Women World Leaders & Their Diamond Jewellery

1. Jacinda Ardern

Women World Leaders Diamond Jewellery | Cape Town Diamond Museum

Jacinda Ardern

Jacinda Ardern is the current Prime Minister of New Zealand and is the world’s youngest female head of state. Recently engaged to her longtime partner, Clarke Gayford in Easter 2019, Jacinda said the proposal took place at the top of Mokotahi Hill in Mahia. Her diamond engagement ring is a beautiful heirloom piece, which belonged to Gayford’s grandmother.

Although the specifics of the ring are not publicly known, it looks to be a two-diamond ring set in either platinum or white gold. The ring has a wonderful old-world feel to it with an understated elegance. Jacinda was first spotted wearing the ring on her middle finger, as it did not fit on her ring finger. Upon being asked about the ring by a journalist at a press conference, Jacinda confirmed the engagement news.

2. Margaret Thatcher

Women World Leaders Diamond Jewellery | Cape Town Diamond Museum

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher was the United Kingdom’s first female Prime Minister as well as the longest serving 20th Century Prime Minister. She died on April 8, 2013, aged 87. She once famously said, “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.”

Typically known visually by her coiffed hair, a strand of pearls and handbag, Thatcher was typically elegantly dressed, complemented by jewellery accents. With her mother as a skilled seamstress, she had a love for bespoke evening dresses and other “nice things”, according to those closest to her.

A series of auctions were held in 2015, where almost 200 of the late Baroness’s personal items went under the hammer and raised more than £4.5m (about R84 million).

One of the most expensive items on sale was a beautiful multi-gem and diamond brooch which sold for £50,000 (about R934,000) despite an estimate of £10,000-15,000.

A portrait of Lady Thatcher wearing a black skirt suit with a George III diamond flower brooch, was sold for £40,000 (about R747,000) – much higher than the £700 estimate.

Other well-known jewellery pieces that were sold include the 18k gold and amethyst ring, which was worn by Thatcher on the day she became Prime Minister and went on to become part of her “uniform jewellery”. The ring was sold for nearly £30,000 (about R560,000).

The hardstone ‘pebble’ bracelet she wore when she met Nelson Mandela in 1990, which had an estimate of £2,500, sold for £40,000 (about R747,000) in one of many competitive bidding wars.

Thatcher’s diamond gilt pen fetched £21,000 (about R392,000) and her sapphire, diamond and cultured-pearl necklace sold for £19,500 (about R364,000).

3. Hillary Rhodham Clinton

Women World Leaders Diamond Jewellery | Cape Town Diamond Museum

Hillary  Rhodham Clinton

Hillary Rhodham Clinton is an American politician, diplomat, lawyer and writer. She was the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001, a United States senator from 2001 to 2009, and the 67th United States Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013.

When it comes to jewellery, Hillary is most well known for her 4.25 carat rough Kahn Canary diamond that she wore to President Bill Clinton’s inaugurations as well as the gubernatorial inauguration. The diamond has a flawless condition, strong yellow canary colour and brilliance that it truly mesmerising. Named after Stan Kahn, the jewel was discovered in 1977 in the Crater of Diamonds Skate Park in Arkansas – the world’s only publicly-owned diamond site where visitors may search for diamonds and other gems and keep what they find, regardless of the value of the stone.

Hillary likes to switch up her ring style every few years, wearing a variety of different cuts and gemstones. She has worn various rings over the years, with emerald and ruby center stones, as well as a plaited gold wedding band. However, the engagement ring with which Bill proposed to her is an emerald cut centre stone with elegant side baguettes set in a yellow gold band. The story goes that Bill was smitten with Hillary since the first time he met her at the Yale Law Library in 1971, and he proposed three times. It wasn’t until that last proposal in front of the house he bought for them to share in Arkansas that she finally said, “Yes.” Third time’s a charm!

Read more about former first ladies and their remarkable jewellery collection here.

4. Queen Elizabeth II

Women World Leaders Diamond Jewellery | Cape Town Diamond Museum

The formation of a diamond below the Earth’s crust

As the longest reigning monarch in the history of British royalty (over 1,200 years old), it’s no surprise that Queen Elizabeth II has inherited some of the world’s most exquisite and extraordinary pieces of designer diamond jewellery. While some of these treasures were specially made for her, others were passed through a long line of British monarchs or gifted to her. Here’s a peek inside Her Royal Highness’s jewellery box:

  • The Imperial State Crown

The Queen wore the Imperial State Crown, along with the diamond necklace she had worn for her coronation. The crown was made for the coronation of King George VI in 1937 and is set with 2868 diamonds in silver mounts, largely table-, rose- and brilliant-cut, and colored stones in gold mounts, including 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 269 pearls. The 317.4 carat cushion cut Cullinan II (Second Star of Africa) can be found in the front of the beautiful placed front and centre of this glorious crown.

  • The Grand Duchess VI Vladimir Tiara

Known as one of the Queen’s favourites, this diamond and pearl looped tiara is known as the Grand Duchess Of Vladimir Tiara. The tiara was purchased in 1921 by Queen Mary, who bought it from the daughter of the Grand Duchess Vladimir. It was eventually passed down to Mary’s granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth.

  • Cullinan I (Star of Africa)

The largest cut diamond in the world, the 530.2 carat, pear-shaped Cullinan I (or Star of Africa) is set as the main stone in the majestic Sceptre with the Cross.

  • Cullinan Brooch

The pear-shaped Cullinan III is suspended from the square-cut Cullinan IV to create the magnificent 157 carat Cullinan Brooch.

  • Cullinan V

The Cullinan V is one of Queen Elizabeth’s favourite brooches. It’s an unusual 18.9 carat heart-shaped diamond in an elegant diamond and Platinum setting.

  • Pendant Brooch

The delicate Pendant Brooch is mounted with two Cullinan diamonds, namely the emerald cut Cullinan VI and elegant marquise cut Cullinan VIII.

Discover more unique jewellery pieces that have seen Queen Elizabeth through her reign here.

Visit the Cape Town Diamond Museum at the V&A Waterfront Clock Towers to learn more about the history of diamonds and see replicas of the world’s most famous diamonds. Open Monday to Sunday,from 9am-9pm. Book your guided tour today.