of style and investment. If you are looking to acquire your own iconic, custom-made jewelry, have a look at our catalog of unique Tanzanite pieces and invest in a gemstone that gains value every day.