This Week's Obsession: Jackie O

This Week's Obsession: Jackie O

This July 28th would be Jackie O's 92nd birthday.  When one thinks of Jackie O one can only think of quiet elegance and unequivocal style. 

Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis first married to President John F. Kennedy and widowed at 34 and then married Greek shipping tycoon, Aristotle Onassis, but was made a widow for a second time when he passed away in 1975.

Jackie O owned some astounding jewels. During her life, she was known for being a fashion icon who inspired women everywhere. One of the most iconic pieces of jewellery worn by her was the pearl necklace.

*She created a sensation by wearing simulated (man-made) pearls and other so-called "fashion jewellery". Some of her famous simulated pearl jewellery was sold for record prices, including one three-strand pearl necklace that was auctioned for over $44,000 at Bonhams in 2010. 

The first engagement ring worn by Ms Kennedy Onassis was a Van Cleef & Arpels 2.84-carat emerald and 2.88-carat diamond ring, with smaller diamond accent stones. The baguette-shaped accent stones were later replaced with round and marquise diamonds.

After the loss of their son Patrick, JFK bought Jackie a Christmas present of a gold kunzite ring from Van Cleef & Arpels. The oval kunzite gemstone was surrounded by twenty white diamonds. This was the last gift from JFK to Jackie. This ring auctioned for over $400,000 in the Sotheby's auction of Jackie's estate.

Jackie Kennedy's second engagement ring contained an incredible 40.42-carat, marquise-shaped diamond known as the Lesotho III. The diamond gets its name from the place of its discovery in South Africa. The original rough gem weighed 601 carats and was cut into 18 gems after being exhibited in the USA. The third largest gem was given to Jackie Kennedy by her second husband, Aristotle Onassis. In 1996, the ring was auctioned by Sotheby's and achieved almost $2.6 million.

Another of the most sumptuous pieces in the collection of Jackie O given to her by her second husband was a Van Cleef & Arpels ruby, emerald and sapphire cabochon necklace. The coloured gemstones are surrounded by diamonds and set into yellow gold. Its crowning glory is a large ruby cabochon pendant. The necklace achieved $288.5 Million at the Sotheby's auction of Jackie Kennedy Onassis's estate in 1996.

Not all of Jackie's jewels were gifts; she bought several pieces for herself, including a Van Cleef & Arpels brooch in the form of a yellow gold scarecrow, with a gold hat, green gemstone head and faceted sapphire, ruby and diamond decorations. This was also auctioned in 1996 for $101,500. The Van Cleef & Arpels items alone formed a large collection.

Although Jackie lived a somewhat tragic life, she left behind an astounding jewellery collection and a wonderful legacy not only of impeccable style, but also her good works in the preservation of American cultural heritage.

Top Ten Jackie O Jewels

Not only has Jackie Kennedy Onassis owned two of the most expensive engagement rings in history, but also an equally impressive collection of fine jewellery. In fact, the former first lady was well known in the jewellery world. Many of the pieces she accumulated through the years went on to sell for prices fit for royalty at her estate sale in April 1996:

A 47-carat Kunzite gemstone haloed by 20 round-cut diamonds, which was a gift from President Kennedy, sold for $431,250
Two Cabochon diamond and ruby ear clips, wedding gifts from Aristotle Onassis, sold for $360,000
A 17.68-carat ruby and diamond ring, sold for $288,500
A Cabochon ruby necklace, sold for $247,500
A pear-shaped diamond ring, sold for $156,500
A Cabochon garnet flower brooch, sold for $145,000
Two simulated pearl necklaces and a pair of diamond and pearl ear clips, sold for $112,500
A double-strand black stone necklace, worn by Jackie when JFK announced his presidential candidacy and when she was photographed with French President Charles de Gaulle, sold for $101,5000
A pair of simulated pearl necklaces and gilt metal ear clips, sold for $85,000
An amethyst necklace, sold for $55,000

Fascinating Facts about Jackie O

  • At just 3 years old, she was already able to control her pony.
  • The first time she visited the White House was as a tourist at age 12.
  • Jackie's essay won the Vogue contest that earned her a junior editor position but she quit on her first day.
  • Before dating John F. Kennedy, Jackie was once engaged to a Wall Street banker named John Husted at the age of 22.
  • Her iconic pink suit was actually a reproduction of a Chanel design.
  • Not only did she speak Spanish and French, she was also proficient in Italian and Polish.
  • Though she wasn't a professional actress, she did win an Emmy.
  • She held a job all the way up to her death.

Jackie O Inspired Jewels 

David Jerome Brazilian Morganite and Diamond Cocktail Ring

Nadine Aysoy
Elle ET Lui Green Tourmaline & Pearl Earrings