The first sign of her bold jewelry taste was proven when she famously selected her own engagement ring from a tray of jewels Prince Charles presented to her after he proposed. Her choice: a giant sapphire surrounded by diamonds from the British Crown jeweler Garrard.
The Princess was also always incredibly at ease wearing the Crown Jewels. Her relaxed attitude about the treasures infused them with the genuinely youthful spirit of her age. She playfully styled pieces and effortlessly piled them on, wearing several important jewels at once. Diana’s short, feathery, wispy haircut also added an easy-breeziness to how she wore the jewels, as opposed to an elaborate and formal updo. Nobody has ever come close to wearing them quite like her.
Find out more about the jewels Diana wore when she was the Princess of Wales below.
The Spencer Tiara
For her royal wedding to Prince Charles on July 29, 1981 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, Lady Diana Spencer chose her “something borrowed” from her family’s jewelry collection. The Spencer Tiara designed by Garrard in 1937 anchored the dramatic veil for her gown designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel. The scrolls and floral design of the tiara were inspired by motifs in a nineteenth-century brooch from the Spencer family collection. After three-quarters of a billion people in 74 countries tuned in to watch the big event, the tiara became world famous and Diana frequently wore it afterwards.
In 1988 Princess Diana put on the Spencer diamond tiara for a Claridge’s banquet along with a Royal Family Order, pendant earrings with emerald drops and Queen Mary’s cabochon emerald and diamond choker, a wedding gift from Queen Elizabeth. The combination of jewels with a one-shoulder teal gown was unforgettable.
Harry Winston Diamond Necklace
For a royal tour of Australia in 1983, Princess Diana borrowed a jewel from the queen that is quite different from most of the vintage pieces in the monarch’s collection. The dazzling mid-20th century diamond necklace made by the American jeweler Harry Winston was a gift the queen received from King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. Diana paired the jewel with a sky-blue dress by British designer Bruce Oldfield for a dinner Down Under.
The Oman Diamond Necklace and Earrings
For a royal tour of Germany in 1987, Princess Diana wore the contemporary diamond and sapphire necklace and earrings she received as a gift from The Sultan of Oman paired with the Spencer Tiara. The two gems echoed the sapphire and diamonds in her engagement ring, but had a much sleeker effect than most styles she wore.
The Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara
Diana received several jewels from the Queen on permanent loan when she married Prince Charles. One of the most impressive and well-known is the diamond and pearl Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara. The romantic and majestic jewel was made in 1914 by Garrard for Queen Mary. It features 19 pear-shaped pearl drops set within a diamond ribbon motif. Diana often wore the tiara with white gowns for a very modern regal effect.