Looking for spectacular pieces of jewelry? Like works of art, the pieces below were specially commissioned, and the history contained within them is just as valuable as their cut or clarity. Here, behold some of the world’s most expensive and stunning jewels that have held their value over time.
The Blue Belle of Asia
In the 13th century, Ceylon—the area from which this gem hails —was the “jewel box of the Indian Ocean.” Now modern-day Sri Lanka, this region has certainly been a treasure trove. Some of the world’s rarest gemstones have come from the area.
This mammoth cut of sapphire, weighing over 392 carats, recently sold for $17 million. In addition to its massive size, part of the mystique surrounding this stone comes from its mysterious reappearance after vanishing for 35 years.
Emerald and Diamond Tiara
While diamonds may have found a famous following in Marilyn Monroe and Liz Taylor, the former German princess Katharina Henckel von Donnersmarck fancied stones of a greener variety. First commissioned by her husband as a gift for her, an anonymous bidder purchased this emerald-encrusted crown for a cool $12.7 million. The tiara contains some of the rarest emeralds in the world.
Wallis Simpson Panther Bracelet
In true socialite style, the late Duchess of Windsor Wallis Simpson certainly knew how to make a splash. Never one to shy away from controversy, her choice in jewelry was as newsworthy as her infamous scandals. Known as the most famous bracelet in the world, her iconic onyx and diamond panther bracelet designed by Cartier. It recently sold for $4 million and also holds the record for the highest bid for a bracelet at auction.
Heart of the Kingdom Ruby Necklace
Created by Garrard, one of the oldest jewelry houses in the world, this heart-shaped, 40.63 carat ruby stone is also set amongst a backdrop of precious diamonds. Appraisers recently valued the piece at $14 million. In addition to being somewhat of an anomaly (rubies of this size are almost never seen), this piece has multiple uses. Its wearer can opt to don it as a necklace or a tiara.
The Historic Pink
This precious stone has been a part of some very prominent collections. Once belonging to the Princess Mathilde Bonaparte, Napoleon I’s niece, it later changed hands to join the collection of Huguette Clark, a famously wealthy American heiress and philanthropist. Consisting of an 8.72 carat pink stone set between two brilliant-cut white diamonds, it recently sold for $16 million in a Sotheby’s auction.
While you may need to look beyond what is offered at the jewelry counter for a taste of truly made-to-measure opulence, if there’s anything that these fascinating stones prove, it’s that few heirlooms come close to passing down a story like precious jewels.