Coco Chanel (Part Two)

Last year in honor of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (born: August 19, 1883 died: January 10, 1971) I posted an article that discussed her personal and professional life.  Chanel was a French fashion designer that has effected what women have been wearing for a century.  Chanel started designing fashionable hats this lead to her starting her own fashion line which proved to be an enormous success.  Her understated and elegant designs set many of the fashion trends that women are still wearing today.  Chanel eventually expanded her fashion line to include accessories, such as jewelry, handbags and fragrance Chanel No. 5 which still remains one of the bestselling perfumes of all times.  In Part Two, I will discuss some of Chanel’s iconic contributions to the world of fashion.

The Chanel Suit

In 1921 Coco Chanel designed a women’s suit that would become a classic fashion item, it was the first suit made specifically for women.  The Chanel Suit was a collarless, buttoned wool jacket and a straight A-line skirt; the suit would sometimes be decorated with braid trim or metallic buttons.  The Chanel Suit was usually made in tweed material cut on the straight grain and the jacket was lined with jersey or silk crepe.  The jacket was designed without shoulder pads and there were no darts at the bust line, the neckline lacked a collar for comfort and useful pockets.  As most clothes that Chanel designed it came from her personal need to have something comfortable but yet fashionable with a sophisticated look.  As the Chanel Suit emerged as a fashion choice, the timing was after World War I and women were starting to enter into business.

Chanel suit sketch  Chanel suit 1

The Little Black Dress

The first Chanel designed little black dress appeared in the 1926 Vogue magazine in the United States, it was predicted the dress would “become a uniform for all women of taste”.  The simply-cut dress was initially available in silk crêpe de chine and had a straight neckline, long sleeves and calf-length skirt.   The “neutral” color of the dress was intended to be both versatile, affordable and meant to transcend several seasons, perhaps years and could be accessorized for daytime and evening.  Chanel later made the dress in wool or chenille for the day and silk, satin or velvet for the evening.   

Chanel Little Black Dress 1926   Chanel Little Black Dress 1926 Vogue

The Chanel Bag

The Chanel Bag was designed in 1929 and the original version was made in leather.  The bag’s exterior featured a hand-stitched quilted design and the interior was lined in a burgundy color (which was said to be used by Chanel and was reminiscent of the color of the uniforms at the Aubazine Abbey, the convent and orphanage in central France were she lived for six years).  The back of the bag has an outside compartment for storing money and on the inside of the front flap there is a zippered compartment, Chanel was known to keep her personal love letters there in her own purse.  At the front of the original bag there was a front lock, which was known as the “Mademoiselle Lock” referring to Chanel’s unmarried status.  Chanel also designed the original bag with double chain shoulder straps to allow women the freedom of not holding onto their bag which would free their hands for other activities.  The chains featured leather straps laced through them; this was a feature reminiscent of the chains that the nuns would have used at the Aubazine orphanage from Chanel’s childhood.   

Throughout the years the basic Chanel Bag has been updated and restyled.  The “2.55” bag was designed in February 1955, hence the name of this version.  The bag was made in a variety of leather and fabric color combinations and featured the Mademoiselle Lock or a special order lock shaped in the classic double CC Chanel logo.

Chanel purse

The Pearl Necklace

The history of pearls dates back several centuries to the time of the ancient Greeks when women wore them in their hair for weddings to symbolize purity and to ensure marital happiness.  During the Renaissance women would intertwine pearls into their hair also embellished their clothing with pearls. Noble women (such as Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, Queen Alexandria and Queen Mary of Britain) and women of the upper class often wore several layers of necklaces made of natural pearls.  In 1893, Kokichi Mickimoto perfected the process for creating beautiful and lustrous cultured pearls and a new jewelry industry was born which made pearl necklaces available for the women of the middle class.  

In the early 1920s, Coco Chanel set the fashion trend of wearing cultured pearls during the daytime; she would also combine the pearls with other pieces of fine jewelry and by doing this she made it acceptable for women to mix inexpensive and expensive jewelry to be worn at the same time.

