Iconic Jewellery Pieces in Art, Pop Culture, and Movies

Last week, I watched "All the Light We Cannot See" on Netflix, based on Anthony Doerr's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. The pilot revolves around a rare sapphire named the Sea of Flames, believed to grant eternal life to its owner. However, alongside eternal life, the stone also carries a curse affecting the fate of their loved ones. One group seeks to preserve it, while another aims to possess it. The diamond symbolizes human greed for power and the consequences that accompany it. Interestingly, its inspiration lies in the Delhi Purple Sapphire, currently resides in the British National History Museum.

After binge-watching the show, I pondered on the movie "Titanic" and the Heart of the Ocean, another central piece. Both in "Titanic" and "All the Light We Cannot See," protagonists discard the diamond into the ocean due to the chaos it causes. Similarly, in "Lord of the Rings," the ring symbolizes ultimate power and is ultimately destroyed by its possessor.

Jewellery has always been more than an accessory; it carries stories, symbols, and emotions. We name them, and they become our history, talismans, and heirlooms. That’s why today I wanted to reflect on this profound connection between history, art, and jewellery.

Join us on this journey as we unfold the stories behind iconic jewellery that has left an indelible mark on culture and history.

Let’s begin!

  1. Heart of the Ocean: Titanic's Tale of Love and Loss

Remember that scene in Titanic when Caledon Hockley shows the Heart of the Ocean to Rose, and she delicately touches the necklace? You can feel the magnificence and depth of this blue sapphire, much like the ocean itself. When Rose asks Jack to draw her like one of his French girls, she specifically requests to be drawn wearing the Heart of the Ocean only. And when you look at that charcoal drawing that Jack did you don’t see a nude sketch, you see a heart shaped diamond necklace with an enigmatic yet sad expression. The love, human greed, disaster, and nature are all entwined in the ocean and the blue sapphire necklace - Heart of the Ocean.

In the end, Rose finishes her story and says, “A woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets,” letting the necklace slip into the depths of the ocean. This beautifully encapsulates the cyclical nature of stories held within a precious blue sapphire.

  1. Princess Diana's Engagement Ring: A Story of Royal Love and Pain

Princess Diana’s engagement ring is one of the most famous in history. Crafted by Garrard, the ring features a halo of diamonds set in 18-carat white gold, with an intense blue 12-carat oval Ceylon sapphire from Sri Lanka, known for its bright blue hues. As seen in the iconic Netflix show "The Crown," Diana chose the sapphire ring because it matched the color of her eyes and reminded her of her mother’s ring. And in fact, the ring was inspired by Princess Victoria’s sapphire brooch.

When Diana and Prince Charles divorced, she got her own blue ring - a magnificent aquamarine ring. Now, Kate Middleton wears Diana’s engagement ring, and Meghan Markle wears her aquamarine ring. Two beautiful heirlooms from a remarkable person.

What made Diana’s engagement ring special was not just the ring itself, but Diana herself and what she symbolized. She aspired to be the Queen of People’s Hearts, she was affectionate, loving, caring, brave and honest. When we look at Diana’s engagement ring, we remember a smiling, beautiful soul and all the emotions she evoked in us.

  1. Audrey Hepburn's Pearl and Yellow Diamond Necklace: Breakfast at Tiffany's Elegance

Audrey Hepburn's portrayal of Holly in "Breakfast at Tiffany’s" was a casting masterpiece. She perfectly embodied this unique, playful, young socialite of 1940s New York. At first, the sentences she speaks come out in a stream-of-consciousness level of confusion but then you discover a deep internal logic. And, then you fall in love with this beautifully chaotic persona. She was naive but brave; pure but playful. So wearing a bold, playful necklace of pearls with a tiny tiara was the ideal choice to dress her. As pure as pearls, and as bold as a four-layered baroque pearl necklace, this unusual yet elegant outfit became one of the most iconic images.

However, the yellow diamond necklace that Audrey Hepburn wore for the publicity of the Breakfast at Tiffany’s is as iconic as her pearl necklace. This iconic Tiffany yellow diamond was later  worn by Lady Gaga at the 91st Academy Awards in 2019, and by Beyoncé in a Tiffany campaign in 2021.

  1. Carrie's Name Necklace: Sex and the City's Fashion Statement

In the world of fashion and self-expression, it is impossible not to mention Carrie Bradshaw. Carrie was never into statement diamonds or precious stones, she rather spend her money on Manolo Blahnik shoes. In fact, she was almost becoming a homeless person because she realised that instead of saving money for her down-payment she spent all her money in shoes.

Yet, Carrie’s golden name necklace from Sex and the City stands as a testament to the power of personalized jewellery. Whether strutting down Manhattan or navigating the complexities of love and relationships, the necklace became an extension of her identity, reminding us that jewellery can reflect our own stories. Also known as a nameplate necklace, it became so iconic that almost every girl within the millennial generation had one in the early 2000s.

  1. The One Ring: Lord of the Rings' Precious Artifact

In the realm of fantasy, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings introduces us to the One Ring, a powerful and iconic artifact that drives the epic narrative. The ring is a thick plain gold band, symbolizing the corruption of wealth and power. When held closely, an engraving appears on this plain gold ring, stating "One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them."

An engraving adds a unique storytelling element and sentimental value to the jewellery and its owner. Discover engraving and personalisation options.

  1. Girl with a Pearl Earring: A Vermeer Masterpiece

Not all iconic jewellery exists in the physical realm. Johannes Vermeer's painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring, is one of the most famous paintings in the world.

It represents an unknown young woman in a dark shallow space in an intimate setting that draws the viewer’s attention exclusively on her. She’s not wearing anything fancy, and it is assumed that she was either a maid or a real-life model for Vermeer. However, just like Holly in "Breakfast at Tiffany’s," she’s making a statement with her marvellous pearls despite not coming from royalty.

Her enigmatic expression coupled with the mystery of her identity and prominent pearl earrings made her iconic, reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci’s "Mona Lisa."

Unveiling Assuwa: Crafting History and Nature into Wearable Art

Jewellery can be more than adornment; it can be a celebration of history, love, yourself, and the enduring power of storytelling, even in the most fantastical of worlds.

As we explore these iconic moments in the world of jewellery, we invite you to create your own jewellery, your own story. You desire it, we will design it, create it, and name it for you.

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