Princess Diana's Glittering Jewels
Diana had very little jewellery of her own when she became engaged to Charles. Elaborate pieces of the royal kind did not fit her pre-marriage lifestyle. But within a short while that was to change completely.
Before then, all she had in the way of jewellery was a pendant necklace with her initial and a pearl choker, which started a fashion after she became a public figure. Her easy going lifestyle required little more and jewels seemed to mean little to her.
These magnificent earrings were a favourite of Diana's. They feature a leaf design of diamonds set in silver with large sea pearl drops
The first substantial piece of jewellery that Diana owned was her beautiful oval sapphire engagement ring with its corona of 14 diamonds. On her wedding day, however, most jewellery that she wore was borrowed - the Spencer tiara and pearl and diamond earrings from her mother, and the pearl choker, worn with her going-away outfit, from her sister, Lady Sarah.
The Queen's wedding present to Diana was the glorious lover's knot tiara with tear-drop pearls, which had once belonged to the Queen's grandmother, Queen Mary. This tiara was a weighty item, the sort which gave the wearer headaches if left on for too long. Diana had some difficulty, though, suiting her hairstyle to the ornate tiara. During the Italian tour in 1985, for instance, there were too many fronds of hair sticking out and too much fringe to do the piece justice. A smoother, unfussy hairstyle would have been more appropriate, as Diana showed later, in Bonn in 1987, when she wore the Spencer tiara.
Diana's favourite form of jewellery seemed to be earrings, but wisely she realized she was not the sort of woman who could sport big, elaborate 'chandeliers'. Her earrings were mainly quite modest-looking, but they came in almost every form: large and small rounds, half-hoops, heart-shaped, pearl drop, horseshoes, plain gold rings, small pearl or diamond-studded. In virtually every picture taken of Diana, earrings were usually present, even when she was on the beach sunbathing.
Diana looks her glamorous best wearing the giant sapphire, a brooch given to her by the Queen Mother, which she had chosen to set on a pearl choker
Conversely, Diana rarely wore rings, apart from her engagement and wedding rings, and she disliked some brooches as 'too old'. The Queen Mother gave Diana a beautiful brooch as a wedding present, but she cleverly turned it into a necklace by mounting it on a pearl choker. This was a tactful way of displaying an important gift and her own style in jewellery at the same time. This was only one example of Diana's creative use of jewellery. Another of her wedding presents was a stunning suite of jewels from the royal family of Saudi Arabia: sapphire and diamond pendant, necklace, bracelet, earrings, ring and watch. From this, Diana produced a splendid jewelled headband to wear in Japan in 1986. She did a similar conversion on an emerald and diamond necklace which had once belonged to Queen Mary, wearing it round her head during her second visit to Australia in 1985.
It was unusual though for Diana to wear green jewellery. Sapphires were her favourite stone, matching the colour of her eyes. Pearls were a top choice too. An important lesson Diana learned was when not to wear jewellery. Many of her dresses had necklines which seemed to beg for a necklace, but Diana wisely left them to speak for themselves. Diana's style with jewellery was as much part of her fashion icon image as her clothes. She saw jewellery not as accessories but as part of her whole look. This was also marked by a display of superb taste.
Reference: Diana: An Extraordinary Life, a tribute magazine in 26 issues. Published in 1997.