Every little girl believes that she's a princess. When I was growing up, I was fascinated with Princess Diana, and to this day, I am enamored with the former Kate Middleton. So you know that I had to have a beautiful sapphire and diamond ring, just like Kate's (only much smaller) when Prince William popped the question with his late mother's engagement ring. Oh, how I love a great real-life fairy tale! There are so many great and beautiful famous gemstones in the world besides that one, though. Here, I'll take a look at a few notable gems.
The Taylor-Burton Diamond
Famous movie stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were having a lover's spat when he said that she had masculine hands. Taylor, being the smart modern woman that she was, used the argument in her favor to get him to purchase her something that would draw attention away from her "ugly" hands. At the time, the largest and most valuable diamond in the world was a diamond nearly 70 carats in size diamond, and he purchased this to be set into a necklace for her in order to take attention away from her "hideous" hands.
Kate Middleton's Sapphire Ring
The ring that was first placed on Princess Diana's finger in 1981 was an 18-carat sapphire with diamonds surrounding it. The $60,000 ring was then saved for Prince William, who placed it on his fiancée's finger 29 years later. To this day, it is an iconic gemstone that almost anyone would love to own.
The Hope Diamond
Mined during the 1600s in Golconda, India, the Hope Diamond, weighing more than 45 carats, was originally more than 112 carats before it was cut. Purchased originally by Jean Baptiste Tavernier, a French merchant, it was passed along to King Louis XIV in 1668. The diamond was stolen more than 100 years later from the French royal treasury. Later owned by King George IV, it was sold to pay back some of his debt after his death. Henry Philip Hope (the stone's namesake), Joseph Frankels and Sons of New York, and Evalyn Walsh McLean were each owners of the stone, and in turn, they used it to pay off debt. Harry Winston was the last owner of the stone, donating it, now worth a quarter of a billion dollars, to the Smithsonian in 1958.
The Fabergé Egg
Created by Peter Carl Fabergé, these jeweled eggs were produced between the years 1885 and 1917. Out of the 50 that were made by the House of Fabergé, only 43 are still around. The most famous of these eggs were created for Alexander III and Nicholas II, who were Russian czars, and were presented to the women in their families as Easter gifts.
Princess Soraya's Engagement Ring
The shah of Iran proposed to his fiancée, Princess Soraya, in 1950 with a beautiful 22-carat diamond engagement ring. She passed away in 2002, and the ring was auctioned off to a new owner in Paris.
Previously owned by other rulers and sultans, this 105-carat diamond is now part of the British crown jewels collection. It sits in the queen mother's 1937 coronation crown in the Tower of London. Because only female royals have worn the gemstone in the crown, it is thought to bring bad luck to any man who wears the stone.
The Cullinan Diamond
At the time when it was mined in South Africa, the Cullinan Diamond was the largest diamond ever discovered. Once it was cut into more than 100 smaller stones, the British royal family took ownership of the largest of these stones.
The Star of India
Although it is safely secured and on display in the American Museum of Natural History, this stone was the center of a huge scandal in 1964. On the night before Halloween, the stone was stolen from the museum and was discovered later inside a locker at a bus terminal in Miami, Florida. It is the largest sapphire in the world, and it is thought to be around 2 billion years old. It weighs 563 carats.
The Star of Asia
This six-ray sapphire weighs in at a hefty 329 carats and supposedly belonged to the maharaja of Jodhpur. It is on display today at the Smithsonian Museum.
The Tiffany Diamond
The Tiffany diamond was originally found in South Africa in 1877, and Audrey Hepburn wore this yellow diamond, which weighs 128 carats, in publicity photos for her iconic movie Breakfast at Tiffany's. Today, you can see the necklace at the Fifth Avenue Tiffany and Co. store in New York City.
The Graff Pink Diamond
English jeweler Laurence Graff purchased a 24-carat pink diamond in 2010 for more than $46 million. Since he liked the stone so much, he thought he'd name it after himself.
The Regent Diamond
Legend states that the Regent Diamond, all 141 carats of it, was found by an Indian servant who secretly buried the diamond in a deep cut in his leg in order to hide it. In the years afterward, it was used in the crowns worn by French monarchy and later was used in Napoleon's sword. The Regent Diamond currently resides in the Louvre.
Le Beau Sancy Diamond
Legend has it that someone swallowed the Le Beau Sancy Diamond while being attacked during the 16th century. Later, the stone, weighing 35 carats, was retrieved from his stomach, and it spent the next centuries in royal jewelry collections in England, France, Prussia, and the Netherlands.
The Pearl of Allah
Discovered in the Palawan Sea, the Pearl of Allah weighs 14 pounds. The clam it came from, a huge Tridacna, supposedly locked down on the arm of the diver who was trying to retrieve the pearl, killing him immediately.
Queen Marie of Romania's Sapphire
King Ferdinand of Romania purchased a 478-carat sapphire ring for his wife, Queen Marie, in the 1920s. In 2003, it turned up in an auction at Christie's, selling for almost one and a half billion dollars. It is the largest sapphire in auction history.
Heart of the Ocean
We know the love story portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, but there is a real Heart of the Ocean necklace. Two lovers, Kate Phillips and Henry Morley, were heading to America to start a new life together. Morley gave Phillips the necklace as they were attempting to escape the sinking ship. Morley couldn't swim, while Phillips was able to get on a lifeboat. Realizing she was pregnant with his baby once she arrived in New York, she quickly returned to England to live with her grandparents, who in turn raised her baby.
The Archduke Joseph Diamond
Setting world records at auctions, the colorless cushion-cut Archduke Joseph Diamond was made into a necklace and worn by Celine Dion.
The Tsarevna Swan Ring
Holding the record for having the most diamonds wearable in one ring, this Guinness record-holder contains 2,525 diamonds held in place by a lovely 18-carat white gold swan ring.