Chanel pearls 1

Chanel No. 5 perfume

Throughout the years, Chanel was constantly looking for ways to expand her business.  In 1922 she was introduced to Pierre Wertheimer, the director of the Bourgeois Perfume and Cosmetics Company, and she worked with Ernest Beaux, a Russian-French perfumer, to create the chemical formula for a special fragrance.  Women of the upper class would wear traditional perfumes made from the pure essence of a single flower while ladies of the lower class wore more sensual perfumes made from animal musk.  Chanel No. 5, which was originally only sold exclusively in the Chanel stores, was a combination of the two different scents perfectly blended for the new modern women of the 1920s. 

After entering into the agreement with Wertheimer and Bader, a separate company was created called Parfums Chanel.  The arrangement was that Wertheimer would receive seventy percent, Bader would receive twenty percent and Chanel would have the remaining ten percent but she would have no involvement in the actual running of the business.  Years later, Chanel realized her error in being “tricked” into such a low percent of the company when the profits of the sale of the perfume reached nine million dollars annually.  She was also concerned that the original formula for Chanel No. 5 had been altered and was being produced inexpensively with inferior ingredients to meet the high consumer demands.  It would take twenty years of legal battles to finally reach a settlement and a new arrangement was agreed upon paying Chanel retroactive outstanding profits not paid to her and also increasing her percentage of the future profits, her earnings from Chanel No. 5 sales would be almost twenty-five million dollars annually.

There are several reasons for the selection of the name of Chanel No. 5, Chanel considered the number five to be her special number.  Chanel associated the number five with her childhood at the Aubazine convent and orphanage for several reasons, such as the five-petal roses which grew naturally on the hillsides surrounding the Abbey or the circular pattern repeated five times during daily prayers at the Abbey’s church.  Another reason could be traced back the fact that the scent that Chanel choose was the fifth sample.  (Chanel always showed her annual fashion collection on May fifth, the fifth month and fifth day of the year)

Chanel No. 5

Chanel was involved in all aspects of the selection and design process of the Chanel No. 5 perfume.  In regards to the perfume bottle’s design, she thought the Lalique and Baccarat crystal bottles used for the other women fragrances were too elaborate.  She wanted a simple bottle and it was thought that it inspired by the Charvet rectangular bottles in the traveling case used by her companion, Arthur “Boy” Capel or possibly the squared shape of his whiskey decanters.  

The History of Lockets

A locket by definition is “a small ornamental case for a photograph or other keepsake which is usually worn as a pendant” on a simple chain but lockets an also be made in the form of a ring or brooch.  A traditional locket can be in the shape of an oval, a circle or a heart and can be available in gold, silver or other precious metals.  Lockets make a wonderful gift for special occasions, such as christenings or weddings, and holidays such as Valentine’s Day.  In this post, I will discuss the history of lockets and the various types that have been available throughout the years.  To conclude the post I will discuss a few special historical lockets.

The History of Lockets

Modern day lockets evolved centuries earlier from amulets (an ornament or small piece of jewelry) which were thought to give protection against evil, danger, or disease.  In the Middle Ages or the Renaissance, early lockets were worn by either women or men and could be a pendant, a ring, a brooch or as a watch fob.  People would frequently display miniature portraits of loved ones or sometimes small pictures of the King or Queen to show their loyalty to the crown.  Sometimes the lockets were made with small openings in which small perfumed fabric squares were placed to camouflage the stench for the unpleasant sanitary conditions.

Mourning jewelry became popular in the 17th century with the execution of Charles I in 1649, supporters of the former King secretly wore miniature portraits of him set in lockets and rings.  Later in the 18th century, mourners wore intricately decorated lockets in which locks of a “dearly departed” family member were arranged in a special way. Mourning jewelry increased in popularity in the Victorian era after the Queen’s husband, Prince Albert, death.  As the Queen went into a long period of intense mourning she wore a special locket dedicated to the memory of her beloved husband which set a fashion trend.  An entire jewelry industry was soon started that specifically produced affordable items for the upper and middle classes.

