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Grace Kelly’s ‘Sweet Diamond’ Engagement Ring

MGM Head Shot Prior to Her Wedding in 1956. Photo is in the Public Domain.

MGM Head Shot Prior to Her Wedding in 1956. Photo is in the Public Domain.

Rumors have circulated since 1956 about Grace Kelly’s engagement ring(s) from Prince Rainier III of Monaco. Some speak of her diamond and ruby eternity band, while others speak of what has been hailed the second most-famous engagement ring in history, a stunning 10.47-carat emerald-cut diamond ring with a baguette diamond set horizontally onto each of its platinum shoulders.

Most sources claim that the Prince initially proposed with the eternity ring, only to realize his error in American etiquette after visiting Hollywood for the first time. Others give the Prince a little more credit and claim he gave Ms. Kelly the eternity band as a ring of promise while the more elaborate diamond ring was fashioned in the workshops at Cartier.

As reported in Life Magazine on January 16, 1956, Ms. Kelly wore the diamond and ruby ring on her first visit home after her engagement. In that issue, a photograph shows Ms. Kelly seated next to Prince Rainier between her parents on their couch. She holds her left hand extended toward her mother. We cannot see the ring, but the caption reads, “In the Kellys’ living room Grace’s mother examines daughter’s diamond and ruby engagement ring as Prince and father Kelly proudly look on.”

When she returned to the set at MGM for filming of High Society, Ms. Kelly asked the director if she could wear her real engagement ring in lieu of costume jewelry for the appropriate scenes in the movie.

While Cartier on their website claim that on set Ms. Kelly wore the magnificent diamond and platinum engagement ring, James Spada, who wrote a biography on Grace Kelly called Grace: The Secret Lives of a Princess, claims that the ring she dazzled her coworkers with was “an enormous, spectacularly beautiful ring: intertwined diamonds and rubies (to represent Monaco’s official colors) set with Grimaldi family heirloom jewels” {p. 170-71}.

Unfortunately, Mr. Spada fails to credit his source for that piece of information. I suppose it’s possible she wore both while she was off screen, but on screen she clearly wears only one ring, and it is definitely not an eternity band. The rest of the story he tells about that moment in history is so charming, one hopes the only detail he got wrong is the description of the ring.

He writes that after she asked, her director quipped that he must of course examine the ring in order to ensure “it was good enough” {p. 170}. She dutifully obliged him the next day, and as her co-workers gasped and gaped, she demurely responded, “It is sweet, isn’t it?” {p. 171}. This understated response, Mr. Spada relates, elicited no small amount of teasing from her awestruck co-workers.

Certainly, gorgeous diamonds are sweet and then some!

Hilton Heiress Nicky Hilton Sports a Large Diamond Solitaire Engagement Ring

Capture the Essence! of Nicky Hilton Glamour with this 2.77-Carat Old European Cut Diamond Solitaire Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Nicky Hilton Glamour with this 2.77-Carat Old European Cut Diamond Solitaire Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Nicky Hilton is keeping her dazzling diamond engagement ring under wraps. Paparazzi have managed to capture only three views of the ring so far. In one series of photos, Ms. Hilton wears the diamond nestled against her palm. E!Online has published a second close-up photo of Ms. Hilton on her cell phone, sporting what appears to be a cathedral-style, prong-set diamond solitaire on a platinum or yellow gold band. The ring is turned slightly inward toward her palm, so further details are impossible to discern.

In another of E!Online’s photos, we glimpse the only head-on view of her ring. Ms. Hilton stands on the banks of a river casting a fishing line in her beautiful designer clothes. On her left ring finger all we see is a flash of brilliant white light. The one thing we can surmise from this shot is that that diamond is a doozy.

Ms. Hilton received the ring from her long-term boyfriend, banking heir James Rothschild, on August 12. Rumor has it that shortly after surprising her parents with a visit to ask for her hand in marriage, the young heir took Ms. Hilton to Italy to celebrate their third anniversary together. According to online sources, Mr. Rothschild proposed on a boat ride in the middle of Lake Como.

Hollywood’s First Vamp, Theda Bara, Ties the Knot in Secret Ceremony on July 2, 1921

Theda Bara as Cleopatra in 1917. Photo in public domain.

