‘The Crown’ is back with a fifth season and it has everybody talking. Created by Peter Morgan, the period drama retells the history of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s entire reign, starting from her ascension to the throne in 1947.
Fictionally charting the ups and downs of the Royal Family in the 1990s, season 5 focuses on Princess Diana as she grapples with the final years of her turbulent marriage to the then Prince Charles and the couple’s eventual divorce.
Since it first premiered in 2016, ‘The Crown’ has been a consistently popular title for Netflix and people can’t get enough of the iconic outfits and spectacular pieces of jewellery featured in each season.
Having watched with a close eye, jewellery and engagement ring experts at Steven Stone have revealed everything you need to know about some of the royal jewels that the show has recreated in season 5 – from King Charles III’s historic signet ring to Princess Margaret’s favourite brooch.
Princess Diana’s Ceylon Sapphire & Diamond Engagement Ring
Estimated value: £390,000 ($460,000)
In 2010, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge used the stunning ring to propose to Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge.
Whilst it cost just £28,500 at the time of purchase, its value has soared.
Diamond expert, Maxwell Stone, commented: “While Prince Harry inherited the ring in 1997 in the wake of Diana’s tragic death, it’s said he offered the cherished ring to his brother, Prince William, so he could propose to Kate Middleton with it.
When Prince William and Kate Middleton became engaged in 2010, the royal engagement ring was once again in the spotlight.
Globally, the sale of blue sapphires increased by around 300 percent at the time, and even now, thanks to ‘The Crown’, sales of sapphires are surging, with vintage style halo designs being extremely popular.
Due to inflation and its legacy, we’d estimate the value of this ring to be around £390,000 today, however in 10 years’ time it’s likely this ring will be worth over £500,000, thanks to its history, beauty, and priceless legacy.”
Queen Elizabeth II’s Engagement Ring
Estimated value: £207,000 ($245,000)
Queen Elizabeth II’s engagement ring from Prince Philip has a special story, as the diamonds used to create the ring came from a tiara belonging to his mother – Princess Alice of Battenberg. Prince Philip designed the square-cut diamond engagement ring with jewellers, Philip Antrobus Ltd.
The ring is set with eleven diamonds, including five smaller stones set on each shoulder.
Using diamonds from his mother’s tiara may have been a way to save money, as well being as a sentimental gesture, as whilst Prince Philip was born a Greek prince, it seems his family were not extremely wealthy. The Queen’s ring is made from a nugget of Welsh gold from the Clogau St David’s mine, near Dolgellau.
The same nugget has been used to make Princess Anne, Princess Diana and Kate Middleton’s rings.
Princess Diana’s Diamond & Sapphire Choker
Estimated value: £50,000,000 to £100,000,000 ($60,000,000 to $120,000,000)
Princess Diana’s diamond and sapphire choker was originally an eye-catching sapphire brooch that she received as a wedding gift from the Queen Mother. The breathtaking brooch previously belonged to Queen Mary and had been passed down in Royal tradition.
It was worn on many occasions and is definitely one of her most iconic, statement pieces. In 1985, she was pictured wearing it during a dance with John Travolta at the White House. In 1994, she wore it with her well-known “revenge dress” during the day Prince Charles admitted to his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.
Diamond expert, Maxwell Stone commented: “Princess Diana was a clear fan of sapphires and just like her engagement ring, she only wore the most beautiful deep, blue stones. Looking at the image of the huge stone, it could be anywhere from 50 to 70 carats in weight, maybe even heavier. With that in mind it could be worth anywhere from £50,000,000 to £100,000,000. This is probably one of the most expensive jewels from the entire Royal collection.”
Queen Elizabeth II’s Three Strand Pearl Necklace
Estimated value: £1,000,000 ($1,200,000)
Pearls have always had a connection with royalty, however Queen Elizabeth is especially known for her love of this radiant gemstone, wearing a pearl necklace for countless events and occasions. The Queen has an extensive collection of pearl necklaces, some with just one strand and others with three or four, however on most occasions, she wears a three-strand pearl necklace – and there’s a reason why.
Thanks to a tradition started by Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth is reported to have fallen in love with pearl jewellery when she was a child – Royal experts report that Queen Victoria gave each of her daughters and granddaughters a single pearl on their birthday as they grew up, so that by the time they reached the age of 18, they would have enough pearls for a necklace.
Queen Elizabeth’s parents continued the royal tradition, giving her a chain onto which they added two pearls per birthday. The Queen also received a complete pearl necklace from her father, King George VI for her coronation in 1937.
In February 2022, to kick off her 70th anniversary celebrations, Queen Elizabeth wore one of her most adorned three-strand pearl necklaces.
Diamond expert, Maxwell Stone, commented: “One single natural pearl is worth around £3,000, and as the Queen has a three-strand necklace, this could be worth anywhere from £600,000 to £1,000,000.”