Today, lockets are available in a variety of shapes and sizes; the most popular is the sentimental heart shape.  Lockets make great gifts for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, christening or other religious ceremonies and also for holidays like Valentine’s Day and Christmas.  Traditional styles are available in a variety of precious metals such as gold or silver and can be embellished with gemstones such as diamonds or pearls.  Most recently the more modern “floating charm” lockets have become very popular and are available with several different choices of charms and other inserts such as engraved discs with special messages.         

Different Types of Lockets

Described below are the various types of lockets that are available, some new ones can be purchased at a fine jewelry or department store while the vintage or older ones can be purchased at antiques stores or online at sites such as eBay.  Special Note: When shopping for a vintage locket here are some tips – the locket should be in good condition, check the hinges and interior, avoid lockets that are damage or heavily scratched.   

  • Keepsake Lockets – This type of locket can make a wonderful gift to commemorate a special occasion such as a birth, a first communion or wedding.  Usually keepsake lockets have a space in which to place a small photo behind a plastic cover or a glass enclosure to place a lock of hair or other small memorabilia.  This style of locket is perhaps the most popular one.       

Heart locket

Etched Victorian locket    Book locket

  • Vintage Perfume Lockets – As previously mentioned, centuries ago lockets were sometimes made with small filigree style openings in which perfumed fabric squares were placed inside to camouflage the stench due to unpleasant odors from limited personal hygiene and rather disagreeable smells from sanitary conditions in the streets.  Today, perfume lockets can be made as a DIY craft project and if you are interested in creating your own I would recommended a search on the internet for the supplies required and instructions to create your own.

Perfume locket

  • Vintage Daguerreotype Picture Locket – This variation of a keepsake locket featured a Daguerreotype photograph.  The process was first introduced in 1839 and in the following decades it became less expensive to produce so that small daguerreotypes could be used in watch cases, fobs brooches and lockets.  The soft metal daguerreotypes could be reduced in size and then set and sealed behind glass.  These types of lockets were very popular in North America at the onset and during the duration of the Civil War.

Victorian locket 2    Victorian locket 1

  • Mourning or memorial lockets – Mourning lockets have been around for some time and in England, during the Victorian Era, they were especially popular.  This might be possibly due to the fact that Queen Victoria was in deep mourning after the death of her husband and she wore a locket which contained a small daguerreotype of Prince Albert and a lock of his hair, this set a fashion trend.

Mourning locket 1  Mourning locket 2

  • “Floating Charm” Lockets –  In the last few years, the floating charm lockets have become very popular and the selection of lockets, floating charms and engraved discs are numerous (as shown in the photo below)

Floating Charm locket

Historical Lockets from the Past

Below are listed some examples of historical lockets from centuries ago:

  • In the late 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I commissioned a special locket ring which contained a portrait of herself and one of her mother Anne Boleyn (who was the 2nd wife of King Henry VIII that died in May 19, 1536).  The ring was possibly made in 1575 and it features a mother of pearl band with diamonds and rubies set in gold.  The ring has an “E” set with six diamonds placed over a blue enamel “R” and a hinge opens to reveal the portraits inside.  Elizabeth wore the ring until her death in 1603 when it was removed; it eventually found its way to the Home family that acquired some of the possessions of King James I.  The ring is now the property of the Trustees of Chequers and that is currently on display there, Chequers is the official residence of the Prime Minister and is located in Buckinghamshire, England.  (Special Note: During the Elizabethan era, artists were commissioned to paint miniature portraits and many were placed in elaborately designed lockets which were very expensive pieces owned the nobility or the very wealthy of the upper class who could afford to pay the artists)