Theda Bara as Cleopatra in 1917. Photo in public domain.

She took other people’s minds off their troubles… ~The New York Times, 1955

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

She was Theda Bara, Hollywood’s first femme fatale, Fox Studio’s top-billing silent screen star between 1914 and 1919, and one of America’s most beloved actors, “ranking behind only Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford” {8}.

Taking her cues from the alluring Mata Hari and Sarah Bernhardt, Ms. Bara brought America’s favorite bad girl to the big screen–”a sultry, exotic, erotic woman who went through the world leaving broken men in her wake {3}.

Audiences could not get enough of her. Even decades later, the New York Times reported, “On the silent screen she appealed to men’s most primitive instincts. On the screen she was, indeed, a bad girl, and this was her allure” {4}.

Her kohl-lined eyes simmered on screen and off, and her publicists made sure that even those who knew they were being conned believed she was a “deadly…crystal gazing seeress of profoundly occult powers, wicked as fresh red paint and poisonous as dried spiders” {7}.

According to Terry Ramsaye, the escalating rumors (all manufactured by Fox’s best publicists) of her nefarious background caused little girls to swallow “their gum with excitement,” while big movie men to balk at the thought of meeting her in private {7}.

There was one man, however, who seemed completely undaunted by the soul-sucking powers of Ms. Theda Bara. He was Charles Brabin, the British-born director, a self-made man who knew the business of acting and directing.

She met him on set, where he directed her in several versions of The Vamp on screen for Fox. By April 1921, reporters were jumping the gun, claiming that Theda Bara and Charles Brabin were soon to wed.

Instead, she left for a European tour with her sister. The rumors began again when reporters caught the two kissing in New York upon her return. “Can’t a chap kiss a young lady when she returns from Europe [without being] married?” he asked the press {4}.

Love was in the air, though, and friendship swiftly turned into more. On July 2, 1921, a justice of the peace in Greenwich, Connecticut, united the two in marriage. Her love of film and stage receded not. Rather, it expanded to include this new facet–a man with “mental brilliance” {5} and a charisma that livened up the party wherever he went who offered her what would become the greatest role of her life.

When she wasn’t announcing her latest comeback, Theda Bara threw herself into the role of a 1920s Beverly Hills housewife. According to the Los Angeles Times, her home was tastefully furnished, though author Roberta Courtland describes it as “an old grandma house filled with antiques” {6}. Unfortunately, none of these reporters seemed the least bit interested in discussing her wedding jewelry.

To date, this writer has been unable to find any concrete information on Ms. Bara’s engagement or wedding rings. It’s possible, given the swiftness of their elopement, that there was no engagement ring. Rumor has it that Ms. Bara hated diamonds and wore only two jewels on her finger, an emerald ring reportedly given to her by a blind sheik and a turquoise ring that reportedly served talismanic purposes {1}.

Given the report that in 1957, Mr. Brabin sold at auction his wife’s collection of jewels, including “diamonds up to seven carats and delicately designed diamond, emerald, and platinum pieces” {4}, it stands to reason that these rumors emerged out of the heavy publicity surrounding her role as The Vamp.

In all likelihood, if she wore a wedding ring at all, it would have been a tasteful Art Deco piece which more closely complemented her efforts to “play the part of a sweet, essentially feminine woman” {6}. While she played this role happily at home, she continued staging a series of comebacks that would take her new part to the screen.

Rumors abound that her husband frowned upon her return to the screen. I doubt this is true, though they would offer a more pleasant answer to her failure to return to the screen than that she just couldn’t make it happen. To her credit, she would not allow that unfortunate truth diminish her happiness.

“[T]he wages of screen wickedness is domestic bliss,” she told a reporter in 1933 {4}. Nearly 20 years later, Hearst Hollywood columnist, Adela Rogers St. Johns, commented that the two were still happily married {4}. Theda Bara died in 1955, leaving the bulk of her estate to her sister, Charles needed none of her money.

