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From Queen Elizabeth II to Wallis Simpson, these are the most famous jewellery collectors of all time

Queen Elizabeth II

It's no surprise that Queen Elizabeth II has inherited some extraordinary jewellery pieces that 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The former was originally made for the coronation of her father, King George VI, in 1937.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.

Elizabeth Taylor

The diamond was certainly Elizabeth Taylor's best friend. The actress' private jewellery collection was one of the most important in the world thanks to generous gifts from her on-off husband Richard Burton.

It was so important to Taylor that she even wrote a book about it: Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair With Jewelry. "I feel as though I'm only the custodian of my jewellery," she remarked. "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 (well over HK$1 billion), making it the most valuable sale of jewellery in history. Bravo.

See also: 3 Unique Pieces From Elizabeth Taylor's Jewellery Collection

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Jackie Kennedy Onassis' jewellery made headlines in 2010 after a three-strand set of simulated pearls were sold for over HK$500,000. Imitation pearl and diamond ear clips fetched a further HK$160,000 at the Bonhams auction.

Kennedy Onassis's jewellery was sold by an unidentified British collector who purchased a number of her pieces at a Sotheby's auction in 1996, two years after her death.

Several pieces from her collection were gifted by her first husband before she was widowed in 1963. JFK famously gave her a spectacular gold brooch by Tiffany & Co a few days prior to his being sworn in as president of the United States.

She also famously received a Cartier Tank watch from him, which he had engraved with, “To Jackie, Love Jack.”

See also: First Lady Fashion: 5 Inaugural Gowns We Love

Wallis Simpson

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 for 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 auction buyers.

María Félix

The Mexican actress had a penchant for extravagance, and famously commissioned Cartier to create one-of-a-kind animal-inspired jewels.

A superb necklace was handcrafted for Félix by the maison in 1975, which depicts a pair of emerald-studded and diamond-drenched crocodiles.

Known for playing femme fatale roles, the story goes that Félix 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.

See also: Meet Pierre Rainero: Cartier’s Gatekeeper of Style

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