Top History’s Most Expensive Jewelry Gifts

 Top History’s Most Expensive Jewelry Gifts
Take a look at five of history’s most expensive jewelry gifts, each with a whopping price tag that will make your head spin. Oh darling, you really shouldn’t have…
A $7 Million 68-Carat Diamond
A $7 Million 68-Carat DiamondActor Richard Burton purchased a lot of jewels for his wife Elizabeth Taylor but perhaps his most stunning gift was a 68 carat diamond. Burton was outbid when the stone first went to auction in 1969. He lost to Robert Kenmore, the chairman of Cartier’s parent company the Kenmore Corporation.
Inconsolably distraught, the frantic Burton was desperate to own the diamond and immediately set about purchasing the stone from Kenmore. (For her part, by Burton’s own account, Taylor was indifferent to owning it and insisted she would “make do” with her vast collection of diamonds.) Ultimately Burton bought the impressive diamond for a cool $1.1 million ($7 million in today’s dollars) and gave it to Taylor who wore it as a necklace to the 1970s Academy Awards.
The $7.6 Million Hope Diamond
The $7.6 Million Hope Diamond
Socialite Evalyn Walsh received the Hope Diamond as a wedding present from her husband Edward Beale McClean in 1912. McClean paid $300,000 (approximately $7.6 million in today’s dollars) for the 45.52 carat gray-blue stone… which Walsh would often hang from her pet dog’s collar to amuse party guests.
However, the stone was (and for some believers still is) rumored to be cursed with its past owners having committed suicide, been violently murdered or died in abject poverty. Despite her own string of personal tragedies including the accidental death of her son and the bankruptcy of her family’s newspaper The Washington Post, Walsh herself did not believe the Hope Diamond was cursed.
Today the illustrious diamond sits in the Smithsonian Museum and is valued at upwards of $250 million.
A $12.7 Million Emerald Tiara
A $12.7 Million Emerald Tiara
In 1900, German prince Guido Henckel von Donnersmarck commissioned a diamond and emerald tiara for his second wife Princess Katharina.
Above its diamond base, the tiara features 11 Colombian emeralds, nine of which are capped with rose diamonds mounted in silver and gold. The emeralds are marked for their exceptional color and impressive size. They are also intriguing because their whereabouts before they came into Princess Katharina’s possession are largely unknown. The stones are believed to have been, at one point, likely in the 17th or 18th century, owned by an Indian Maharaja and may have been a part of Empress Eugenie of France’s private collection.
In 2011, the tiara sold for $12.7 million at Sotheby’s auction in Geneva.
A $20 Million Cartier Pearl Necklace
A $20 Million Cartier Pearl Necklace
In 1905, millionaire railroad tycoon Morton F. Plant owned an exquisite six-story marble and granite building, done up in a neo-Italian Renaissance architectural style. And to only add to its prestige, it sat kitty corner from the Vanderbilt estate at the posh corner of Fifth Avenue and East 52nd Street.
When widower Plant remarried in 1914, the new couple was eager to move out of the now “commercialized” neighborhood. While awaiting the construction to be completed on their new uptown apartment, Plant’s young wife became infatuated with a $1 million ($20 million in today’s dollars), flawless double-strand pearl necklace from Cartier. Plant bartered a trade: his apartment building plus $100 in exchange for the coveted pearl necklace.
Today Plant’s former apartment is now the Cartier New York flagship store. And the necklace? It sadly fetched a mere $150,000 at auction in 1957, its value having plummeted after the advent of cultured pearls.

The Invaluable Orlov Diamond
 The Invaluable Orlov Diamond
In 1774, Count Grigory Grigoryevich Orlov gave the 189.62 carat Orlov Diamond to Catherine the Great, hoping to regain her favor and love.
The couple had a long and thrilling history: their affair began shortly before Orlov led the coup d’état that overthrew Catherine’s husband Peter III of Russia in 1762. Catherine then became empress and Orlov her lover and devoted advisor. The couple continued their relationship and had two illegitimate children together.
However Orlov fell from Catherine’s favor after her advisers—who loathed Orlov—installed Alexander Vasilchikov as her new lover and divulged Orlov’s infidelities with a much younger girl. To woe her back, Orlov presented Catherine with the stunning domed diamond. Unfortunately the gift was for naught and Orlov found himself persona non grata at Catherine’s court.
Catherine had the awe-inspiring stone mounted in an imperial scepter. The scepter remains on display amongst other pieces of tsarist regalia at the Diamond Fund of the Moscow Kremlin.