King Charles III’s Signet Ring
Estimated value: £4,000 ($4,700)
King Charles has owned and worn the same signet ring since the 1970’s, which is likely to be made with Welsh gold. Members of the royal family have been using Welsh gold to create their wedding bands since the Queen Mother married the Duke of York on 26th April 1923 – and most are thought to be fashioned out of the Queen’s personal collection from the Clogau St. David Gold Mine in Dolgellau, Wales.
Engraved with the symbol of the Prince of Wales, the signet ring serves as a reminder that although he was born to be King, Charles spent 64 years of his life as the Prince of Wales.
The meaning of signet rings are associated with a symbolic family heritage. Initially being created and used to mark documents, the face of the ring typically bearing a family crest, would be pressed into hot wax.
Last worn by his uncle, Prince Edward, the Duke of Windsor, who was the Prince of Wales before he ascended the throne, the ring dates back 175 years.
Diamond expert, Maxwell Stone, commented: “The meaning of signet rings are associated with a symbolic family heritage. Initially being created and used to mark documents, the face of the ring typically bearing a family crest, would be pressed into hot wax.
It is widely known that King Charles has owned and worn this same signet ring since the 1970’s, the bezel distinctly engraved with the crest of the Prince of Wales. This signet ring is likely to be made with Welsh gold, a royal tradition, carrying a weight of approximately 20g. Nowadays, signet rings are commonly worn as heirlooms, having been passed down through generations.
A signet ring like the King’s is likely to retail at approximately £4,000.”
Collingwood Diamond Pearl Earrings
Estimated value: £35,000 ($42,000)
The refined drop-pearl-and-diamond earrings were a wedding gift from London jeweler, Collingwood, worn by Princess Diana on numerous occasions, both casual and formal.
Kate Middleton wore the delicate pearl-drop earrings to honor her late mother-in-law at the Queen’s annual garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 15th, 2019.
Diamond expert, Maxwell Stone, commented: “While pearls can vary in price, the ones featured in these earrings are of the highest quality as they are South Sea pearls. Earrings like this would cost between £30,000 to £35,000 on today’s market.“
Queen Elizabeth II’s Brazilian Aquamarine Set
Estimated value: £17,000,000 ($20,000,000)
The Brazilian Aquamarine was commissioned by the Queen as a part of an evolving parure of jewels.
Though, the Brazilian aquamarine parure didn’t start with a tiara – it began with a necklace and a pair of earrings. The diamond and aquamarine pieces were presented to the late monarch in 1953 by the Brazilian president as a coronation gift on behalf of the people of Brazil.
By 1957, the Queen had also commissioned Garrard to make a tiara to match the aquamarine demi-parure. The tiara featured an elaborate diamond and aquamarine bandeau base, with three aquamarine and diamond elements placed at intervals.
The Queen wore the tiara fairly consistently – most notably when she attended a Russian State Banquet in 1994, which is featured in Season 5, Episode 6 of ‘The Crown’.
Diamond expert, Maxwell Stone, commented: “Queen Elizabeth’s brazilian quarmarine tiara is a spectacular piece, particularly when paired with the matching earrings and necklace. The tiara features an elaborate diamond and aquamarine bandeau base, with three striking aquamarine and diamond elements placed at intervals.”
The Queen Anne & Queen Caroline Pearl Necklaces
Estimated value: £26,000 ($30,000)
When the then Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip on 20th November 1947, she was gifted two historic pieces of jewellery by her parents – the Queen Anne and Queen Caroline pearls.
The necklaces are generally worn together as a pair, resembling a double-stranded pearl necklace, but they are two distinct, separate pieces with individual clasps.
The smaller necklace is the Queen Anne, which is strung with 46 pearls; the slightly longer Queen Caroline Necklace has 50 pearls.
Diamond Expert, Maxwell Stone, commented: “The Queen Anne and Queen Caroline necklaces are elegant pieces with a lot of history attached to them.
According to Queen Victoria’s 1896 jewellery inventory, one necklace belonged to Queen Anne, the last Stuart monarch, and one belonged to Queen Caroline, the wife of King George II.
Queen Elizabeth has some of the most valuable jewels in the world, so it would be fair to assume that both necklaces are made from natural pearls.“
Princess Margaret’s Ruby & Diamond Flower Brooch
Estimated value: £43,000 ($50,000)
Princess Margaret’s ruby and diamond flower brooch was made in London in 1948 by Cartier. Featuring an oval ruby stamen and leaf decoration, the brooch is a spectacular piece that the Princess wore for her entire adult life.
After her sad passing, the jewels from her estate were sold at Christie’s and this magnificent brooch went for a staggering £108,000. According to the Christie’s listing, the dazzling piece was originally made as a clip brooch, but was later converted to a ‘pin-fitting’ brooch.
