When asked to think of an iconic jewellery look, perhaps one of the first pieces that springs to mind is the seven strand pearl and sapphire choker that belonged to Princess Diana. A wedding gift from Queen Elizabeth ~ The Queen Mother, the piece started life as a brooch. Princess Diana wore the brooch in a traditional way for early engagements such as the Dutch State Visit in 1982. Here she teamed it with a beautiful four row Japanese pearl choker loaned to her by the Queen and the Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara.
Choosing to wear her jewellery in different ways, Princess Diana had her brooch converted to a clasp for the fabulous seven strand pearl choker which she wore when she famously danced with John Travolta at The Whitehouse in 1985. President Reagan’s Whitehouse Gala had eighty famous guest and Princess Diana requested the presence of John Travolta. Tapping her on the shoulder at midnight and asking ‘would you like to dance?’ the pair created a modern day fairytale which quickly passed in to legend. On this occasion, Princess Diana wore her choker with the stunning Sapphire brooch clasp facing the front. Beautifully complimenting the midnight blue velvet of her dress, the choker added a sense of wonder to the occasion.
To wear such a statement piece at 24 years old really highlights Princess Diana’s ability to transcend style and fashion ‘rules’. Pearls can often be worn as a symbol of understated glamour but on this occasion, coupled with the stunning Sapphire, they created an iconic jewellery look.
Some of the most moments which seemed most pivotal in the life of this remarkable woman were times when she wore the choker. The wonder of jewellery is that it often seems to give us super powers. Our favourite pieces can make us feel ready to take on the world and sentimental pieces lent or gifted by loved ones can imbue us with a sense that they are with us when we wear their jewellery.
I feel that is the reason that Princess Diana continued to wear this particular piece after her marriage ended and why she chose to wear it, coupled with the famous ‘revenge dress’ on the night Prince Charles publicly confessed to adultery with Camilla Parker-Bowles. To me, the outfit says ‘ I am fabulous, don’t feel sorry for me’. It couples the history and glamour of the gala at The Whitehouse, the first official public engagement and the simple beauty of pearls. According to Diana’s stylist she said that she wanted to ‘feel like a million dollars’ on that particular night. Perhaps her statement choker gave her extra confidence.
The choker also accompanied Princess Diana when she accepted her Humanitarian of the Year Award in New York. The last time this stunning piece was seen in public was the Met Gala in 1996.
The beautiful choker is now owned by Prince William and Prince Harry. Although unconfirmed, there are rumours that the two accent stones for Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’ Engagement Ring are from the centre brooch.
Known for so long as Princess Diana’s signature Pearl Choker, it’s my opinion that the piece won’t be seen in public again. As is the fashion with many royals I believe this beautiful choker will be refashioned. Wouldn’t it be lovely to make a pearl necklace for Princess Charlotte’s 16th birthday from her grandmother’s choker?
If you’re a fan of Royal Jewellery, find out which Royal Tiara was worn by Princess Eugenie on her wedding day here.
I’d love to hear more about your jewellery collections and if there’s a particular piece you’re looking for. Do feel free to get in touch.
Laura Jo ✨✨