Discover the Grandeur of Princess Grace Kelly's Impeccable Jewelry Collection

·3-min read
Photo credit: Archive Photos - Getty Images
Photo credit: Archive Photos - Getty Images


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Grace Kelly, the American film actress who married into the royal family of Monaco and became well-known for her undeniable beauty and effortless elegance, was born on November 12, 1929, to an Irish Catholic family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The eventual starlet attended convent and private schools before moving to New York City to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Kelly, who worked as a model to pay her bills while in New York City, eventually debuted on Broadway in The Father by August Strindberg in November 1949. After taking some smaller roles, she garnered more attention as Gary Cooper's Quaker wife in the film High Noon.

Photo credit: Mondadori Portfolio - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mondadori Portfolio - Getty Images

Kelly found stardom in the films that she worked on under the direction of Alfred Hitchcock. The English producer, director, and writer was enamored by the young actress and her comportment, casting her in Dial M for Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954), and To Catch a Thief (1955). After wrapping The Swan and High Society—both released in 1956—Kelly gave up the silver screen at a mere 26 years old to marry Prince Rainier III of Monaco after meeting him in the French Riviera while filming To Catch a Thief. The royal wedding was held over two days, April 18 and 19, in 1956.

Kelly, already known for her stunning looks and impeccable taste, was given jewels quite literally fit for a queen. Prince Rainier III gifted Kelly not just one but two engagement rings. Both were by French jewelry maison Cartier, with the first being a ruby-and-diamond band representing the colors of Kelly's soon-to-be country. It's rumored that, when the actress wasn't enamored with the ring, a 10.48 carat emerald-cut diamond with baguettes set on a platinum band appeared on her hand and was made famous when she wore it in High Society.

Kelly was a lifelong fan of Cartier, after making designer Alfred Durante's acquaintance while browsing at the New York City boutique with Hitchcock, himself a lover of jewelry and whose plots occasionally revolved around jewels (the diamond necklace Kelly wore in To Catch a Thief was, sadly, a fake).

Prince Rainier III gifted Princess Grace a three-strand diamond necklace on their wedding day weighing 64 carats. The necklace, also created by Cartier, featured round and emerald-cut diamonds set in platinum. Many jewels acquired by Princess Grace are now in the royal family's collection, and this particular necklace belongs to Prince Albert II.

Photo credit: George Rose - Getty Images
Photo credit: George Rose - Getty Images

Kelly also had quite a penchant for pearls and was often photographed wearing just a simple but breathtaking strand. The princess amassed a large collection of pearl and diamond jewelry, much of it given to her by Prince Rainier III.

“I favor pearls on screen and in my private life,” she was once quoted as saying in the 1950s when asked about her jewelry taste. “A woman needs ropes and ropes of pearls.”

The princess was also a client of another French jewelry maison: Van Cleef & Arpels. When Prince Rainier III proposed in 1956, Louis Arpels supposedly wrote a note to the royal, congratulating him and offering his services. Later, Kelly received a stunning suite made by the maison: a three-strand cultured pearl necklace decorated with diamonds, a pearl-and-diamond ring in the shape of a lily, pearl-and-diamond button earrings, and a pearl bracelet also set with diamonds. Van Cleef & Arpels was eventually named as the "patented supplier of the Principality of Monaco," and Princess Grace added pieces from the maison to her collection throughout the years, including several jeweled animal brooches and Alhambra necklaces.

Photo credit: Bettmann - Getty Images
Photo credit: Bettmann - Getty Images

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