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On This Day: Jackie Kennedy Onassis - A unique jewellery collection


Jackie Kennedy Onassis, a global style icon, was born Jacqueline Lee Bouvier on the 28th July 1929 in Southampton, New York.  In 1953, she married John F. Kennedy and became the First Lady in 1961, when JFK became the 35th President of the USA.  Jackie became a widow in 1963 following the assassination of JFK and five years later she married Aristotle Onassis. Throughout her life Jackie was an incredibly stylish figure; Oleg Cassini, an American designer, was responsible for her outfit styling during her time as the First Lady.  Jackie was also famed for her Chanel suits and her love of designers such as Dior and Givenchy. Famously, she also owned one of the most expensive collections of jewellery in the world. From the multi-string pearl necklaces which she accessorised her first lady wardrobe with, to the stunning pieces bought by JKF and Onassis, here we take a look at a few of the most notable pieces.

The JKF Engagement Ring:  In 1953, JKF presented Jackie with a stunning engagement ring, designed by Van Cleef & Arpels, the ring consisted of a 2.88 carat diamond, together with a 2.84 emerald, with baguette shaped cut diamonds also featuring in the setting.  In 1962, round and marquise diamonds were also added when the ring was re-set, enhancing this beautiful ring further.

The Berry Brooch: Jackie’s jewellery collection also featured many brooches, one of her favourites was a berry brooch designed by Jean Schlumberger, Tiffany & Co.  This beautiful brooch featured a fruit design fashioned with rubies and a selection of diamonds for the leaves and stems.  It is said that this unusual piece was given to Jackie by JFK to celebrate the birth of their son.  Later Aristotle Onassis commissioned Tiffany & Co to design a bracelet to match this sentimental piece of jewellery.  The gold bracelet featured rubies, amethysts, diamonds, and sapphires.

The Lesotho III Ring: Jackie also received an incredible 40 carat Lesotho III diamond ring, from Aristotle Onassis when she agreed to marry him.  This stunning marquise diamond was the 3rd largest stone to be cut from a 601 carat rough diamond.  This beautiful ring was designed and crafted by Harry Winston, and had a platinum setting.  Amazingly, the ring went on to be sold for $2.59 million at Sotheby’s in 1996.

Van Cleef & Arpels Earclips: Another wedding gift from Onassis was a pair of Van Cleef & Arpels ruby and diamond earclips, this romantic gift was one of a number of items of jewellery Jackie received on her wedding day from her husband. The earrings featured a flower design detailed with diamonds and finished with a cabochon ruby.

The Three Strand Pearls:Kenneth Jay Lane was one of those responsible for designing the elegant jewellery Jackie wore during her time as the First Lady.  The simple, yet classic 3 strand pearl necklace designed by Lane, became instantly associated with Jackie as part of her iconic look, together with her pillbox hats and gloves. Pearls have continued to feature in jewellery fashion, and although often understated they remain a timeless classic.

As well as classically elegant pieces, gold cuffs also featured in Jackie’s jewellery collection. One pair were hammered gold in design - an accessory which would fit in with today’s fashion trends.

Jewellery designs continue to be influenced by the stunning pieces in Jackie’s collection, with beautiful stones used in these sometime elaborate designs, but always with a class and elegance that was Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

Featured image: Berry Brooch