Valentine's Day is one of the most celebrated days of the year for the fine jewelry industry, especially diamond retailers. Economists project the total diamonds sold across the nation to be $17.3 billion dollars in total throughout the romantic gift-giving holiday.
Diamonds exude radiance and timeless elegance, and have been sought after for centuries. In celebration of the romantic holiday, we've compiled a fun list of some of the most expensive jewelry pieces in the world. Many of these pieces have rich histories, some of which can trace their lineage as far back as the 18th century. Several of the diamonds have their own place in film, literature, and popular culture.
View our list of the "Top Eight of the World's Most Expensive Jewelry" to see the rarest and most beautiful diamonds.
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The Hope Diamond
The Hope Diamond is the most world renowned of all gemstones, and has an equally rich history. Originating from India, the Hope Diamond is currently housed by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC and is estimated in value at $200-250 million. The stone has changed hands throughout the centuries, and was once worn by Queen Marie Antoinette of France, wife of Louis XIV.
During that time, the Hope Diamond measured at 67.125 carats. The stone was cut several times over the years, the last being during the 1950s. Harry Winston, one of the last private owners of the gem, cut the stone to it's current weight of 45.52 carats. The Gemological Institute of America verified the current weight of the Hope Diamond, and is considered one of the largest stones discovered in the world. In fact, the Hope Diamond has traveled through many countries, including India, France, Turkey, Russia, Great Britain, Ireland, and the United States.
Adding to the appeal of the Hope Diamond is the legends that surround the stone. For centuries, many people believed the Hope Diamond was cursed, and brought about tragedy to anyone who owned or wore the diamond. The curse of the Hope Diamond has been a trend in literature, film, and popular culture.
Further adding to the enigma surrounding the Hope Diamond is the diamond's reaction to ultraviolet light. Under the rays, the Hope Diamond gives off a red glow-in the-dark appearance, which scientists attribute to the presence of boron and nitrogen in the diamond. Gemologists still study the Hope Diamond today to get an inside look at the composition of diamonds and the processes on how they are formed in the environment.
The Pink Star
"The Pink Star" diamond ring recently outsold it's predecessor, "The Pink Graff" as the world's most expensive diamond ring at an auction in 2013. The radiant pink diamond weighs a total of 59.60 carats and is classified as a "Fancy Vivid Pink" by the Gemological Institute of America. Adding to the the Pink Star's value is the superior cut and clarity of the stone. The stone sold for a whopping $83.2 million at the Sotheby's auction last November.
The Pink Graff
"The Pink Graff"- also once owned by Harry Winston- once held the world record for most expensive diamond ring in the world, until it was outsold by "The Pink Star" in November 2013. The diamond alone weighs in at 24.78 carats as measured by the Gemological Institute of America. The Pink Graff is also classified as a Type IIA stone, meaning it has no scientifically measurable chemical impurities. The stone is also considered a "Fancy Intense Pink," a rare color label for a diamond.
The stone's rating, color, cut, clarity, and carat places it within the top two percentile of the world's diamonds. The brilliant pink diamond is set in a platinum band, flanked by two white shield shaped diamonds. The Pink Graff was last sold in November 2010 for $46 million.
The Diamond Bikini
Shortly after his infamous divorce from Swedish supermodel Elin Nordegren, Tiger Woods purchased "The Diamond Bikini" at an auction in 2010. The Diamond Bikini was fashioned by Susan Rosen, and features up to 150 carats in diamonds and is set in platinum. A special edition of "Sports Illustrated" featured model Molly Simms wearing the design.
Woods purchased the Diamond Bikini for $30 million.
The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond
"The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond" has it's own rich history; it is thought to have been purchased by King Philip IV of Spain for his daughter Margaret Teresa's dowry in 1664. The stone is deep blue-grey in color, and has also been part of the Austrian and Bavarian Crown Jewels.
The Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond is oval cut and weighs 31.06 carats. The stone is classified as "internally flawless," meaning the diamond is as chemically pure as it gets.
Although the stone's value is estimated at $80 million, the stone last sold for $24.3 million.
The Heart of the Ocean- Harry Winston
After the 1997 hit film, Titanic, Harry Winston designed his own interpretation of "The Heart of the Ocean." Although never directly referenced in the film, the "Heart of the Ocean" was actually inspired by "The Hope Diamond."
The Harry Winston "Heart of the Ocean" was worn by Gloria Stuart at the 1998 Academy Awards. Stuart played the older version of Rose in the film, "Titanic."
Celine Dion also wore a similar necklace inspired by the fictional "Heart of the Ocean" designed by Asprey and Garrard as she performed "My Heart Will Go On" at the 1998 Oscars.
The Harry Winston "Heart of the Ocean" features a genuine 15 carat blue diamond, and has an estimated value of $20 million.
Bulgari Two Stone Diamond Ring
The exquisite Bulgari Two Stone Diamond Ring is a large diamond ring featuring one blue diamond and one clear diamond. The ring was a Bulgari flagship design created in the 1970s.
The blue shield shaped diamond weighs in at 10.95 carats, and the white diamond weighs 9.87 carats.
The Bulgari Two Stone Diamond Ring was last purchased in 2010 for $15.7 million.
Emerald and Diamond Tiara
This emerald and diamond tiara was once a German Crown Jewel, which belonged to Princess Katherina at the turn of the 20th century.
The tiara was also thought to have been worn by the wife of Emperor Napoleon III of France. However, this claim has never been able to be substantiated. Regardless, this 500 carat emerald and diamond tiara sold for $12.76 million at a Sothebys auction in 2011.