Top 15 Most Expensive Pieces of Jewelry Ever Made
Thanks to their mesmerizing beauty, but also due to their great rarity, there are gemstones that have been sold for mind-bogglingly high sums of money, making them probably the single most valuable objects on the planet for their size and weight. In fact, one might even argue that the value of some stones is virtually immeasurable. Details below!
- 15. Briolette Diamond Necklace – $11 Million
- 14. Princess Katharina Henckel von Donnersmarck’s Emerald and Diamond Tiara – $12.3 Million
- 13. Bulgari Blue Diamond Ring – $15.7 Million
- 12. Heart of the Ocean – $17 Million
- 11. Pink Diamond – $17.77 Million
- 10. The Perfect Pink – $23.2 Million
- 9. The Winston Blue – $23.8 Million
- 8. The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond – $24.3 Million
- 7. Hutton-Mdivani Jadeite Necklace by Cartier – $27 Million
- 6. The Orange – $36 Million
- 5. Pink Emerald-Cut Graff Diamond – $46 Million
- 4. L’Incomparable Necklace – $55 Million
- 3. The Pink Star – $72 Million
- 2. Peacock Brooch by Graff – $100 Million
- 1. The Hope Diamond – Inestimable
15. Briolette Diamond Necklace – $11 Million
During May 2013, in Hong Kong, Christie’s presented the biggest briolette diamond ever auctioned.
The highlight of the stunning pendant necklace is the huge 75.36-carat diamond, but the piece also includes a marquise-cut purplish pink diamond suspended above the briolette. The two diamonds are joined by a briolette diamond neck chain mounted in 18k rose and white gold. This unique briolette diamond necklace eventually was eventually sold for more than $11 million.
14. Princess Katharina Henckel von Donnersmarck’s Emerald and Diamond Tiara – $12.3 Million
This exquisite emerald and diamond tiara was commissioned around the year 1900 for Princess Katharina Henckel von Donnersmarck. Reportedly created by Parisian jewelry house Chaumet, the piece, which comprises 11 rare Colombian emerald pear-shaped drops weighing in at over 500 carats, was worn only in the presence of royalty.
Auctioned by Sotheby’s in Geneva in May 2011, it sold for over $2 million more than previously estimated.
13. Bulgari Blue Diamond Ring – $15.7 Million
Another eye-catching jewel which broke records when it was auctioned a few years ago, the Bulgari Blue Diamond ring was created in the 1970s and was initially a gift from a wealthy collector to his wife after the birth of their first son.
It features a 9.87 carat colorless triangular-shaped diamond, together with a triangular 10.95 carat “Fancy Vivid” blue diamond, the largest blue diamond of this cut offered at auction until that date.
12. Heart of the Ocean – $17 Million
A great example of life imitating art, the Heart of the Ocean necklace was initially a fictional jewel worn by Kate Winslet’s character in the movie Titanic. The film was a huge success, so the company who created what was basically a movie prop, London-based jeweler Asprey & Garrard, was commissioned to make a “real” necklace following the same design. What Asprey & Garrard came up with was a platinum-set, 171-carat (34.2 g) heart-shaped Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 103 diamonds which was sold to an anonymous buyer for a staggering $17 million!
11. Pink Diamond – $17.77 Million
Late last year, in Hong Kong, Sotheby’s sold this stunning 8.41-carat fancy vivid purple-pink diamond for a massive $17.77 million.
Mined by De Beers, the gem was meticulously cut from a larger, 18-carat diamond, and fitted platinum ring, mounted and pavé-set throughout with circular-cut diamonds. In addition to its obviously beautiful color, the Type IIa diamond (the most chemically pure of all gemstones of this nature) also boasts some pretty rare qualities, such as its size, beautiful hue, and rich saturation of color.
10. The Perfect Pink – $23.2 Million
Pink diamonds seem to have gained a lot of popularity recently, with many such gemstones being sold for eight figure sums in the past few years. A great example of this is the aptly-named Perfect Pink, which went for over $23 million in November 2010.
The 14.23 carat diamond is quite a rarity according to Christie’s, who only sold around 20 such pink stones over 10 carats in almost 250 years of history.
9. The Winston Blue – $23.8 Million
The Winston Blue is an extremely valuable ring featuring the largest flawless vivid blue diamond in the world, which was auctioned by Christie’s in May 2014.
