Precious metals, radiant gemstones, and prisms of colors: jewelry collections represent a mixture of beauty, exquisiteness, and extravagance. Although jewelry has always been a timeless form of adornment and art, the history of jewelry is more than impressive. While most of the accessories in prehistoric times were made of bones and stone to protect people, jewelry slowly became a symbol of status and wealth.
Jewels are more than beautiful pieces of metal to adorn the human body. In fact, the importance of jewelry varies between cultures and societies. Some ethnic groups, for instance, believe that gems have healing properties and may even carry a curse. Interestingly, the word "jewel" comes from the word "joule," meaning plaything.
From topaz earrings and jade necklaces to diamond rings and ruby brooches, jewelry is a symbol of femininity and style. No surprise socialites, actresses, and influential figures indulge in the rare elite hobby called jewelry collection.
While many Millennial moms today prefer boho style handmade accessories, often made of wood, shells, and feathers, there’s no doubt that diamonds are still a girl’s best friend. So, let’s have a look at 20 stunning vintage pictures. With their impressive jewelry collections, these women are not regular mothers... Or maybe all moms own emeralds and pearls?
20 Marlene Dietrich's Jarretière Bracelet, Emeralds, And Fame
Emeralds and fame go hand in hand. Jewelry has always been an important part of our society: a symbol of femininity and mysticism. It's no surprise beautiful Marlene Dietrich, known for her femme fatale roles, became one of the most iconic jewelry collectors of the last century. Dietrich wasn’t a regular mother; she was a beautiful film icon whose love for jewelry was priceless.
According to jewelsdujour.com, jewelry ran in Marlene’s blood. Her family ran a prestigious jewelry shop in artsy Berlin. For Dietrich, jewels were a symbol of style and Hollywood glitter. One of her favorite pieces was her diamond Jarretière cuff bracelet which was made by Van Cleef & Arpels. Pure glamour!
19 Elizabeth Taylor's Legendary Jewels And Beauty
Jewelry means beauty; gems brings out royal vibes and sparkle. With all her diamonds, pearls, and tiaras, beautiful Elizabeth Taylor—known for her epic role in Cleopatra—is like a real-world princess. As the actress recalls, "When [third husband Mike Todd] gave me this tiara, he said, 'You're my queen, and I think you should have a tiara'. It wasn't fashionable to wear tiaras then, but I wore it anyway because he was my king."
Interestingly enough, in 2011, Taylor’s jewelry collection was sold for $115.9 million. According to businessinsider.com, this was a world record for a private collection sold at auction. Priceless radiance!
18 Christina Onassis: Rubies And Tears
Tears are like diamonds — they're pure and cold. Although Christina Onassis, daughter of businessman Aristotle Onassis from Greece, struggled to find happiness and love, there was plenty of shimmer in her life. Despite her four divorces, Christina was a powerful mother. In fact, she was one of the most memorable jewelry collectors of the last century.
According to reuters.com, her collection included a pear-shaped 38-carat D color flawless diamond, part of a necklace, which was sold for more than $4.71 million. Though not many moms can afford a diamond necklace, we have to admit that jewelry can make us feel special and stylish.
17 Maharani Sita Devi Sahib of Baroda: Colors And Jewels Across The Globe
Can you imagine a life adorned with expensive attire and sparkling gems? For Maharani Sita Devi Sahib of Baroda, the world was her oyster. Colorful and exotic, Sita Devi was one of the most beautiful women across India and the world. Her love for the finer things in life was priceless.
Interestingly, according to youandi.com, Sita Devi had to flout numerous religious and legal practices to divorce her husband in order to marry the eighth richest man in the world (and a father of eight). Living a life of luxury, even her cigarette holder was adorned with rubies and her tongue cleaners were made of gold.
16 Jean-Louis Scherrer: Art And Pearls
Paris, the city of love, perfumes, and gems! Who can resist its sparkle and charm? There’s no doubt famous artist and designer Jean-Louis Scherrer did not hesitate to dive into the Parisian world of glamour and fame. As jewelry is often considered the cherry on top of expensive attire, it's no surprise Jean-Louis Scherrer tried to create a world of marvel, silver, and colors.
As a matter of fact, Scherrer’s jewelry collections were inspired by numerous styles. According to costumejewelrycollectors.com, imagination, baroque pearls, African vibes, and Far Eastern silk was mixed in one. Beauty and success beyond borders and times!
15 The Splendor Of Daisy Fellowes And Her Diamonds
Daisy Fellows was one of the most spectacular jewelry collectors of the last century. We should note that she was a granddaughter of Isaac Singer who pioneered the sewing-machine from the US. Far from being a peaceful housewife, Daisy led an exotic life. With her passion for jewels, she became the new toast of the town.