Queen Elizabeth I locket ring

  • The “Penicuik Locket” once belonged to Mary Queen of Scots is an enameled gold locket which features miniature portraits of Mary and her son James.  The companion necklace has 14 large oval filigree beads with several small circular beads that originally contained perfume.  The piece received its name because after Mary’s execution in 1587 the locket fell into the possession a former servant named Giles Mowbray, it then passed to his granddaughter who married into the Clerk family of Penicuik (hence the name) and is currently on display at the National Museum of Scotland located in Edinburgh

Mary Queen of Scots locket opened

  • The next locket holds a historical piece of wartime memorabilia and it contains the bullet that killed Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalagar in 1805.  The locket is currently part of the Royal Collection Trust.  The bullet was fired from a French naval ship the “Redoubtable” and hit Lord Nelson’s in the left shoulder passing through his spine and vertebrae and lodging just below in his right shoulder.  Lord Nelson was carried below deck and the bullet was removed by a surgeon named William Beatty on board the HMS Victory but the wound caused fatal damage to Lord Nelson’s lungs and spine and he died three hours later. Lord Nelson’s posthumous victory over the French and Spanish fleets made him a national hero and afterwards the bullet, with a piece of Lord Nelson’s naval uniform still attached, was set in a crystal case locket which Surgeon Beatty gave to Queen Victoria in 1842.

Lord Nelson bullet locket 1

  • Shown below is a small memorial locket which is said to have belonged to Queen Victoria.  The gold locket features an oval onyx and a diamond “star” set in the middle with an blue enamel inscription around the boarder that reads “Die reine Seele schwingt sich auf zu Gott” in German, the English translation is “The pure soul flies up above to the Lord”.  Inside the locket on the left is a lock of hair and on the right is a small photo of Prince Albert who was Queen Victoria’s husband.  When he died in 1861 at Windsor Castle, the Queen went into a deep period of mourning and she ordered that the Blue Room in which the Prince died would be left perpetually as it was on the day that he died, the “Albert Locket” was place in the room, and this promise was kept until her own death in 1901.

Queen Victoria locket closed    Queen Victoria locket opened

Decor – Nautical-themed Decorations

This month I wrote a Travel Post about the Royal Yacht Britannia.  The Britannia, which launched in 1953, has served the Queen as an official Royal residence for state visits and official receptions when traveling aboard.  The Britannia was also used for Royal family holidays and the honeymoons of several Royal couples throughout the years.  The Britannia was decommissioned in 1997 and is now a tourist attraction in Edinburg, Scotland.  Please click on the link for more detailed information about the history of the Royal Yacht Britannia.

So, inspired by the Britannia I decided to create two Nautical-themed Decorations which were easy craft projects, using just a few inexpensive and relatively easy to purchase items that could be made in just a short time.  The Nautical-themed Decorations would look wonderful in a beach or coastal home but could be used in any style of home.      

The first Nautical-themed Decoration used a wooden hook in the shape of an anchor, a black framed shadowbox and red, white and blue stripped scrapbook paper.  To start the craft project, I disassembled the shadowbox and set aside the backing and glass.  Using the backing as a guide to size, I cut the scrapbook paper to fit the interior of the shadowbox and then glued it to a piece of cardboard cut to the same dimensions.  This provided a hard, sturdy surface to hold the weight of the anchor hook.  I centered the anchor into place and then glued it to the scrapbook paper/cardboard.  Next, I replaced the glass and backing of the shadowbox and that completed the craft project.  (Décor Note: I choose to detach the metal hook from the wooden anchor but it could remain as a serviceable item for hanging)   

Anchor Hook  Framed Anchor

The second Nautical-themed Decoration took a little bit of research but was made in under an hour using a few inexpensive items.  The supplies included a simple wooden frame with a white mat, a burlap covered backing, several colors of scrapbook paper, cardboard letters painted black and small amount of jute rope.  To start the craft project, I used my home computer to find the nautical flag alphabet and with this information I used scrapbook paper to create the flags that would spell out our last name.  After making the small flags I attached these to a small length of jute rope which I strung from one side of the frame to the other.  With the painted black cardboard letter I spelled out “welcome” and glued these directly to the burlap backing.  (Décor Note: For this project I choose not to use the glass from the frame because of the thickness of the rope and paper flags.  By eliminating the glass it also omitted any glare to distract from the display)

Nautical flag final

Nautical flag alphabet

With these custom-made Nautical-themed Decorations I was able to create the perfect items for our home.           

