Be it Diana, Princess of Wales’s 14 solitaire diamond and 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire engagement ring – arguably the most famous piece of royal jewellery of all – heirloom brooches,
diamond tiaras, or considered British high street buys, the Duchess of Cambridge’s chosen accessories almost always have layers of meaning.
The world began avidly watching the soon-to-be Duchess’s style choices when Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton a decade ago with his mother’s engagement ring, a design by Garrard originally chosen by Prince Charles in 1981, set in 18-carat gold. The priceless, meaningful ring sits at the heart of Kate’s jewellery collection, which, thanks to a combination of heirlooms, gifts and the Duchess’s personal taste, has evolved into an eclectic trove of enviable pieces.
From thoughtfully selecting her grandmother’s vintage brooch to wear when honouring the female codebreakers of World War II, to sporting spectacular chandelier earrings at a James Bond film premiere in London, to supporting small jewellery businesses during a global pandemic, Kate has compiled an impressive, curated jewellery box filled with statement-making pieces.
Vogue delves into the glittering collection of jewellery worn by the Duchess of Cambridge over her decade in the spotlight.
Prince William famously proposed to Kate with Diana, Princess of Wales’s 14 solitaire diamond and 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire engagement ring – arguably the most famous piece of jewellery in her collection. Kate reportedly modified the ring slightly due to its size, adding platinum beads within the 18-carat gold band to make it more snug around her finger. © Getty
Cartier and Robinson Pelham
On her wedding day in April 2011, Kate stepped out wearing the Cartier Halo tiara, her “something borrowed” on loan from the Queen. George VI commissioned Cartier to make it for his wife in 1936, and it was given to the Queen as an 18th birthday present. Kate teamed the tiara with a pair of pear-cut diamond drop earrings from Robinson Pelham, gifted to her by her parents for her wedding day. © Getty
Camilla’s Gold Charm Bracelet
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is thought to have presented Kate with this chunky gold link charm bracelet as a wedding gift. The Duchess was pictured wearing the bracelet at Wimbledon in June 2011, two months after the royal wedding. The bracelet features a disc engraved with both of their monograms – on one side, a ‘C’ for Catherine and a coronet, and on the other, a ‘C’ for Camilla, and a crown. © Clive Brunskill
For a reception at Calgary Zoo during the royal tour of Canada in 2011, Kate sported another heirloom: the Queen’s Canadian maple leaf brooch by Asprey. Originally purchased by King George VI for his wife, Queen Elizabeth, during their state visit to Canada in 1939, it now belongs to the Queen, who loans it on occasion to members of her family. Kate paired the famous brooch with Kiki McDonough’s Grace studs. © Getty
At an event celebrating the 2012 Olympics, Kate wore the 18-carat, three-gold and pavé diamond Trinity necklace by Cartier with a dress by Stella McCartney. The delicate hoops of the necklace were a fitting nod to the Olympic rings. © Getty
Annoushka and Kiki McDonough
Some of Kate’s favourite daytime earrings are, in fact, the work of two jewellers: Annoushka and Kiki McDonough. The white freshwater baroque pearl drops are from Annoushka. The diamond-set hoops originate from Kate’s Kiki McDonough green amethyst oval drop earrings, created from 18-carat yellow gold. © Getty
At the premiere of the James bond film Spectre at the Royal Albert Hall in 2015, Kate wore diamond, blue topaz and white gold Pagoda earrings by Robinson Pelham, borrowed from her mother Carole Middleton. © Getty
The Dacre Brooch
In 2016 Kate performed her first official engagement as the Honorary Air Commandant of the Air Cadets, attending a service to mark its 75th anniversary. She wore an Alexander McQueen coat and a piece of jewellery long associated with the Air Cadets: the Dacre Brooch, set with diamonds. The brooch was traditionally presented each year to the best female cadet, a tradition that finished in 2015 when it was decided that the best female cadet should, like her male counterpart, instead receive the Dacre Sword. © Getty
On the royal tour of India in 2016, Kate wore Cassandra Goad’s yellow gold Temple of Heaven earrings. © Getty
Mappin & Webb
Oversized pearl earrings by Mappin & Webb were the perfect accompaniment to Philip Treacy’s pale pink hat at the Trooping the Colour ceremony in 2016. © Getty
G Collins & Sons
A pair of pear-shaped, faceted tanzanite stones surrounded by small white diamonds are often worn by Kate to complement royal blue or navy looks. The earrings are designed by G Collins & Sons, a family-run company with a Royal warrant of appointment from Her Majesty the Queen. © Getty
At the National Portrait Gallery in London for the opening of the Vogue 100: A Century of Style exhibition in 2016, Kate accessorised a pale pink dress by Alexander McQueen with Monica Vinader’s Riva Diamond Cluster Bib necklace and matching Diamond Cluster Drop Earrings. © Max Mumby/Indigo
The Lover’s Knot Tiara
A diplomatic reception in 2016 saw Kate wear the Lover’s Knot tiara, a favourite of her late mother-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales. © Getty
Wearing special-edition pink tourmaline and green amethyst pendant earrings by Kiki McDonough at the National Portrait Gallery Gala in 2017. © Getty
Cartier Ballon Blue Watch
Kate has been wearing her Cartier Ballon Blue since the 2014 royal tour of Australia and is often pictured in the classic style, like here at Wimbledon in 2019. © Karwai Tang
Van Cleef & Arpels
Kate attended the 2020 BAFTAs with the sustainably-minded dress code in mind, wearing a gold and white embroidered Alexander McQueen gown she’s owned for eight years with a suite of Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery. The mother-of-pearl and yellow gold earrings and matching necklace from the Magic Alhambra collection are a former favourite choice of Princess Grace of Monaco. © Max Mumby/Indigo
In the middle of lockdown in April 2020, Kate sported a relaxed look made up of a mustard-yellow jumper from Zara and gold fern drop earrings made in 18-carat gold plated silver by Zoraida London. © Instagram / @kensingtonroyal
In March 2020, Kate wore a £6 pair of bold double-hooped brass earrings from H&M for an evening visit to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. They were a budget-friendly addition to her bottle green dress by The Vampire’s Wife.
© Max Mumby/Indigo
Her Grandmother’s Vintage Brooch
Visiting surviving World War II codebreakers at Bletchley Park in 2019, Kate wore her trusty Annoushka pearl drops suspended from Kiki McDonough diamond hoops, along with a gold brooch that once belonged to her grandmother, Valerie Glassborow, who spent time during the war at Bletchley deciphering code. It was a touching personal detail that decorated a polka dot dress by Alessandra Rich. © Karwai Tang
Mappin & Webb
kate rewore a white, black and light blue bouclé tweed skirt suit by Dolce & Gabbana for a visit to Evelina London Children’s Hospital in January 2020, accessorised with her Mappin & Webb 18-carat white gold drop Empress earrings and matching necklace. © Max Mumby/Indigo
Spells Of Love
While visiting the Shire Hall Care Home in Wales in August 2020, Kate chose a pair of structured gold earrings to complement a floral Emilia Wickstead dress, in support of the small, Welsh-owned jewellery business, Spells of Love. Kate’s Alia hoops are crafted from 18-carat gold plated brass, and available online for £62. © WPA Pool
Kate chose Missoma’s £85 rhodochrosite and gold mini pyramid charm hoops for a day of engagements in London with Prince William. © WPA Pool