According to jewelsdujour.com, some of the most precious pieces of Daisy’s collection were her diamond and emerald bead manchette bracelets by Van Cleef & Arpels. Daisy’s jewelry collection inspired numerous designers, socialites, and actresses. And moms, of course! After all, jewels and fashion go hand in hand.
14 Lily Safra's Jewels For Hope
Gems with their sparkle bring hope. Lily Safra is one of the most famous jewelry collectors who proved that jewels symbolize not only social status but pure love. Safra’s collection is a fascinating form of art; it consists of 70 diamonds, sapphires, and rubies, which reflect different styles and times.
According to Christies.com, Safra’s gems served to raise funds for charity and philanthropic causes. One of her most memorable jewels is her red ruby ring, a symbol of beauty and hope. Interestingly enough, Safra’s ring, a carat Burmese ruby, is the most expensive ruby ring in the world. Only $6,742,440... and it’s yours, mama!
13 Elsa Schiaparelli's Timeless Style
Although the importance of jewelry spans across centuries, there’s no doubt that jewels cannot age. Elsa Schiaparelli’s collections are still a clear example of an everlasting form of art. Schiaparelli was one of the most prominent fashion designers in the 1920s. She worked along with jewelry designers and Surrealists artists like Dali to create pieces of splendor.
What’s more, Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel transformed the nature of today’s fashion. According to Trufauxjewels.com, Elsa initiated the acceptance of costume jewelry. And we, as moms, have to admit that inexpensive jewelry is something that can help us experience glamour at no cost.
12 Jayne Wrightsman's Magnificent Jewels
Diamonds, rubies, pearls, and gold! For the rich of the world, collecting gems and gold is a form of art, a symbol of power. No surprise the vast majority of influential people who indulge in the beauty of this elite hobby still recognize the splendor of Jayne Wrightsman’s collection.
Jayne Wrightsman was not a regular wife. A socialite and a museum patron, her love for decorative arts transformed her life. She became one of the most prominent jewelry collectors of the last century. Her emerald and enamel rosary from the late 17th century is still a magnificent symbol of unique beauty.
11 Evalyn Walsh McLean: Gems And Faith
Gems have a mystical power and healing properties. Accessories can transform people’s lives and adorn our gray days with love. Beautiful Evalyn Walsh McLean, for instance, loved diamonds. She was the last owner of the 45-carat Hope Diamond and the 94-carat Star of the East.
It’s believed, though, that some jewels may carry a curse. Interestingly, according to Famousdiamonds.tripod.com, when Evalyn saw the Star of the East, she exclaimed, "It’s got me. I'll never get away from the spell of this." Don’t you believe in destiny? Well, despite her interesting life, the socialite died lonely in a mental institution.
10 Ellen Barkin: Auction Jewels For Millions
Jewels are magnificent and rare. How could one get bored of collecting such pieces of glitter? Let’s ask Ellen Barkin. According to Theadventurine.com, after her notorious divorce, Barkin simply took her 100 jewels to Christie’s to sell at auction. Why? The actress revealed that in her marriage she was "an accessory, being accessorized, the perfect one-age-appropriate, the mother of two children, successful in her own right… These are just not memories I want to wear out every day."
Among all her topaz earrings and flower rings, Barkin had 18 jewels by JAR. This is extraordinary because the famous designer Joel Arthur Rosenthal makes around 80 jewels a year.
9 Maria Callas: Music And Feathers For Millions
Maria Callas is another famous jewelry collector of the last century. With her unique voice and beautiful pearls, the soprano from Greece became one of the most exotic and popular figures of the 20th century. Maria Callas even bore a child by the famous businessman Aristotle Onassis. In fact, in an interview, the diva said, "Ari’s total understanding of women comes out of a Van Cleef & Arpels catalog." Maria’s jewelry collection was a mixture of exotic gems and fragile ornaments. Her style was unique, extravagant and stylish all at the same time. And they say that musicians are always broke…
8 Barbara Hutton: Jade, Pearls, And Gold
Some people make their childhood dreams come true. According to Sothebys.com, Barbara Hutton, one of the most influential jewelry collectors of all time, had a passion for gemstones since she was a girl. Her favorite gem was jade, so it’s no surprise she owned a large number of ornamental gems of the jadeite variety.
However, one of the most famous pieces of jewelry Barbara possessed was a necklace of 53 pearls that had been worn by Marie Antoinette of France. Barbara’s love for pearls transformed her life, helping her find cold perfectionism and sparkling stability. What was your childhood dream, mama?