Queen Mary’s Lovers Knot Tiara
Estimated value: £1,000,000 ($1,200,000)
The dazzling diamond and pearl tiara was originally designed for Queen Mary back in 1913 which passed on for her granddaughter. Queen Elizabeth II reportedly presented it to Diana for her royal wedding day in 1981, although she respectfully declined and opted to wear her father’s Spencer’s Family Tiara instead.
Despite this, the Lover’s Knot became one of her favourite pieces, although it’s claimed to have been so heavy that it hurt her head.
The fact that it’s so heavy it hurt Princess Diana’s head indicates that this is a valuable tiara, embellished with the finest quality diamonds and pearls.
The King George VI Victorian Suite
Estimated value: £500,000 ($590,000)
The George VI Sapphires are undoubtedly among Queen Elizabeth II’s most meaningful jewels. The demi-parure, which consists of a Victorian-era necklace and earrings, was a wedding gift from her father in 1947. A few years later, the Queen refashioned the necklace, shortening it and removing the largest sapphire stone to turn into a pendant. Sometime during the ’60s, she also commissioned a matching bracelet to accompany the set.
Queen Elizabeth most recently wore the meaningful jewellery suite for her official Canadian royal portrait in 2020. In 1990, the Queen took the whole suite with her for a royal tour of Canada—making it a particularly meaningful choice for this portrait.
The incredible sapphire and diamond cluster line necklace originally featured 18 sapphires, sat on a gradient, ranging from 8 to 30cts, before it was redesigned in 1952. These huge sapphires are surrounded by a halo of diamonds, and linked together by additional single stone diamonds, which are between 0.8ct and 1.5ct.
When Queen Elizabeth altered the necklace, she removed four of the sapphire clusters from the back and remodelled and reset one of larger stones from the front, to create a beautiful pendant for the necklace.
When it comes to the beautiful pair of sapphire earrings, the sapphires look to be around 15ct, with a value in excess of £250,000 to £300,000. The bracelet is probably worth around £500,000 to £600,000.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Girls of Great Britain & Ireland Tiara
Estimated value: £8,500,000 ($10,000,000)
A family heirloom, the ‘Girls of Great Britain and Ireland’ tiara has been in the Royal Family’s possession since the late 19th Century and made frequent appearances during the Queen’s 70 year reign.
The history of the late monarch’s favourite diadem goes back to the early 1890′, when it was gifted to Princess Mary of Teck – the daughter of one of Queen Victoria’s cousins – on her wedding day.
The tiara takes its name from the committee of women who raised money for its creation. They purchased the tiara, which features festoon and fleur-de-lis designs, from Garrard in June 1893. The tiara was made of diamonds set in silver and gold and topped by fourteen pearls.
In 1914, Mary decided to tweak the tiara by having Garrard remove the pearls from the top of the tiara and replace them with 13 brilliant diamonds. The base of the tiara was also removed around this time so that it could be worn separately as a bandeau.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Fern Brooch
Estimated Value: £25,000 ($30,000)
A gift from across the pond, this diamond and platinum brooch was presented to the Queen by Lady Allum, wife of the Mayor of Auckland, on behalf of the women of Auckland in 1953.
The silver tree fern it represents is one of the most recognisable symbols of New Zealand.
The late monarch wore the brooch for visits to New Zealand, and in April 2014, she loaned the brooch to the Duchess of Cambridge to wear during her family visit to New Zealand.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Fringe Tiara
Estimated value: £5,000,000 ($5,900,000)
Commissioned by Queen Mary in 1919, the diamond fringe tiara was originally a fringe necklace that was a wedding day gift from Queen Victoria, which she often wore in her hair.
However, Queen Mary was fond of customising her jewellery pieces, so 26 years after her wedding day in 1893 she asked royal jeweller Garrard to make it into a kokoshnik-style piece, consisting of 47 graduated brilliant and rose-set tapering bars, separated by 46 narrower spikes, which could still be removed to make a necklace.
It was later given to Queen Elizabeth I as a wedding gift and was often worn by Princess Margaret, before the tiara was returned to Elizabeth II.
The Queen Mother also loaned the tiara to her daughter Queen Elizabeth II to wear at her wedding in 1947. According to the Court Jeweller, there’s a well-known story about the tiara, which involved a huge mishap. It’s believed that when the tiara was placed on the bride’s head, it snapped – and had to be repaired by jewellers Garrard before she could walk down the aisle.
The second Windsor bride wear the tiara was Princess Anne, who wore it to her wedding to Mark Phillips in 1973.
Diamond expert, Maxwell Stone, commented: “The diamond fringe tiara is probably the most talked about tiara from the royal family, as it’s been worn frequently by not only Queen Elizabeth II but Princess Margaret, Princess Beatrice, Princess Anne, and Kate Middleton. It’s no surprise that the royal ladies have been keen to loan this incredible head piece, as it is truly spectacular. It features a wealth of white diamonds on 47 graduated brilliant and rose-set tapering bars, separated by 46 narrower spikes. It is likely to be worth around £5,000,000.”