The Most Valuable Antique Brooches in the World

Most Valuable Antique Brooches in the World

Antique brooches are beautiful pieces of jewellery. Serving a huge variety of uses of hundreds of years, they are among the most valued pieces of antique jewellery in the world. Although they have faced a recent dip in popularity, it appears as though they are once more on the rise. To celebrate this, we’ve decided to take a look at the most valuable antique brooches in the world.

Dresden Green Diamond

The Dresden Green is the largest diamond with a natural green hue in the world. Originally mined in India, in the region today known as Andhra Pradesh, the history of the diamond is traceable to 1722, when a newspaper recording knowledge of its existence. It was purchased by Augustus III of Poland in 1742, whereupon it was incorporated into a hat ornament. Whilst not technically a brooch, the creation and style of the ornament is in all ways but function the same as any brooch from this period. In addition to the Dresden Green, the ornament features 2 large diamonds and 411 small-to-medium-sized diamonds.

Today, the Dresden Green is held in the New Green Vault at Dresden Castle in Germany. It has in its lifetime lived briefly in Moscow, as well as spending some time on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. American Jewellers, Harry Winston, arranged a display in 2000 that saw the Dresden Green sat alongside the well-known Hope Diamond. The unique colour of the diamonds makes it a true one of a kind, with a value that’s hard to estimate.

Empress Eugenie’s Bow Brooch

This brooch was designed by Francois Kramer in the 1850s. Napoleon III commissioned the brooch to be created for his wife, the Empress Eugenie. The diamond bow sits with two elongated, tassel-style drops – each one encrusted in diamonds. Furthermore, five strands featuring seven diamonds each drop from the bottom of the bow. The overall effect is a stunning piece of jewellery that has stood the test of time.

In 2008, the President of the Louvre, Henri Loyrette, organised a private sale with Christie’s of New York to arrange the return of the brooch to its homeland of France.

Graff Diamonds Peacock Brooch – £73.4 million

The Peacock Brooch created by Graff Diamonds, is one of the most valuable diamond brooches in the world. It is not an antique brooch, being crafted in 2013, but its beauty and value are more than enough to have it sit at the top of this list. A total of 120.81 carats of diamonds spread out across 1,300 diamonds in blue, yellow, orange, and white diamonds cover the peacock shape, adding sparkle from every angle. The focal point of the brooch is a pear-cut diamond in a dark blue colour, totalling 20.02 carats on its own.

The Peacock Brooch was sold, although the location of the buyer and new owner are not public knowledge. Perhaps this will become another classic story of an antique whose story is untraceable for a significant period of time. We shall see.

The Most Valuable Antique Brooches in the World

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Brooch

The most valuable diamond brooch in the world belonged to the late Queen Elizabeth II. Gifted by her grandmother, Queen Elizabeth’s brooch has a truly fascinating history behind it. The iconic brooch consists of the third and fourth largest stones cut from the largest diamond ever found, the celebrated Cullinan.

The Cullinan III and Cullinan IV, the two diamonds that make up the brooch, is renowned not only for its breathtaking dazzle but also its interesting history.

This stone, weighing a whopping 3,106 carats in its uncut state, was first discovered at the Premier Mine near Pretoria in 1905 and named after the chairman of the mining company, Thomas Cullinan.

In 1907, still uncut, the diamond was given by the government of the Transvaal to Edward VII for his sixty-sixth birthday. But in January of 1908 it was sent to Asscher of Amsterdam who shortly split the stone into two pieces. These pieces were then further split and polished, eventually producing nine numbered stones.

All of these, including Cullinan III and Cullinan IV, are collectively known as ‘chippings’ which were given to Queen Mary in 1910. Queen Mary’s pear-shaped drop of 94.4 carats and a square-cut stone of 63.6 carats were generally worn as stones which hooked together as a brooch (now known as the Cullinan brooch) in a fine lattice-work setting.

Which brings us to modern day, the late Queen Elizabeth II inherited the Cullinan Brooch from her grandmother Queen Mary. Queen Elizabeth was seen wearing it while touring Asscher’s premises during the State Visit to Holland in 1958, and it was on this occasion that the brooch was famously referred to using the sweet nickname ‘Granny’s Chips’.

Following Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, we are wondering what may happen to her majesty’s precious jewellery pieces, including the Cullinan Brooch, the most valuable diamond brooch in the world. This is a question that is still to be answered.

The author’s views are entirely their own and may not always reflect the views of AC Silver.

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