Jewellery expertly crafted from diamonds and precious gems has been worn by kings, queens, and royalty from many cultures throughout history. It was a sign of wealth and status to wear jewellery and your finest clothing when making a public appearance. Following the style of ancient royalty, this list of the 10 most expensive pieces of jewellery ever made includes the world’s most expensive gem, the Hope Diamond. This beautiful diamond necklace is one of the most treasured items in the world. Many of the items listed here have changed owners many times but are still in existence today to showcase the craftsmanship that made them worth millions.
Diamonds are one of the hardest substances known to man. That is why many high-tech lasers use them for precision cutting instruments. It takes years of heat and pressure to create a beautiful gem from a lump of coal. Diamonds are made up of carbon naturally present in layers of the earth (90 miles below the surface) and are exposed to extreme heat and pressure over a long period. It takes millions of years to form what we now call diamonds. They are as old as the earth itself and partly what makes them worth so much money.
#1 Chopard 201-Carat Watch – $25 million
This beautiful piece of jewellery resembles an artist’s rendition on a stained glass window, with all the brightly colored stones blending to form a timepiece that takes a lot of strength to wear. Not only is it worth $25 million dollars, but it is also heavy. The owner of this lovely watch is Karl-Friedrich Scheufele according to Forbes magazine. It is made with eight hundred and seventy-four individual stones and is one of the most expensive diamond wristwatches in the world.
#2 The Hutton-Mdivani Jadeite Necklace – $27. 4 million
Jadeite is one of the rarest forms of Jade on earth. It is created from mesomorphic rock and intense pressure beneath the earth’s surface, much like diamonds. Ancient axe heads and beads made from Jadeite were discovered in Northern Italy. It is an old stone worthy of belonging to the Cartier Collection of jewellery. Not technically a piece of diamond jewellery, but it has diamonds in the clasp, which makes it a good addition to this list.
It was owned by the daughter of Woolworth’s founder Barbara Hutton, who was a jewellery collector herself owning several pieces of historical jewellery like the Marie Antoinette Pearl Necklace and the Romanov emeralds. She commissioned Cartier’s to add the ruby and diamond clasp that contrasts against the deep green Jadeite beads for a stunning necklace.
#3 The Graff Pink Diamond – $46.2 million
The pink diamond owned by Laurence Graff is one of the rarest in the world. It is rated in the top 2 % of all diamonds for its purity by The Gemological Institute of America. This gorgeous stone was previously owned by celebrity jeweler and collector, Harry Winston. Set in white gold surrounded by smaller white diamonds, The Graff Pink is an exquisite 24.78-carat emerald-cut pink diamond ring that would have belonged on the finger of a queen or princess in a royal court. It is one of the most beautiful diamonds in existence.
#4 Blue Moon of Josephine – $48.4 million
Another stunningly beautiful diamond ring is the 12.03-carat Blue Moon of Josephine. Like the famous pink diamond, blue diamonds are extremely rare. Only a fraction of all the diamonds that are mined have any color to them. This brilliant stone is a rich, deep blue; like the color of the ocean.
It was auctioned by Sotheby’s for $48.4 million and is currently owned by the daughter of Chinese billionaire Joseph Lau. It was a gift for her and he renamed it after her. It was originally named the Blue Moon Diamond and was discovered in the Cullinan mine in South Africa.
#5 L’Incomparable Diamond Necklace – $55 million
Known as L’Incomparable, this dazzling yellow diamond is the size of an egg. The 407.48-ct gem set in 18-karat gold is considered to be a diamond of flawless condition by The Gemological Institute of America. Besides the large yellow diamond, the rest of the necklace consists of 27 pear-shaped diamonds, 35 round diamonds, and 28 smaller cut assorted diamonds. It is a truly remarkable piece of modern jewellery. The signature stone was discovered by a young girl in the Republic of Congo and is currently on display in Singapore. Previously it has been shown in museums and spent some time at the Smithsonian Institute.
#6 The Oppenheimer Blue Diamond – $57.5 million
The Oppenheimer Blue Diamond is an emerald-cut, 14.62-carat diamond once owned by Sir Philip Oppenheimer.of the DeBeers Group. It was sold at Christie’s auction house in May 2016 becoming the second most expensive jewel ever sold at auction, the Pink Star diamond was the first. It sold for a cool $57.5 million after 20 minutes of intense bidding.
Blue diamonds are truly rare, as are pink diamonds. Most diamonds are almost completely devoid of any color, except for the prism color displayed when exposed to sunlight. If it were to ever be sold again, this beautiful piece of jewellery would make a diamond engagement ring befitting a queen.
#7 The Pink Star Diamond – $71.2 million
The Pink Star is a 59.60-carat diamond rated for its multifaceted color as Fancy Vivid Pink by the Gemological Institute of America. It is one of the largest diamonds with the rating of Vivid pink. The Pink Star was mined in South Africa in 1999 by the De Beers Group. The stone weighed 132.5 carats before being cut which took 20 months to create the stunning masterpiece. It made its first public appearance in Monaco in May of 2003. It was formerly known as the Steinmetz Pink, named after the Beny Steinmetz Group. It spent some time on display at the Smithsonian and was sold at auction to a privately-owned corporation in Hong Kong in 2017.
