Known as the people’s princess, Lady Diana Spencer holds a special place in many people’s hearts, and even 20 years after her tragic death, her iconic fashion sense continues to captivate audiences around the world. As much as she was known for her philanthropy and kindness, Diana was also known for what she wore. Photographed wherever she went, the Princess of Wales was one of the most influential style icons of her time.
Her classic tailored suits and ruffled pussy-bow blouses worn in her younger years evolved into embellished gowns and body-con velvet, as we watched her transformation from “Shy Di” (nicknamed by the press) to the sleek and confident woman that was adored by all. From her iconic sapphire engagement ring that is one of the most recognised in the world, to her love for chokers - we take a look at Diana’s best jewellery moments.
Her iconic engagement ring
By far the most recognised engagement ring in the world, Lady Diana Spencer chose her ring from a selection presented by Garrard Jewelers when Prince Charles proposed in 1981. The striking 12-carat Ceylon sapphire ring surrounded by diamonds was, at the time, a rather unusual choice for a future princess. It wasn’t custom-made nor was it particularly unique. In fact, it was featured in Garrard’s jewellery collection and available for anyone to buy, but it was the one Diana fell in love with. Prince William gave the ring to Catherine Middleton when he proposed in 2010 and said it was his way of making sure his mother didn't miss out on his wedding day.
Her favourite tiara
The Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara was famously a favourite of Princess Diana. After receiving it as a wedding gift, the princess wore the pearl and diamond tiara to a multitude of events over the years. In 1983, she wore the tiara and matching diamond earrings to a banquet in Auckland, looking particularly demure. Years later, in 1989, Diana paired the tiara with her iconic Elvis dress by London-based couturière Catherine Walker during a tour of Hong Kong. The striking contrast between the two photos shows how much her style evolved - from reserved, romantic outfits to bold, elegant fashion statements.
The swan lake necklace
A trip to the Royal Albert Hall to see Swan Lake turned out to be Diana’s last official engagement. The rather lavish diamond and pearl necklace she wore to the performance was made by Garrard, with input from Diana on the design. Garrard went on to make matching earrings for the necklace but they were never worn by Diana.
Diana was frequently spotted wearing the Art Deco diamond and emerald choker from the Delhi Durbar parure. Created by Queen Mary to find a purpose for her Cambridge emeralds, Diana didn’t stick to the traditional way of wearing the necklace and also famously wore it as a headband.
Pearl jewellery was a constant accessory for Diana. Whether it was just a simple strand and a pair of pearl earrings or a multi-layered choker, pearls were what the Princess was most likely to be seen wearing.
Family was one of the closest things to Diana’s heart, so her jewellery collection also included some personalised pieces. The young Lady Spencer wore a simple gold chain bearing her initial ‘D’, keeping her early jewellery minimal and personal. After the birth of their first child, Prince Charles gave Diana a gold 'torque' necklace with a disc engraved with 'William' in loopy handwriting. The former princess reportedly wore her necklace mostly in private, but was photographed wearing it with a polka dot dress at a polo match, months after William's birth.
In 2013, to celebrate the birth of Prince George and continue the family tradition, Pippa Middleton gifted Kate a hand-engraved necklace with the Prince’s name on from London jewellers Merci Maman (Merci Maman is available to shop here on JewelStreet).