The stunningly beautiful 13.22 carat piece was acquired by Harry Winston, and named in honor of the company’s legendary founder by its CEO, Nayla Heyek. The price of the deal was a hefty $23.8, far exceeding expectations (as it often seems to happen when people try to outbid each other for these things).
8. The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond – $24.3 Million
The Wittelsbach blue diamond is one of the most prestigious gemstones in the world. With a history going as far back as the 17th century, it was part of the Bavarian crown jewels before disappearing for decades during the 20th century. It finally reappeared and was subsequently bought at an auction by Laurence Graff for over $24 million.
The legendary jeweler then proceeded to recut the stone, reducing it from 35.52 carats to a little over 31 carats, thus improving its clarity, brilliance, and grade. This move has proved to be quite controversial, being compared to painting over a masterpiece by Rembrandt or Da Vinci in order to make it “prettier.”
7. Hutton-Mdivani Jadeite Necklace by Cartier – $27 Million
The Hutton-Mdivani Necklace by the Cartier Collection is a magnificent piece valued at a staggering $27.44 million.
It comprises 27 large jadeite beads of splendid color, with diameters ranging from 15.4 mm to 19.2 mm, and once belonged to the famous socialite Barbara Hutton, daughter of retail tycoon Frank W. Woolworth. The beautiful necklace, mounted by Cartier with a beautiful ruby and diamond clasp, was a wedding gift for her first marriage, in 1933, to Prince Alexis Mdivani.
6. The Orange – $36 Million
When it was auctioned by Christie’s in Geneva in November 2013, this incredible stone, simply referred to as The Orange, was by far the largest fancy vivid orange diamond to be sold this way. Unsurprisingly, it fetched a record-breaking bid as well, which rose to an amazing $35.5 million, blowing its estimated value of $21 million out of the water.
At almost $2.4 million per carat, this eye-catching gem also set a world record price per carat for any colored diamond sold at auction.
5. Pink Emerald-Cut Graff Diamond – $46 Million
Graded “Fancy Intense Pink” by the Gemological Institute of America, this 24.78-carat emerald-cut stone was bought at auction by none other than Laurence Graff himself, who described it “the most fabulous diamond I’ve seen in my career.”
What makes this diamond so amazing is the combination of color and purity with the elegance of the emerald-cut, which is usually reserved for white diamonds – rare features which greatly raised the stone’s allure.
4. L’Incomparable Necklace – $55 Million
The impossibly expensive L’Incomparable Diamond Necklace was unveiled by the internationally acclaimed Mouawad jewelry company and still has the honor of being the most valuable piece of its kind in the world.
In an incredible stroke of luck, this jaw-dropping gem was discovered by chance by a young girl in the Congo three decades ago in a pile of kimberlite (a by-product of diamond mining). Its centerpiece is the world’s largest internally flawless diamond (which is a massive 407.48 carats!), but the necklace also features no fewer than 102 smaller stones.
3. The Pink Star – $72 Million
Rarely is a gemstone of its quality and value available for purchase, so when Sotheby’s auctioned this impressive 59.60-carat diamond called the Pink Star in late 2013, you know buyers with very deep pockets would line up to acquire it. In fact, interest for the diamond was so great, the final bid far exceeded the estimated $61 million it was expected to fetch, and actually rose to more than $83 million.
Unfortunately, the buyer couldn’t come up with the record-breaking fee in time, so Sotheby’s has retained the stone, valuing it at $72 million.
2. Peacock Brooch by Graff – $100 Million
In the world of diamonds, there’s no one bigger than Graff – so to once again highlight their status, the London-based company has created this staggeringly expensive Peacock brooch, which is worth more than a private jet!
The piece boasts over 1,000 gemstones (1,305 to be exact), weighing in at 120.81 carats, with the deep blue diamond at its heart tipping the scales at just over 20 carats by itself. Certainly not intended to be worn (at least not in public), unless you actually get a kick out of having the GDP of a small nation on you when you go out.
1. The Hope Diamond – Inestimable
One of the most infamous pieces of jewelry in history, the Hope Diamond is legendary not only for its great beauty, but also for allegedly being cursed.
Over the centuries, it was in the possession of the likes of Louis XIV and Harry Winston, with the latter donating it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958, where it has been on display ever since.
The mesmerizing, 45.52-carat deep-blue diamond has been valued in the hundreds of millions; however, according to the Smithsonian, its rarity, extremely high profile, and immense cultural value make its worth ultimately inestimable – and we’re inclined to agree.