7 Marilyn Monroe: Girls Love Diamonds
Although Marilyn Monroe never experienced the joys of motherhood, we have to admit that her love for diamonds was well-known across the globe. As the beautiful actress once said, "A kiss on the hand might feel good, but a diamond tiara is forever."
Just like her multi-facet persona, Monroe’s jewelry was a mixture of passion, style, love, and extravagance. Her life and profession were marked by glitter, just like her jewelry collection. Covered in fur, white scarves, and silver, it’s no surprise Monroe transformed Hollywood and the way we perceive blondes. Maybe it’s true, then: diamonds are a girl’s best friend.
6 Grace Kelly: Style And Jewels
Gems simply mean style! Grace Kelly, one of the most beautiful style icons of the last century, wasn’t an ordinary mother. Apart from her wonderful family life and acting gigs, Kelly was also a prominent jewelry collector. Her ruby cabochons, diamond tiaras, and stunning brooches still keep the sweet memories of her extravagant life and beauty.
According to gemselect.com, one of the most amazing pieces of jewelry Kelly wore was her Daisy Brooch by Van Cleef & Arpels. Kelly also loved animal motif accessories, such as her Cartier Chicken Brooch. Interestingly enough, her style inspired many jewelry collectors all over the world.
5 Madeleine Astor: Sapphires And Dreams Across The Atlantic
Jewels are forever. Do you remember the beautiful necklace from the iconic movie Titanic? Back then, displaying one fortune was the norm. That’s right – jewels can float on the wings of glamour and time.
Madeleine Astor, one of the most famous socialites of the last century, was also one of the tragic survivors of the Titanic. According to mrmhadams.typepad.com, many rich people who embarked the iconic ship wore layers of silk, fur, and gold. Madeleine and her husband John Astor were among the richest couples there, a symbol of strong love and extraordinary wealth. However, Madeleine returned without her husband. After all, money can’t buy happiness…
4 Frida Kahlo's Tribal Vibes
Accessories reveal a whole world of beauty, style, and wealth. Nevertheless, not all accessories are made of diamonds and gold. Take Frida Kahlo, for example. Despite her ambivalent feelings about having children, artist Frida Kahlo had a strong love for indigenous jewelry. According to Banderasnews.com, Frida favored Pre-Columbian adornments and handmade jewelry. Such bangles, beads, and feathers were not fashionable back then, but for Frida, they were a way to express her culture. Her untamed facial hair was also a statement, a symbol of her unique style and native traditions.
In fact, many Millennial moms adore tribal vibes and handmade jewelry made of wood, feathers, and leather.
3 Barbara Paley: Elegance And Silver
What would you choose: kids or diamonds? Barbara 'Babe' Paley was one of the most beautiful societies and jewelry collectors of the last century. As jewelry designer Kenneth Lane said, "One look from Babe and you melted. You fell in love with her the moment her marvelous eyes looked at you. Every waiter in every restaurant fell in love with her. She made you feel that she was in love with you. If she walked into a room, people didn’t quite stop breathing altogether, but they held their breath for a minute. She had an aura."
We should mention that, according to Agnautacouture.com, Barbara underwent reconstructive surgery after a serious car accident, but her beauty is still memorable!
2 Consuelo Vanderbilt: Sparkle And Aristocracy
The love for gems knows no boundaries. Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan was a famous member of the Vanderbilt family. Her loveless marriage helped her become a proud owner of one of the most magnificent jewelry collections of all times. In fact, she wore a stunning tiara of more than a thousand diamonds made by Boucheron. According to thecourtjeweller.com, the tiara was given as a wedding gift by Consuelo’s father, William Vanderbilt.
Interestingly, the Vanderbilt family has always been surrounded by wealth and glory. Gloria Vanderbilt, known as one of the early designers of designer blue jeans, for instance, was involved in one of the most notorious child-custody trials.
1 Laurence Graff: Diamonds Are Not Only For Women
From Tiffany to Bulgari, jewelry designers bring glamour into people's lives. Laurence Graff is one of the most famous jewelry designers of all time. Graff, the founder of Graff Diamonds, is also known as the King of Diamonds. According to Celebfamily.com, Graff revolutionized the whole industry: he learned how to give old jewelry a brand new look. After years of struggles, Laurance managed to open his own jewelry shop and slowly attracted clients from all over the world. Classic and timeless, Graff and his jewels still inspire women and men across the globe. Perhaps not many moms can afford a diamond ring, but at least we have the best treasure in the world: our loved ones.
Sources: Banderansnews, BussinessInsider, CelebFamily, CostumeJewelryCollectors, Christies, FamousDiamonds, Gemselect, JewelsDujour, JewelsDujour, Mrmhadams, Reuters, Sothebys, TheCourtJeweller, TheAdventurine, TrufauxJewels, Youandi