Travel – The Royal Yacht Britannia

Britannia Royal Yacht - panorama

The Royal Yacht Britannia was used by Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family for over 44 years.  Once deemed an official Royal residence it has been used for state visits and official receptions, in addition it has been used for Royal family holidays and for the honeymoons of several Royal couples.  In this post I will discuss the history of Britannia from the time of the ship’s launch in 1953 to decommission in 1997.  The Britannia is now a tourist attraction in Edinburgh, Scotland and in this post I will give a brief tour of the ship.

The history of the Royal Yacht Britannia

The Britannia marked the end of the long tradition of British Royal Yachts used by the monarch dating back to King Charles II in 1660, to date there have been 83 Royal Yachts.   The most recent history of the Royal Yacht, prior to Britannia, goes back to the reign of Queen Victoria when the Victoria & Albert III (the first royal ship not powered by sail) launched in 1899, sadly the ship was completed in 1901 seven month after the Queen’s death.  The ship served four monarchs: King Edward VII, King George V briefly King Edward VIII and King George VI until it was decommissioned in 1939, the ship continue in service during World War II and was finally scraped in 1954.

By the 1950s, the Victoria & Albert III had become outdated and King George VI had made the request to Parliament for a more modern ship that could be used for Royal Tours, it would also serve as a type of floating royal residence.  The order was sent to the John Brown & Co. shipyard in Clydebank, Scotland but only the ship’s keel had been laid when the King died and his daughter became Queen Elizabeth II.

Work continued and when the hull was completed it was launched on April 16, 1953 and the young Queen christened the new ship Britannia.  Afterwards, the funnel and masts were installed and her sea trials were started in November 1953 and upon their completion the ship was commissioned into the Royal Navy in January 1954, it was the only ship in the world whose Captain was traditionally an Admiral.  Meanwhile the work on the interior continued and it would be the only new royal residence that the Queen would have final approval on the design and selection of furnishings aided by the British architect and interior designer.

Britannia Royal Yacht - boat launch 1  Britannia Royal Yacht - boat launch 16 April 1953

Throughout the 44 years that Britannia was in service it has been used for many State Tours visiting 600 ports in 135 countries logging over one million nautical miles (shown below is a photo of the Britannia in Sydney Harbor, Australia).  Since it was also a royal residence, the Queen has entertained numerous world leaders, such as Winston Churchill, Rajiv Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Ronald Reagan.

The Britannia has also been used by the Queen and the Royal Family during private times.  In the past the ship has sailed on the Queen’s annual Scotland tour of the Western Isles accompanied by members of the Royal Family with a stop over to visit the Queen Mother at Castle Mey.  (Shown below are two photos of the Queen and the Royal Family, the left shows a rare photo of the Queen wearing pants was taken in 1985 and on the right in 1997)

Britannia Royal Yacht - Royal family  Britannia - Royal Family during the last Western Isles Tour in 1997

The ship has also been used for the honeymoons by four Royal Couples; Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong Jones in 1960, Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips in 1973, Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 (as shown in the photo below) and Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson in 1986.

Britannia Royal Yacht - Charles and Diana honeymoon 1

On June 23, 1994 Prime Minister John Major’s announced the decommissioning of the HMY Britannia due to the increasing cost of repairs, there would be no future replacement planned.  Finally, on October 20, 1997 the Britannia embarked on one last voyage around England, as the ship sailed passed the John Brown’s Shipyard it gave a blast as a tribute to the place where she was built.  Britannia was formally decommissioned in a ceremony on December 11 1997 which was attended by the Queen and members of the Royal Family.  Perhaps remembering the important part that the Britannia played in both her public and most importantly her private life, the Queen did something very unusual and she was seen shedding a tear during the ceremony as the “Highland Cathedral” was played by the HM Royal Marine Band.