Notes

  1. Bernstein, Matthew and Gaylyn Studlar. Visions of the East: Orientalism in Film. London: I. B. Tauris and Co. Ltd., 1997.
  2. Bonhams. “A Century of Movie Magic at Auction as curated by Turner Classic Movies.” November, 2013.
  3. DiGrazia, Christopher. “Theda Bara: An essay to accompany the Tambakos Silent Film Series: A Fool There Was (1915),” Kiss Me My Fool website, October 24, 2007.
  4. Genini, Ronald. Theda Bara: A Biography of the Silent Screen Vamp, with a Filmography. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc., 1996.
  5. IMDb. “Theda Bara, Biography.” Accessed August 7, 2014. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000847/bio?ref_=nm_ov_bio_sm.
  6. Petersen, Anne Helen. “Scandals of Classic Hollywood: The Most Wicked Face of Theda Bara,” The Hairpin, January 8, 2013.
  7. Ramsaye, Terry. A Million and One Nights: A History of the Motion Picture. Abingdon, Oxon: Frank Cass & Co., Ltd., 2012.
  8. Silentmoviequeen. “Theda Bara Biography,” YouTube video, published July 11, 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8ejQVRW0ts.

The Oval Cut Take the Fore in Engagement Ring Trends

Capture the Essence! of Celebrity Ovals with this Oval-Cut Blue Sapphire and Diamond Halo Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Celebrity Ovals with this Oval-Cut Blue Sapphire and Diamond Halo Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

According to Today Style, more and more women are opting for oval-cut diamonds and gemstones for their engagement rings, rather than the more traditional round brilliants. It seems that the oval lends a more contemporary feel, especially when mounted east-west, as opposed to the traditional north-south orientation typically associated with fancy-cut stones. There are many advantages to an oval-cut diamond or gemstone. Though aesthetics may play the larger part in this new trend, we believe there are a number of other compelling reasons to choose oval diamonds.

  1. Optimizes Carat Weight. Their ovoid shape typically makes oval diamonds and gemstones appear larger to the naked eye than a round brilliant of the same carat weight.
  2. Slenderizing. Whether worn horizontally or vertically, an oval-cut stone slenderizes the fingers of the hand on which it’s worn.
  3. Price Point. Carat for carat, oval-cut stones typically cost less than round brilliants, all other aspects being equal.
  4. Diamond Sparkle. Though no cut can contend with the sparkle of a round brilliant, since oval diamonds are cut with many of the same proportions they come in at a close second in brilliance and fire.
  5. Celebrity Choice. The oval cut has been the choice in engagement rings for such well-known celebrities as Katie Holmes (diamond), Kate Middleton (sapphire in a halo of diamonds), Blake Lively (pink diamond), and Katharine McPhee (yellow diamond).

If you’re considering an oval diamond ,we recommend that you view them in person before purchasing. Ovals must be cut with expert precision, and only with your own eye in the presence of a knowledgeable jeweler can you be sure that your stone will have the dazzle your sweetheart deserves.

Charlize Theron Treats Herself to Delectable Designer 18k Gold and Pave Diamonds

Capture the Essence! of Cool Feminine Luxury with this Effy Rose Cut Diamond and Gold Designer Cocktail Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Cool Feminine Luxury with this Effy Rose Cut Diamond and Gold Designer Cocktail Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

There’s a bit of buzz out there today about Charlize Theron’s choice to wear her newest Anita Ko jewel on her left ring finger. It’s a beautiful and very feminine 18k gold ring featuring a pair of twin leaves paved in diamonds. The leaves arc together, nearly kissing. The ring retails in rose gold, through Net-A-Porter, London Jewelers, and Broken English, for $4,700, so you know if she’s chosen the yellow gold it will have cost at least a bit more.

Her choice to wear the ring on that finger has led to rumors that she and Sean Penn are about to tie the knot. However, this ring is not an engagement ring from her boyfriend. Though the couple appears to have discussed the possibility of marriage and adopting a sibling for Ms. Theron’s son, Jackson, their time has not yet come.

In fact, Ms. Theron reportedly purchased the ring for herself, adding it to her growing collection of Anita Ko designs. For the past several years we’ve seen Ms. Theron wear her favorite KoKo earrings, the pyramid studs in 18k gold, to both gala and casual events. She has also been seen wearing the designer’s fan-style diamond and gold earrings, with a diamond stud resting in the center of her ear lobe while an arc of diamonds rests just below the rim of her ear.

