The Statue of Diana, Princess of Wales (Image Source: Jonathan Brady/PA)
July 1st would have been the 60th birthday of Diana, Princess of Wales. The people’s Princess was honored with the unveiling of an incredible statue of her likeness in The Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace. Her beloved sons were both present for the unveiling, which would have been a gift in itself. The tension that seems to have bloomed between Princes has lead to strained relationships. Above all though, both Princes loved their mother tremendously and would not do anything that might mar her memory.
Diana, Princess of Wales was ahead of her time and was more free-thinking about fashion than were most of her peers. More than once, Diana wore art deco chokers as headbands; throwing convention to the wind. She was not afraid to re-imagine classic jewelry pieces into a style that fit her personality more. That seems like the heart of an artist, in the body of a Princess. She was a picture of fantasy fulfillment for young people the world over.
There are a couple of standouts that I want to focus on today because there are so many and we could discuss Diana, Princess of Wales for days! Some pieces of her jewelry marked her role within the Royals, and some pieces or styling of pieces were a reminder that she has an independent streak that could not be stopped.
THE SPENCER TIARA
When Lady Diana Spencer, former kindergarten teacher, was to be married to HRH Prince Charles the world fell in love with her. As a gift from her mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II, Lady Diana was given The Lover’s Knot Tiara. Lady Diana knew that she was going to spend the rest of her life as a Windsor, with all of the complications that come with that. Resultingly, she chose at that moment to display a bit of Spencer loyalty.
This tiara was created through the combination of several pieces of jewelry that were gifted to Lady Cynthia Hamilton, the grandmother of Lady Diana Spencer. Around 1937, Lady Hamilton took her pieces to Garrard Jewelers and had this gorgeous tiara crafted. Upon Diana’s death, the Spencer Tiara returned to the Spencer family.
QUEEN MARY’S ART DECO EMERALD AND DIAMOND CHOKER
This necklace has often been erroneously referred to as the Cambridge Emerald Choker. The thought was that it had been created using Queen Mary’s Cambridge Emeralds which she had inherited from her own family. Augusta of Hesse-Kassel, then Duchess of Cambridge won the original Cambridge emeralds in a raffle, can you believe that? I’ll relay the story of the Cambridge emeralds next month!
The choker’s emeralds and diamonds were a gift to Queen Mary from the Ladies of India, gifted already set into a longer necklace. Queen Mary gave the necklace to Garrard Jewelers in 1921 to have it recreated as an art deco choker set in platinum. Queen Mary often wore her necklaces stacked. The new more compact design was a better fit for her style.
When Queen Mary passed in 1953, the choker along with much of her collection was passed to Queen Elizabeth II. When Lady Diana was set to marry Prince Charles, the choker was among the jewels that she was given as a part of her royal collection. Diana made the choker a signature piece and was seen in it frequently. One of the most talked-about stylings that Diana used for the choker was when she wore it as a bandeau on the tour in Australia. Spinning around the dance floor in the turquoise off-the-shoulder gown and her incredible emeralds, she was a sight to see. Her seemingly effortless beauty and fashion taste were just a part of the reason that she was so overwhelmingly beloved by people all over the world.
Happy birthday Diana, Princess of Wales. We had far too few years of your energy and hope. Thank you for all of your contributions to the betterment of so many.
What was your favorite Diana, Princess of Wales look? Do you have any jewelry that was inspired by the people’s Princess? Share it with us in the comments!
Written by Kayti Kawachi