Skip to content

The Rich History Behind Royal Wedding Jewelry

Royal Wedding Jewelry Blog Header

Jewelry that survives the test of time and impacts our industry

In 1923, Elizabeth, Queen Consort to King George VII, was gifted a kilogram of Welsh gold, from the now-closed Clogau mine in Bontddu, Wales and has been used for every royal wedding since to make the wedding bands for the bride and groom. Royal brides often borrow or are given heirloom jewelry on their wedding day to embrace the rich history of their new family.

Flash forward nearly a century later, on May 19, 2018, the world stopped to watch Prince Harry bewed Meghan Markle— an American commoner, actress, and philanthropist. The bride looked incredibly stunning, draped in a regal Givenchy gown and adorned with simple, yet powerfully symbolic royal wedding jewelry.

Let us step back in time to examine royal wedding jewelry, its deep sentiments, and what this means for our industry—

Queen Elizabeth II

When then-Princess Elizabeth married Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1947, the world was just starting to recover from World War II. Elizabeth, who served in the war as a driver and mechanic, had to save up her rations to buy the fabric for her dress and she borrowed all of the jewelry she wore. The two-stranded pearl necklace that graced Elizabeth’s neck was actually two necklaces that are always worn together; the shorter strand strung with 46 pearls, belonged to Queen Anne, the last Stuart monarch while the longer strand with 50 pearls belonged to Queen Caroline, Queen Consort to King George II. She wore an elegant platinum engagement ring set with diamonds from her mother-in-law’s, Princess Alice of Battenberg, personal collection. Finally, the tiara that famously snapped the day of the wedding and was fixed in the nick of time by the court jeweler, was the Queen Mary Fringe Tiara originally given to Queen Mary as a wedding present from her mother the great Queen Victoria in 1893.

A post shared by Kitty & Dulcie (@kittyanddulcie) on

Princess Diana

Princess Diana set a new standard for royal wedding jewelry with her extravagant marriage to Prince Charles at St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1981. Millions of people all over the world watched as Diana gracefully glided down the long aisle of St. Paul’s Cathedral in her ivory silk gown with its record-breaking 25-foot long train. To accent her gown she wore the now-iconic sapphire engagement ring given to her by Prince Charles, accompanied by the band of welsh gold. To top off her ensemble, she wore a Spencer heirloom tiara worn by her mother and grandmother on their wedding days.

A post shared by Simrat Kaur (@theladysim) on

Kate Middleton

Kate Middleton became a worldwide fashion sensation after her wedding to William in 2011. Her dress, designed by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, was heavily embroidered; therefore she kept her jewelry relatively simple. On the day of the wedding, she wore the sapphire engagement ring given to her by William that had once belonged to his mother, Diana. The tiara that secured her veil was lent to her by Queen Elizabeth and was originally given to the Queen’s mother by King George VI.

Meghan Markle

As of May 19, 2018, Meghan Markle is now Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex. There was speculation that Harry would give Meghan one of Diana’s rings for their engagement. Instead, he opted to design a new ring using diamonds from his mother’s collection, sparking a firestorm of fascination for three-stone engagement rings. Meghan wore a borrowed tiara from Queen Elizabeth, also known as the Queen Mary tiara. And as a wedding day gift, Harry also gave his new bride his mother’s Asprey aquamarine ring, an emerald-cut aquamarine surrounded by small diamonds that sits in 24-karat gold.

Shop Aquamarine on

How royal wedding jewelry affects the industry

At the core of this remarkable ceremony filled with rich history, unparalleled elegance, and millions of onlookers, is royal wedding jewelry passed from one generation to the next. The world not only watches, but emulates the monarchy’s jewelry, fashion, and ceremonial trends. JCK reports on the aquamarine craze here, for example.

Events like these are incredibly bolstering to the jewelry industry. It is this romance, this powerful symbolism that fuels our day-to-day purchases. Capture the frenzy surrounding the royal wedding and channel it into your own operations. Use the aforementioned royal vintage heirlooms as inspiration for your own designs. Prepare for customers looking for similar royal wedding styles. And finally, remember that your fanciful creations are unending beacons of heritage and legacy. Forged within each piece you craft is a precious heirloom that boasts love, devotion, and history for generations to come.


Ally Gary

Former Marketing Copywriter

I've been with Stuller since 2017 • Love traveling and chocolate • Graduated from the University of Louisiana • Majored in English and napping • Catch me in my car singing every part of Les Miserables!