It’s no surprise that Ms. Theron adores her Anita Ko pieces, since the LA-based designer prides herself on offering fine jewelry designed with today’s woman in mind. Ms. Ko brings an edginess to feminine chic, and her aim to make pieces that are “cool and luxurious” {cited} has caught the attention, not only of Charlize Theron, but of several other cutting-edge celebrities, including Demi Moore, Kate Hudson, and Victoria Beckham.

Ms. Ko does not feel she has to compete with the big names in jewelry, rather she feels she must distinguish herself from them and the traditions surrounding them. “The established houses created in a time when many pieces were worn on special occasions and purchased by men. This is the opposite of how I design. I want women to connect to their luxurious side and treat themselves with a beautiful piece that makes them feel special,” Ms. Ko told Divia Harilela of Post Magazine.

That is precisely what Ms. Theron has done–she has treated herself to an artfully designed, luxuriously feminine designer ring, and she has chosen to wear it boldly on the finger of her choice, despite the obvious clamor it would cause in the press.

We’re glad she’s done it, for it reminds us again of the sheer pleasure of wearing beautiful jewelry and the fact that today a woman is allowed to treat herself.

If you’re looking for a way to treat yourself to cool luxury, we have a number of beautiful designer rings in stock today.

We invite you to call and make an appointment. We’d love to see you walk out of our showroom ready to start some rumors of your own!

Diamond Eternity Rings Are Making a Debut as Engagement Rings

Capture the Essence! of Eternity with this Square Step-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring in Platinum. Photo ©EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Eternity with this Square Step-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring in Platinum. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Traditionally, diamond eternity bands were given as a gift from husband to wife on a significant anniversary. More recently, though, according to Today Style, couples are beginning to choose an eternity band as a stand-in for an engagement ring. This trend appears to be developing in sync with the increased popularity of stackable rings and bracelets.

The versatility and simplicity of eternity bands create a perfect foil for celebrities to hide their engagements from the paparazzi. Since eternity bands are low-profile, it’s easy to stack several bands together, even alternating them day by day to throw the media off their scent. In January, Ben Foster proposed to Robin Wright with two simple golden bands which the actress sports on her left ring finger. One is a golden lover’s knot, and the other is an eternity ring.

In keeping with the notion of wearing multiple bands on one finger, rather than purchasing a separate wedding ring at the time of their union, a couple can opt to add an anniversary band on their 5- or 10-year anniversary. Not only does this decrease the initial impact to their wedding budget, but also allows the freedom to change styles over time. For those more trendy brides, this option has a tremendous amount of appeal.

Eternity bands come in all shapes and sizes, from wide bands with ornate detailing and evenly spaced gemstones, to narrow bands studded all around with diamonds or gemstones, to half-eternity bands with stones lining only the face of the band. They come in a wide range of precious metals, including platinum, yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, and more. They can be intricately carved without stones, or they can be studded with stones of varying colors.

Truly, there is an eternity band for every style, every taste, and every whimsy. We invite you to make an appointment to come and see our wide selection of beautiful eternity bands.

Lauren Scruggs Said Yes to Jason Kennedy AND to a Jennifer Meyer Radiant-Cut Cushion-Shaped Diamond Engagement Ring

Capture the Essence! of Lauren Scruggs' diamond sparkler with this 1.5-Carat Cushion-Shaped Diamond Halo Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Lauren Scruggs’ diamond sparkler with this 1.5-Carat Cushion-Shaped Diamond Halo Engagement Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

We’ve been captivated by reports of the perfect surprise proposal carried out by Jason Kennedy for Lauren Scruggs at her Dallas apartment. However, it has been a tad bit disappointing that her beautiful diamond designer engagement ring has been given no more than a sideways glance.

Of course, the proposal was absolutely romantic, complete with an apartment filled with white tulips and a yard filled with a candle-lit message. Jason ensured that those people most important to Lauren, her family, were present to witness as he dropped to one knee and declared his intentions, and photos flood the web documenting her acceptance, given also on her knees.