Britannia Royal Yacht - decommision ceremony - the Queen shedding a tear

A brief tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia

Today the Royal Yacht Britannia is currently berthed in Edinburgh, Scotland and visitors can tour the ship.  For more visitor information regarding hours of operation and admission prices, please click on the link to the Britannia website at

The Britannia Visitor Center is located in the Ocean Terminal, about two miles from Edinburgh.  Visitors will able to learn about the history of the Royal Yacht through several interesting displays, be sure to look for the 11 foot replica model of the Britannia made entirely of Legos!  At the Center, visitors will pick up complimentary audio handsets to use for self-guided tours of the ship’s five decks.   Special Note: All the clocks on Britannia were stopped at 15:01, the time the Queen was “piped ashore” for the last time in 1997.

Britannia Royal Yacht - bell

Listed below are several highlights of a tour of the Britannia’s staterooms, crew’s quarters and the engine room:

  • The State Drawing Room – The State Drawing Room is the main reception area of the Britannia and was often used by the Royal Family as well as entertaining dignitaries on State Tours.  Please not the baby grand piano that was used by Princess Margaret, Princess Diana and even famous Noel Coward.

Britannia Royal Yacht - living room

  • The State Dining Room – Since the Britannia used on State Tours, the State Dining Room was used for formal lunches and dinners with such famous guests as Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.  Please note the numerous displays of gifts given to the Queen, most of the items were received on the Queen’s first Commonwealth tour which lasted almost six months.

Britannia Royal Yacht - dining room

  • The Royal Bedrooms – The Britannia was considered a formal Royal residence and there are several bedrooms on board, such as Her Majesty’s bedroom and Prince Phillip’s bedroom, as shown in the photos below.  Also on board, is the Honeymoon Suite which is the only room furnished with a double bed and was used by four Royal couples.

Britannia Royal Yacht - Queen bedroom  Britannia Royal Yacht - Duke bedroom

  • The Queen’s Sitting Room – Even though the Britannia was used by the Queen and the Royal Family at private times, the Queen’s work never stopped and every day she would work on the State papers from the “Red Boxes” in the her private Sitting Room.  The room was also used to meet with her Private Secretaries.

Britannia Royal Yacht - Queen and red box 1991

  • The Bridge and the Wheelhouse – The Bridge of the Britannia was where the Captain and crew would run the ship; traditionally the position of Captain was held by a Rear Admiral of the Royal Navy although the first two were Vice Admirals and the last was a Commodore.  Visitors to the Bridge are able to tour the bridge and see all the navigational equipment, but Britannia’s steering wheel in located one deck below in the Wheelhouse.

Britannia Royal Yacht - bridge

  • The Laundry – The Britannia had a crew of over 240 Officers and Yachtsmen that changed their uniforms several times a day, an outfit for daytime work and formal uniforms for dinners or more formal occasions.  Visitors will be able to view the washing machines, dryers and presses for getting those sharp creases on the pants and shirts!

Britannia Royal Yacht - laundry

  • The Galleys – There are actually several Galleys (kitchens) on the Britannia, there are two galleys that prepare the food for the ships officers and crew, also there is the Royal Galley where the chefs from Buckingham Palace were brought on board to prepare her meals.  The Royal Galley is located adjacent to the State Dining Room; today the area is used as the Royal Deck Tea Room where visitors can have tea or lunch.

Britannia Royal Yacht - kitchen

  • The Engine Room – The Engine Room of Britannia is found far below deck and the engines generate 12,000 horsepower with a maximum speed of 22.5 knots, the Queen was known to bring her quests down to see the Engine Room after dinner.  The seemingly antiquated room of numerous chrome dials and two sets of steam turbines were fully functional and normally took eight men to operate the Engine Room and Boiler Room.