#8 Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond – $80 million
The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond is a brightly-coloured square-cut blue diamond. It originally came from the Kollur mines of India and was a present from King Philip IV of Spain for his daughter’s dowry. The stone changed hands a few times until it became the property of a member of the Wittelsbach family, Charles of Bavaria. It later became the chief stone in a crown made for the King of Bavaria. Years later it was purchased by jeweler Laurence Graff, who re-cut it to remove a few small flaws and later sold it for $80 million to the emir of Qatar. The Gemological Institute of America has rated it as a “Fancy Deep Blue.” It is a brilliant blue diamond with historical value and worth every penny.
#9 The Peacock Brooch – $100 million
This stunning work of art is owned by jeweller Laurence Graff (the King of Diamonds, as he is also known) as part of his collection. The brooch is 120.81 carats and is composed of colored diamonds surrounding a 20.02-carat fancy deep blue pear shape diamond. The feathers of the peacock are yellow, white, blue, and orange diamonds. Graff unveiled this piece at a gathering of art collectors in the Netherlands. In total, it has over 1,305 diamonds and the centre blue diamond can be removed and worn separately. The brooch is a magnificent piece of artistic jewellery created by a master craftsman.
#10 The Hope Diamond -$200-250 million
Now for the number 1# most expensive piece of jewellery in the world, the Hope Diamond concludes this list at a price tag of $200 million dollars. A little known fact about the diamond is that it is the true-life piece that was the subject of interest in the movie “Titanic.” Although the pendant worn by actress Kate Winslet in the film was a sapphire, the story about the stone belonging to King Louis XVI and carrying a curse was in reference to the Hope Diamond.
The diamond was stolen twice during its lifetime, and a curse was put on it to cause anyone who possessed it to suffer bad luck. It was owned by 17th-century French merchant, Jean Baptiste-Tavernier, who then sold it to King Louis XVI. Everyone who came in contact with the stone suffered bad luck or untimely death. For the King, his children and grandchildren died young, and the King himself passed away from a terrible infection. It was passed down to his successor and his wife, Marie Antoinette. Of course, everyone knows how that story ends. So maybe there was some truth to the “curse” after all. After many owners and several mysterious deaths, it was finally acquired by the National Museum of Natural History where it resides today.
SOME HANDY TIPS!
#1. Identifying a fake diamond from a real diamond
Given the high market value of diamonds and how they are one of the most sought-after gemstones, it’s not surprising that there are many replicas or fake stones that are in circulation. Be it for security reasons or simply a way to make a quick buck, fake diamonds are a reality and it is important to know how to distinguish them from the real ones.
#2. Identifying a real mounted diamond
Some excellent diamond imitations have successfully fooled even the most expert gemmologists, therefore using only your eyes to determine whether a diamond is real or not can be really tricky, but not impossible.
If a diamond is mounted, you would be unable to see through to its bottom if the diamond is real.
The reason being the way the light travels through the many facets of the gem.
Place an unmounted diamond face down upon a newspaper, if you’re able to see the text clearly, then there’s a problem.
#3. The diamond reflection test
A diamond’s reflection tells a lot about it. A real diamond will reflect in shades of grey. If you happen to see sparkling rainbow colors, the diamond is very likely to be a fake one.
#4. Testing a diamond at home
The density of a real diamond is extremely high, due to the immense pressures required to create them in the earth’s crust. Therefore the water test would show whether your stone matches that level of density.
You can use the following simple test to find out if a diamond is real – or not.
Find a medium-sized drinking glass and fill about three-quarters of it with water. Then, drop the stone carefully into the glass. If the gemstone sinks, the diamond is real. If it floats on the surface of the water, the stone is fake.
#5. The scratch test
This test is one of the easiest ways to test a diamond. All you have to do is simply scratch your stone against a mirror. If the stone in question is hard enough to scratch the mirror, it is most likely a real diamond.
In recent times this has become a more difficult test. A number of strong and durable materials are being used to make fake diamonds; therefore, this method is now less reliable.
#6. Heat resistance
A glass will easily shatter into pieces when it’s brought in close proximity to a heat source. On the other hand, an original diamond would be left unscathed.
#7. The fog test
Breath on your stone. Due to the moisture and heat from your mouth, a light layer of fog will form on the diamond. If the stone clears right away, it’s real. If not, then it’s fake.
This list of the most expensive pieces of jewellery ever made is meant to inspire your creativity. If you are looking for a diamond engagement ring, diamond pendant, or jewelled bracelet, take inspiration from these pieces of wearable art. As you can see, gifts of jewellery can last throughout the ages and will always be valuable in worth and the meaning it holds for the person it is given to.
Would you like a wonderful piece of jewellery, with a diamond inset into it?