Of course, it’s not wonder with a story as inspiring and dramatic as Lauren’s that the so-called minor, more personal issue of her ring have faded into the background. In several interviews over the past few years, the courageous fashion expert has publicly shared openly about her horrific accident, her trying recovery, and her bleak outlook on the possibility of future love.

In her book, Still Lolo, written a few years before meeting Jason, Lauren wrote of her ideal partner, what she called “the ultimate boyfriend” and described as “…tall; beachy good looks; laid-back yet driven personality; tender and caring; funny and genuine; a heart for God; a clear direction in life” {p. 4}.

Sounds like a tall order, and one she gave up on until the day she stepped onto the set of Dateline NBC for an on-air interview with Natalie Morales. Somewhere nearby, as Ms. Scruggs expressed her deepest fears after the accident, that “no guy would ever think I was attractive again, much less would want to marry me”, E! News co-host, Jason Kennedy, was watching her in awe, thinking to himself, “I would love to marry a girl like that.”

A year later, he was on his knees, slipping a gorgeous Jennifer Meyer ring onto her right ring finger. And as most of Hollywood already knows, Jason is Lauren’s perfect match. Driven and purposeful, successful and definitely sporting those beachy good looks, Jason Kennedy also has a heart for God and, as Ms. Scruggs told Ms. Morales, “he just loves people well, loves me well, and is fun and funny.”

And there you have it, another article about Lauren Scruggs and Jason Kennedy and their engagement with only a scant mention of the ring. Ah! But we’re not finished yet.

Here are some details I was able to gather on her gorgeous ring:

  1. It was made, probably bespoke, by Jennifer Meyer, an LA-based jewelry designer who strives to strike “the perfect balance of understated elegance and unparalleled quality” {cited: jennifermeyer.com}.
  2. Since Jennifer Meyer typically fashions her jewels in white or yellow gold, the band and setting are likely made of white gold.
  3. The central diamond is a radiant-cut cushion-shaped diamond of an undisclosed carat size {cited}.
  4. In some photos, the central diamond appears to be surrounded by a halo of smaller diamonds. This halo, if it is not an optical illusion, looks to be tucked tightly around the center stone, which appears to be set in cathedral style atop the band.
  5. The narrow tapering band is studded with pavé diamonds, ensuring maximum sparkle from every angle.
  6. She wears the absolutely beautiful ring, an elegant choice for an elegant lady, on her right hand, the one uninjured in her accident.

Courteney Cox Eludes the Press with Several Engagement Rings

Capture the Essence! of Courteney Cox's showstopping Tribeca Film Festival bling with this Princess Cut Diamond Engagement Ring with three rows of Pave Diamonds on a Plaintum Band. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Courteney Cox’s showstopping Tribeca Film Festival bling with this Princess Cut Diamond Engagement Ring with three rows of Pave Diamonds on a Platinum Band. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Just today Courteney Cox and Johnny McDaid made their official announcements via Twitter. The simple statements, “I’m engaged to him,” and “I’m engaged to her,” captioned an identical selfie of their calm and happy faces.

For a few months now, Ms. Cox has been seen sporting a blingy ring (or possibly two) on that finger, sending the rumors flying. When asked directly if she was wearing an engagement ring, Ms. Cox downplayed the whole thing with a “this-old-thing” attitude and an almost self-conscious attempt to distract the reporter from the question at hand.

The ring appeared to be a diamond-studded sparkler with a wide crown and a tapering band that looked to be completely paved in white diamonds. She wore it to the Tribeca Film Festival, which she attended in April for her feature-length directorial debut, Just Before I Go.

Just last night she sported what appears to be a different ring (or several rings) on that same finger. The blurry paparazzi photos make it hard to tell just what’s going on, but if I were to guess I’d say it’s a swirling gold or rose gold band nestled against a thin-banded platinum or white gold ring with a single diamond. This could be another of her rings that she’s worn for ages, it could be the same one she wore to the film festival, or it could be the one.

Aside from their official Twitter announcements, the couple appears to be playing a bit of a cat-and-mouse game with the press. Stellar of them, don’t you think? If we find out more, we’ll be sure and let you know. Until then, we wish the pair all the happiness in the world.

