Long before the term self-purchase was applied to women buying their own diamonds, sisters were most definitely doing it for themselves. When did it all begin? Well, no one knows exactly. It is certain, however, leading ladies in Hollywood have been in on the buying act for eons.
Frying Pans… Or Diamonds?
Silver screen star Joan Fontaine once hilariously explained to a reporter in the 1960s why she had bought all the diamond jewels in her collection. “Somehow I was the kind of girl to whom husbands—and other men, too—gave copper frying pans,” she said.
Elizabeth Taylor was, of course, famous for all the jewels she received as gifts, but she did buy diamonds too.
One piece she picked up at the Duchess of Windsor auction in 1987. The jewels were being sold to benefit AIDS research, a cause near and dear to Taylor’s heart.
She also had a personal connection to the item she wanted: a diamond feather and gold coronet brooch called the Wales Plumes. Taylor and her former husband, the Welsh actor Richard Burton, had admired it when they were dining with the Windsors in Paris.
When she got the brooch for a whopping $623,000 at the auction, after some heated bidding, Taylor told the press that she was happy it went for so much, because the money was for a good cause.
In more recent times, famous women have continued to buy their own diamonds for any number of reasons.
A New Generation, Same Interest
Actress Diane Kruger enjoys buying jewelry because “it connects you to a memory,” while director Sofia Coppola likes to buy herself “a treat”—and she means jewelry—after a big project. One of her first goodies was a gold and diamond evening watch she purchased from Cartier after making Marie Antoinette.
Will & Grace star Debra Messing, who is a pretty serious jewelry collector, celebrated her 40th birthday with a pair of antique 5-carat diamond earrings from Fred Leighton.
Tennis champion Maria Sharapova, who likes to shop for her own jewelry on tour, got the bug for buying jewelry after she received a Tiffany diamond and platinum Bubble ring. “It started my whole collection,” she confessed.
As I reported on my website, The Adventurine, Lena Horne’s diamond self-purchase—gold bracelets with graduated old European-cut diamonds—were the subject of a recent auction at Sotheby’s.
And Jessica Biel famously bought her first pair of diamond studs after breaking up with a boyfriend when she was a freshman in college. “I thought, Forget him, I am going to splurge,” the actress said once to a reporter. “I felt so empowered buying my own bling.”
A Way to Celebrate Life
For celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe, a self-purchase can be a celebration of success or just a great jewel to add to her glam wardrobe. “I had wanted diamond studs since I was 15-years old,” explains Zoe. “When I became successful I finally bought a pair. They are not massive or tiny, they are perfect and I still wear them almost every day.”
One of the many stunning diamond rings in Zoe’s collection is an Art Deco design she eyed for ages before ultimately finding it irresistible. “I wear it all the time,” she says. “I look at it and I love it and I know that I earned it and bought it for myself and something about that makes it feel even better.”
And let’s not forget about Meghan Markle’s recent purchase of a new diamond pendant. The delicate jewel the Duchess of Sussex wore on October 3rd for a daytime event was a Solid Pavé Teardrop Necklace by Adina Reyter.
While Meghan received many dazzling diamond jewels as wedding presents, this piece is more in line with the styles she wore before the wedding. The $418 jewel added a lovely touch of sparkle to Meghan’s cool Hunter green leather skirt and silk blouse she wore for a daytime outing with Prince Harry.
It also reflected her individuality, a major motivating factor for any woman buying her own diamonds.