Sparkling with gemstones and dripping with jewels, there’s nothing that symbolises royalty more than their iconic accessories. While it’s clear some of the most cherished pieces of royal jewellery are priceless beyond imagination, it’s never been known just how valuable they are, and how long it would take you to afford them.
We looked at the most ornate tiaras, necklaces and rings of royal families over the world and their estimated values. Using the average salary of the working brit across five major cities, we found out just how many years you would have to work to be able to afford these glamorous gems.
When the Nizam of Hyderabad let the then princess Elizabeth ii choose a wedding present from Cartier, she selected the most valuable piece the British royal family owns to date. Originally part of a gift set including a matching diamond tiara, the most costly piece of royal jewellery has only been publicly worn by the queen herself and duchess kate Middleton.
The necklace which features 13 emerald cut diamonds, has been valued at a whopping £66.3m! For the average brit, a piece of this value is quite literally out of reach, with the average brit having to work over 2,000 years to afford it!
Known for being the most ostentatious of the British royals, queen mary was the first owner of the Cullinan iii and iv brooch. Housed in platinum are the third and fourth greatest of nine pieces cut from the largest diamond ever found. The pricey pin is valued at an astonishing £50m! And that doesn’t even include the chippings queen mary left with the diamond cutter.
Now featured in Queen Elizabeth ii’s personal collection and worn only on occasion, the pair of diamonds would only be within reach after 1,296 years of work for the average Londoner. For someone from Birmingham or Glasgow, it would take a little longer – 1,722 and 1,596 years respectively.
In third place, the Williamson diamond brooch, a flawless pink diamond that was discovered in the Williamson diamond mine in Tanzania in 1947, before being gifted to the queen as a wedding gift.
The diamond is one of the rarest in the world and is worth an estimated £25m. It’s been suggested that it may have been the inspiration for the pink panther diamond in the film of the same name.
If that seems like a lot of work, at the bottom of our list as the most affordable piece of royal jewellery is the amethyst heart necklace – a giant heart-shaped purple stone held by three strings of pearls on either side. This piece sits in the duchess of Cornwall’s collection, along with a multitude of her signature amethyst-adorned accessories. Valued at £50,000, most brits could afford a taste of the high life after only 2 years!
Although they topped our list as the royal family with the most outrageous jewellery collection, they also own the more modest pieces we looked at. Queen Elizabeth ii’s coronation gift from the Brazilian people was an aquamarine necklace, along with a pair of matching earrings.
The queen loved the ostentatious set so much that she commissioned a custom tiara to complete the collection. However, she likely need not have worried, since on the queen’s following trips to Brazil she was gifted with an aquamarine bracelet, brooch and hairpiece. Estimated to be worth £150,000, the average brit would have to put in 5 years of work for this luxury item to be in sight!
Another of the queen’s more modest pieces in her collection are her aquamarine clip brooches, which are worth an estimated £160,000. These were a gift to the queen for her 18th birthday in 1944 from her parents, King George vi and queen Elizabeth.
Today you can often spot the queen wearing brooches on blue outfits such as when she visited the Obama family in 2016.
Queen Elizabeth loaned Kate Middleton the Lover’s Knot tiara, plus a necklace and earrings, to wear to a state dinner at Buckingham Palace in October 2018. The items were created by Garrard for Queen Mary in 1913 or 1914. The tiara alone is thought to be worth at least US$1 million today.