Vintage Celebrity Engagements: Jacqueline Bouvier and Jack Kennedy

Capture the Essence! of Mid-Century Emerald Jewelry with this Emerald Ballerina Cocktail Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

Capture the Essence! of Mid-Century Emerald Jewelry with this Emerald Ballerina Cocktail Ring. Photo ©2014 EraGem Jewelry.

May is the month for emeralds, and what better way to enter into the spirit of romance than to discuss one of America’s most beloved couples, Jacqueline Bouvier and Jack Kennedy. On June 24, 1953, Jack Kennedy offered a delectable diamond and emerald ring to a woman who captivated him with her grace, her elegance, and her intelligent conversation.

Jackie was a woman of the world with a mission to enjoy all that life’s upper crust had to offer. In the burgeoning world of women in the workforce, she took a job with the Washington-Times Herald, after making a promise to the editor that she wouldn’t up and leave the minute a man proposed. With her camera and pen in hand, she set out to make a name for herself as a columnist.

For a number of years she roved the streets of Washington, DC (and beyond) asking (mostly) random individuals questions pertinent to the issues of the day. Several times a month, she spent her weekends traveling by train to attend football games and parties at surrounding northeastern colleges. On one such trip, she penned a letter to a friend and happened to casually mention a young man who caught her attention.

He was “a charming, confident, and handsome but insistent flirt to whom she responded with indifferent amusement, yet absolute attraction” {1}. This young man was here today, gone tomorrow as far as Jackie was concerned…that is, until they met several more times at inner circle events.

In 1948, Jackie was preparing to depart for her first assignment abroad. Before leaving, she atteneded a wedding on Long Island, where she met a fellow journalist who would become a lifelong friend, one Charles Bartlett. This young man was fairly certain that Ms. Bouvier was the perfect match for his up-and-coming friend, Jack Kennedy. Determined to introduce the two of them, he attempted all evening to draw her away from prizefighter Gene Tunney, but his efforts ended in defeat.

It would be more than two years before he would have a second chance to introduce the two, and by that time Ms. Bouvier was engaged to be married to Wall Street stockbroker John Husted. At an intimate dinner party hosted by the Bartlett’s, Jackie and Jack enjoyed a pleasant evening of conversation. Just as Mr. Bartlett suspected, his friend was fully invested in getting to know the fascinating young woman. However, an invitation for drinks after the party was stymied by a surprise visit from Ms. Bouvier’s fiance.

She moved on seamlessly, it would seem. It was clear to her that the young politician had no interest in the prospect of marriage, and she was already engaged. However, their brief meeting and her time abroad the following year began to shift her perspective on the prospects of marrying John Husted. According to author Donald Spoto, Jackie began to yearn for the company of more charismatic, cultured men. John Husted fit the bill for her parents, but he was losing her affections swiftly.

She soon called off her engagement, and once her friend Charles Bartlett learned of her new status, he once again set to his matchmaking schemes. On May 8, 1952, he and his wife deftly repeated the intimate gathering which had at first brought the two young powerhouses into conversation. This time, Jack did not let her get away. He began inviting her on dates and introducing her to family members.

Within the year, he was ready to propose. His father not only gave his approval, but went off to Fifth Avenue to purchase just the right ring for their engagement. At his chosen venue, Van Cleef & Arpels, he leaned heavily upon the advice of his jeweler Louis Arpels, who in turned leaned heavily upon his wife, who knew Jackie well enough to recommend the perfect engagement ring: A mid-century masterpiece complete with a 2.88-carat diamond situated beside a 2.84-carat emerald, accented by marquise and tapered baguette diamonds in a beautiful retro swirl motif.

On June 24, 1953, Jack proposed to Jackie, and the next day the press was ringing with the news. A Denver columnist wrote, “The single girls in Washington will do well to weep” {cited}, and weep they did. As the women of Washington grieved the loss of one of America’s most eligible bachelor’s, the rest of the western world began eagerly anticipating what remains one of America’s most celebrated weddings.

