5 Famous Female Jewellery Collectors You Should Know
These women are proof that diamonds are a girl’s best friend
This actress’s private collection was one of the world’s most important, thanks to generous gifts from her on-off husband Richard Burton. “I feel as though I’m only the custodian of my jewellery,” she remarked in her book Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair With Jewelry. “When I die and they go off to auction, I hope whoever buys them gives them a really good home.”
After Taylor’s death in 2011, her collection went to auction through Christie’s, amassing US$144 million, making it the most valuable sale of jewellery in history. Bravo.
Queen Elizabeth II
It’s no surprise that Queen Elizabeth II has inherited some extraordinary jewels, which have been passed down through a long line of British monarchs. Her most famous piece, of course, is the Imperial State Crown which she wore alongside a diamond necklace for her coronation.
The former was originally made for the coronation of her father, King George VI, in 1937. Set with 2,868 diamonds in silver and gold, the headpiece also features sapphires, emeralds and pearls.
Jackie O’s jewellery made headlines in 2010 after a three-strand set of simulated pearls that were valued at about US$65 sold for US$211,500. Many of her pieces were sold by an unidentified British collector who purchased them at a Sotheby’s auction in 1996, two years after her death.
Several jewels were gifts from Kennedy Onassis’s first husband, John F Kennedy, before she was widowed in 1963, including a Tiffany & Co gold brooch that JFK gave to her a few days prior to his being sworn in as US president.
This Mexican actress had a penchant for extravagance and famously commissioned Cartier to create one-of-a-kind animal-inspired jewels. In 1975, the maison handcrafted a superb necklace for Félix, which depicts a pair of emerald-studded and diamond-drenched crocodiles.
The story goes that Félix, known for playing femme fatale roles, marched into Cartier’s Paris boutique with a baby crocodile, demanding the jeweller replicate the animal’s face, body, legs and tail for the piece. Talk about a woman who knows what she wants.
In 1936, when King Edward VIII chose to marry his twice-divorced American girlfriend Wallis Simpson, he was forced to give up the British throne. The couple would later become famous for their high society parties and lavish lifestyles, and this included Simpson’s opulent taste in exceptional jewellery.
After her death, her beautiful collection made history in 1987 at a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva. It fetched an eye-watering US$50 million, which at the time was a record for a single-owned jewellery collection. Fun fact: Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Collins were among the buyers.