Influential Women and Their Designer Diamond Jewellery
As a symbol of wealth, success and power, diamonds have long been adorned by influential women around the world. Here are some of the powerful female celebrities who love to collect and sport some serious bling.
Oprah Winfrey and her diamond jewelry
Actress, producer, and philanthropist, Oprah Winfrey, is certainly one of today’s most influential women, with her classic style adored by many around the world. She is also a passionate collector of fine diamond jewellery. Her extravagant diamond collection is estimated to be worth over $100 million (about R1,5 billion) including a dazzling diamond eternity ring created from a band of diamonds, opulent diamond chandelier earrings and the Riviera necklace.
It’s hard to believe that Oprah only had her ears pierced at the age of 51, as she is now rarely seen without wearing a beautiful pair of statement earrings. She also owns numerous fancy coloured diamonds from Australia’s famous Argyle Mines, including a stunning necklace featuring seven diamonds, among them a rare natural pink diamond. Other standout pieces in Oprah’s jewellery collection include cocktail rings and statement pearl necklaces.
Known for her incredibly generous nature, Oprah loves to give away diamonds too. In 2006, guests at Oprah Winfrey’s Legends Ball, held in honour of 25 African American women in the arts, entertainment, and civil rights, left with one of two styles of diamond earrings – either drops or hoops.
For the farewell episode of “Oprah,” she wore a pink diamond bracelet and was photographed on the cover of O Magazine decked out in yellow and white diamond earrings and a fancy yellow diamond ring.
Elizabeth Taylor and her diamond jewelry
When one thinks of celebrity diamond collections, Elizabeth Taylor’s name most likely comes to mind first. Known for her timeless glamour and passion for the finer things in life, the iconic actress was a huge jewellery collector.
Her husband, Richard Burton, often gifted her beautiful designer diamond jewellery for special occasions. Some of her most known items include a 33-carat diamond ring.
Her diamond collection is crowned by one of the world’s most famous diamonds. The Krupp Diamond was sold to Richard Burton as a gift for the actress in 1968 for the then-incredible price of $305,000 (approximately R 4.6 million), and Taylor wore the magnificent sparkler in every film that she made since then.
Burton also purchased a massive 240-carat South African diamond (now known as the Taylor-Burton diamond) for Elizabeth’s 40th birthday. The stunning stone was auctioned in 1978 to fund construction of a hospital in Botswana. View the real-life replica of the Taylor-Burton when you visit the Cape Town Diamond Museum. Book your tour here.
Elizabeth Taylor’s book, My Love Affair with Jewelry, includes photographs of her famous diamond collection and the stories behind them.
Kim Kardashian West
Kim Kardashian West and her diamond jewelry
Known to flaunt her opulent jewels and wear flashy outfits, Kim Kardashian is known for her love of extravagant designer diamond jewellery.
During a trip to Paris in 2016, the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star was bound, gagged and robbed at gunpoint in her hotel room. The robbers managed to get away with a 15-carat emerald cut diamond ring, worth an estimated $4.9 million (R74 million), gifted by her husband Kanye West. A jewellery box, worth an estimated $5.6 million (R85 million), was also stolen.
Recently, the reality star explained the story behind how she got one of the jewellery items back from the robbery in a post on her Instagram account: “2007 throwback. So, this necklace that I have on is a diamond cross from Jacob and it was the first piece of jewellery that I bought when I got my first check. When I was robbed this was taken from me. However, on the way out the robbers dropped one piece of jewellery in the street and this was it. It’s very sentimental to me. Just wanted to share.”
Nicole Kidman and her diamond jewelry
Nicole Kidman never fails to impress with her signature classic look which she often pairs with a statement diamond necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
One of the most memorable pieces in her diamond collection is the exquisite 1400-carat diamond rope necklace, which she wore to the 2008 Annual Academy awards. The stunning necklace was valued at 3 million pounds (about R55,5 million) and took approximately 6200 hours to handcraft. It is made up of just over 7645 faceted, rough and polished diamond stones.
In the musical Moulin Rouge, Nicole wore the most expensive piece of jewellery that has ever been designed for a movie. This piece contained 1308 platinum diamonds, for a combined total of 134 carats.
Another beautiful piece in Kidman’s collection is the 19th century 150 carat Riviera diamond necklace that was worn by her at the Oscars in 2011.
Michelle Obama and her diamond jewelry
The former first lady of USA became known as the first lady of style during her eight years in the White House – and for good reason. She has always held herself with grace and style in her modern yet sophisticated fashion sense. Some of her best accessories were beautiful diamond jewels she adorned to special occasions.
For the Nobel Peace Prize Gala, Michelle chose white gold and diamond drop earrings. The designer, who also crafted the First Lady’s Inaugural ball gems, cites “celestial inspiration” for the design, saying that the meaning behind them is to “reach for the moon, the stars and galaxies.”
Another statement piece was the shoulder-dusting earrings with natural amber, rubellite tourmaline and rose cut diamonds for a vintage feel.
Michelle’s stunning multi-coloured necklace by designer Tom Binns is an eye-catching piece that she wore to the Kennedy Center Honors event.
During Oprah’s Christmas at the White House special former president Barack Obama pointed out that the First Lady’s diamond brooch was an anniversary surprise gift. “You get some nice stuff,” he said to his wife, joking, “Here’s the general rule-I give nicer stuff than I get!”
Madonna and her diamond jewelry
The original “Material Girl” herself is not one to skimp on the bling. She often has custom diamond jewellery commissioned for her appearances. She famously wore $10 million (R152 million) in diamonds to recreate one of her iconic looks. The look was inspired by Madonna’s performance of “Sooner or Later” at the 1991 Academy Awards, where she channelled Marilyn Monroe in a beaded white gown and fur, dripping with diamonds. That was the same night when Madonna arrived with her date Michael Jackson to the Oscars.
To learn more about the wonderful world of diamonds and see replicas of the world’s most famous diamonds, visit The Cape Town Diamond Museum at the V&A Clock Tower precinct. Open 9am – 9pm daily.