A royal engagement is always huge news, and this years’ was no different: Princess Beatrice got engaged to Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, an Italian multi-millionaire property developer, with a ring created in collaboration with Shaun Leane. The traditional central diamond is estimated to be around 3.50 carats, and was flanked by tapered baguettes, with pavé diamonds around the entire shank. The wedding of the couple is expected to be a jewellery highlight of 2020, with another chance to see a dazzling display of royal jewels on show from the bride, Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton.
One celebrity who made headlines time and time again in 2019 with her incredible jewellery was Lady Gaga, each time wearing Tiffany&Co. pieces. At the Oscars, she wore a high jewellery necklace with the 128.54 carat fancy yellow Tiffany diamond, previously worn by Audrey Hepburn to promote the iconic film ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. At the MET Gala, Lady Gaga was yet again the star of the evening wearing one-of-a-kind Tiffany&Co. diamond butterfly necklace from the Blue Book 2019 collection. It was complemented with sapphire, spinel and rubellite rings as well as diamond stud earrings. The first and most popular moment of the three came at the beginning of 2019 at the Golden Globes - wearing the ‘Aurora’ necklace, embellished with 300 diamonds, with a central radiant 20 carat pear cut stone. Including the matching earrings and three bracelets, this jewellery look alone exceeded 100 carats in weight, with a value over US$5 million.
One of the most anticipated high jewellery collections of not just the past year, but of every year, is undoubtedly Chopard’s ‘Red Carpet’ collection. Over 20 years ago Caroline Scheufele - the Co-President and Artistic Director of Chopard – started presenting a new line of Haute Joaillerie in honour of the Cannes Film Festival. Each year, it contains as many jewels as the number of years that the film festival has been running. In 2019, 72 unique pieces were created especially for the event featuring a plethora of gorgeous gemstones set in a variety of designs from classical emerald and diamond necklaces to uber modern titanium earrings.
One epic jewellery exhibition that was impossible to miss in 2019 was Bvlgari, The Story, The Dream. It ran from June to November, spanning two museums: the Castel Sant’Angelo and Palazzo Venezia, both in Rome. Over 800 jewels told the story of the company’s entire history, including iconic collections of ‘Serpenti’ watches and ‘Monete’ coin jewellery, as well as pieces from the collections of Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman and more celebrated the heyday of Hollywood’s obsession with La Dolce Vita. 80 haute couture dresses from the private collection of Cecilia Matteucci Lavarini were also on show to contextualise the importance and influence of Bulgari’s style.
The last but not least unforgettable moment was the Al Thani Collection auction. In June, a selection of over 400 jewels was sold in Christie’s headquarters in New York (though the entire Al Thani collection contains over 6000 jewels). Creations from some of the most famous 20th century jewellery houses such as Bulgari, Cartier, Lacloche, Mauboussin, and Mellerio were up for sale at the ‘Maharajas & Mughal Magnificence’ auction. This auction beat the world record for the highest total for any auction of Indian art and jewelled objects, fetching US$109 million. It actually became the second highest auction total for a private jewellery collection - after the 2011 sale of Elizabeth Taylor's jewels, also by Christie's.
This roundup of the best jewellery moments of 2019 has us excited for what 2020 will bring the jewellery world. Here's hoping that the jewels, the auctions and the exhibits continue getting bigger and better!