Britannia Royal Yacht - engine room

Jackie Kennedy Personal Jewelry Collection

In honor of the birthday of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis (born: July 28, 1929 died:  May 19, 1994) this post will discuss several items from her personal jewelry collection that she received from her husband, President John F. Kennedy.  Jackie gained the world’s attention as First Lady and she famously oversaw the renovation and restoration of the White House but she was also known as a fashion icon with women in the 1960s emulating everything from the clothing she wore to the way she styled her hair.

1.  Jackie Kennedy Engagement Ring

Jackie and JFK met at a mutual friend’s dinner party in May 1952.  JFK was a U.S. Representative from Massachusetts at the time and he would eventually become a U.S. Senator and then President of the United States.  Shortly after meeting, Jackie left to cover the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in London and stayed in Europe for a few more months.  Soon after returning, JFK proposed with a diamond and emerald engagement ring and the couple announced their engagement on June 25, 1953.  (For more information on the September 12, 1953 wedding of Jackie and JFK, please click on the link)

Jackie’s engagement ring was a lovely 2.88 emerald and baguette diamond ring, in 1962 she had the ring redesigned to include not only the emerald and diamonds but it was also set with an additional 2.88 square-cut diamond and marquise diamonds, as shown in the photo below.


Special Note: Jackie’s engagement ring was donated after her death to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum along with several other Kennedy memorabilia.  (If you are interested in more information about the JFK Presidential Library in Boston, please click on the link)

2.  Jackie Kennedy Wedding Bracelet

The night before their wedding, JFK presented Jackie with a lovely diamond bracelet which she wore as her “something new”.  The bracelet features 25 diamonds and 18 pearls with two borders on either side of thin and rather whimsical nautical ropes.  Jackie wore the bracelet on her wedding day along with a pearl choker necklace and a diamond leaf brooch that she received as a gift from Joseph and Rose Kennedy, her new in-laws.  Special Note: Jackie’s wedding bracelet was donated after her death to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. 

Diamond and pearl bracelet  - wedding gift from JFK  Diamond and pearl bracelet  - Jackie 

3.  First Anniversary Pearl and Diamond Earrings

For their first year wedding anniversary in 1954, JFK gave Jackie a set of pearl and diamond earrings.  The earrings are interchangeable and can be worn in a variety of different ways.  The diamond pave-set leaves can be worn alone or with either the white pearl drop or black pearl drop sets which both have diamond pave-set flower petal caps.

Pearl and Diamond Earrings - Jackie 1  Pearl and Diamond Earrings - Carolyn

The photo on the left shows Jackie wearing the earrings and the photo on the right shows Caroline wearing her mother’s earrings as her “something borrowed” on her wedding day in 1986.

4.  Schlumberger Berry Brooch

JFK had a custom of marking special occasions with extravagant gifts and shortly after the birth of their son John Kennedy, Jr. in 1960 JFK gave Jackie a lovely Schlumberger Berry Brooch.  What makes the gift more thoughtful was the fact that he purchased the brooch from the Tiffany store in New York while he was in the midst of organizing his presidential administration in the busy months before his inauguration.  The brooch was given to Jackie in January 1961 just a few days before JFK was sworn in as President of the United States.  The brooch was meant to represent the couple’s two children and Jackie absolutely loved it!

The Schlumberger Berry Brooch is set in gold and features rubies and diamonds.  At the time it was one of the few jewelry pieces that Schlumberger made for Tiffany, the exclusive jewelry store located on Fifth Avenue.  After Jackie’s death, Caroline inherited the brooch and it is currently on loan to the JFK Presidential Library and Museum in Boston where it can be seen proudly displayed with other Kennedy memorabilia.           