Their wedding took place the following September at St. Mary’s Church in Jackie’s hometown, Newport, Rhode Island. In her hair she wore her grandmother’s rose point lace veil with orange blossoms and a lace tiara. In her hands she carried a bouquet of white and pink spray orchids and gardenias. Around her neck she wore what would become her iconic piece, a single strand of family pearls.

Her dress was a wonder in ivory silk, fashioned out of 50 yards of the luscious material. The bouffant skirt was decorated with elaborate tucking and tiny wax flowers, and the off-the-shoulder bodice was styled with a similar tucking technique. She is said to have worn a diamond leaf pin, a gift from Ambassador and Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy, but the wedding photos show only the exquisite diamond bracelet her groom gave her on the day of their wedding.

After greeting 3,000 well-wishers on their journey from the church to their reception, they celebrated with champagne and dancing with 1,200 invited guests. They spent their first night at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and the remainder of their honeymoon in Acapulco. And the rest, as they say, is history.

1. Anthony, Carl Sferrazza. The Kennedy White House: Family Life and Pictures, 1961-1963. pg. 147.

May’s Birthstone (Emerald) Has Long Been Favored Among Powerful Women

Colombian Emerald Engagement Ring with Diamond Accents

If you were born in the month of May, you have the good fortune to call emerald your birthstone. With a history dating as far back as gemstone history extends, emeralds have long been favored among powerful women. In Ancient Egypt, Cleopatra was known to wear the stones in abundance, and though her famed mines now yield only low-grade stones, at one time Cleopatra’s mines were an abundant source for valuable emeralds.

Moving forward through the centuries, emeralds were chief among the Mughal Empresses. The powerful Mughal Empress Nur Jahan, considered to be one of the world’s most influential women during the 17th century, wore exquisitely carved Mughal emeralds intermingled with rubies. These carved verdant beauties circulated throughout Europe, and by the early 19th century many had found their way into the hands of some of the world’s most elite jewelry houses, predominantly Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Tiffany & Co.

Reworked into masterful designs by these prestigious firms, emeralds became the jewel of choice for many of the most influential women of the mid-century and beyond. Paris’ Duchess-in-exile, Wallis Simpson, wore several pieces by Cartier which were enhanced by carved emeralds, and one of the mid-century’s wealthiest heiresses, Marjorie Merriweather Post, owned one of the most exquisite diamond and carved emerald shoulder brooch’s ever made by Cartier. Another woman of marked influence, HRH Princess Faiza of Egypt, once owned a gorgeous emerald and diamond necklace made by Van Cleef & Arpels. In 2013, this jewel realized a sales price of $4.2 million at Christie’s Geneva Magnificent Jewels sale.

In addition to necklaces and brooches, several emerald engagement rings have been worn by influential women throughout the past several centuries. In 1837, Queen Victoria wore an emerald in her engagement ring. The ring, fashioned as a golden serpent biting its tail, featured a demure emerald atop its head. The ring was designed by her doting husband, Prince Albert, who endeavored to lace it thoroughly with Victorian sentiment. The serpent with its tail between its teeth was a popular Victorian symbol of eternal love, and the emerald, which happened to be the Queen’s birthstone, represented hope and was believed to ensure that a woman would mature into a truly adoring wife.

Fast forward a century, and we find John F. Kennedy gifting his fiance Jackie Bouvier an exquisite retro-style engagement ring fashioned by Van Cleef & Arpels. Her ring, purchased in 1952, featured a 2.84-carat square-cut emerald juxtaposed to a 2.88-carat square-cut diamond accented by a swirl of marquise-cut and baguette diamonds. The ring was chosen by Louis Van Cleef, whose wife advised him in the perfect style for the American debutante.

More recently, in 2012, Halle Berry also chose a square-cut emerald center stone for her engagement ring, a beautiful jewel fashioned of chunky hammered gold with a bezel-set emerald flanked on either side by a bezel-set round brilliant white diamond. Halle Berry holds the honorable position as the only African-American woman to win an Oscar for a leading role and uses her platform as one of America’s highest paid actors to lobby for the environment and for women’s issues in the realm of health, education, and justice.

As you can see, it seems that although the verdant green stone is not a frequent choice for today, it is a choice made by unique and influential women.