Archaeologists have shown that humans have been creating and wearing jewelry for thousands of years. From simple shell necklaces to bejewelled crowns and bracelets, people have a long history of covering themselves with expensive and expressive art and decorations. When it comes to expensive jewelry, most of us envision royalty or celebrities covered in an array of silver, gold and gemstones. Most of the jewelry market is directed at women because, let’s face it, the majority of guys outside of movie and sports stars, can’t pull off more than cufflinks, a watch and a wedding band.
Nevertheless, jewelry holds different meanings for different people. It can be a symbol of love, like an engagement ring. It can be a symbol of status, like a Cartier diamond necklace. It can also be art, something which is impractical to wear and better used on display to show the craftsmanship and design quality. By combining these different meanings and high demand with the rarity of certain materials used in creating jewelry it is easy to understand why prices can get so high.
The following looks at 20 of the most expensive pieces of jewelry ever made. There’s a little of everything here from necklaces and brooches to tiaras and watches. Of course, the list is dominated by rings from the most elite jewelry houses and designers around the world. As you’d expect, diamonds are the gemstone of choice but there is even a twist as color plays a huge role in the value of the diamonds in question. You’ll see that there isn’t a piece of jewelry here that you could find at your local store. No, most of us will just have to stick to our ‘regular’ gold and diamonds while the super-rich and wealthy collectors hunt down the rarest multi-million dollar creations which pop up from time to time on the auction market.