Berry Pin -A Mother's Day Gift from JFK for the Birth of JFK Jr.  Berry Pin - Jackie Kennedy 

5.  Vintage Sunburst Diamond Brooch

While in London in 1962, Jackie found a spectacular sunburst pin in an antique store and she knew she had to have it!  The problem was the brooch had a $50,000 price tag, so to purchase the expensive sunburst brooch Jackie quietly sold the diamond leaf brooches that were a wedding present from Joe and Rose Kennedy; she had copies made so as not to offend her in-laws.

The antique starburst diamond brooch was originally made in the nineteenth century and is set in silver and gold, it was purchased from the British Crown jeweler Wartski.  Jackie wore it often attached to one of her magnificent Oleg Cassini gowns for various White House functions but once she wore it in a very unusual way by having her longtime hair stylist, Kenneth, attach the brooch into an elegant chignon hairstyle which he attached to the top of her head as shown in the photo below.        

Sunburst Brooch
Sunburst Brooch - Jackie Kennedy  Sunburst Brooch - Carolyn

6.  Schlumberger Croisillons Bracelets

JFK purchased one of Jackie’s first Schlumberger croisillons bracelets in 1962 from Tiffany in New York City.  Jackie loved the bracelet and would frequently wear it with her casual daytime outfits; she eventually bought others to add to her collection in a variety of different colors.  In the early 1960s, Jean Schlumberger began making the croisillon bracelets using a paillonné enamel technique first used in the 19th century.  A classic Schlumberger bracelet uses a process of layering enamel over a gold bracelet and, like many women trying to emulate the style of the First Lady, the bracelets worn by Jackie made them very popular and created a new trend. 

Schlumberger Croisillons Bracelet  Schlumberger Croisillons Bracelet - Jackie

7.  Cartier Tank Watch

In 1963 JFK gave Jackie a classic Cartier tank watch and on the back he had engraved, “To Jackie, Love Jack”.  Jackie frequently wore the watch during casual activities such as horseback riding at Glen Ora, the 400 acre property they were leasing in Virginia, or sailing at Hyannis Port with other members of the Kennedy family or simply spending the day shopping in New York City. 

Cartier Tank Watch8.  Van Cleef & Arpels Emerald Ring 

For their tenth year wedding anniversary in 1963, JFK gave Jackie a special emerald ring.  JFK commissioned Van Dleef & Arpels in New York and was designed as an “eternity ring” with ten emeralds representing each year of their marriage; she wore the ring next to her wedding band.  Several years after the death of JFK Jackie had two of the emeralds removed to make two solitaire rings for her children.  One was made for Caroline and the other for John Jr. who gave it to his bride, Carolyn Bessette, on the night before their wedding.  After the death of her brother, the ring was given back and now Caroline Schlossberg owns all three rings.

Emerald anniversary ring

9.  Kunzite Ring

Sadly one of the most significant gifts given to Jackie from JFK was given to her after his death.  In August 1963, the couple had lost their newborn son, Patrick and seemed to be an experience that brought JFK and Jackie closer together in their shared grief and they were very optimistic for their future.  A few months later, JFK was in New York City and he went to Van Cleef & Arpels to order a special ring which featured a large 47 carat kunzite surrounded by 20 diamonds which he intended to give to Jackie for Christmas that year.  Sadly, before that could happen, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

In the days after the President’s death, the ring was delivered to the White House and Mrs. Lincoln, JFK’s personal secretary, gave the ring to Jackie.  The ring, a final posthumous present for her beloved husband, came to hold special sentimental meaning for Jackie.    

Kunzite and diamond ring10.  Multi-strand Faux-Pearl Necklace

Jackie Kennedy’s multi-strand faux-pearl necklaces became one of her most frequently worn jewelry item.  She owned several necklaces in a variety of different lengths ranging from the single-strand pearl choker necklace she wore on her wedding day in 1953 to her most often worn triple-strand pearl necklace 17 inches in length, she also had one 19 inches in length.  Shown below are two charming photos of Jackie’s children tugging at her pearl necklace, Caroline on the left and John Jr. on the right.  

Pearl necklace 1  Pearl necklace 2