Although their Principality may be famous for its Grand Prix, generous income tax laws and being the second smallest state in the world, the Princes of Monaco do not have a conventional collection of royal jewels unlike their dynastic counterparts throughout Europe.
Therefore, when she married Prince Rainier in 1956, the American actress Grace Kelly had to start her own jewellery collection from scratch. Prince Rainier’s mother, Princess Charlotte, did own several impressive pieces (such as her Cartier Pearl and Diamond Fringe Tiaras) but these were personal property and she was apparently unwilling to share with her new daughter in law.
Fortunately for Grace, she had received several impressive jewelled wedding presents to kick start the collection, including a beautiful Pearl and Diamond Parure from the French Jeweller, Van Cleef & Arpels,
two engagement rings and a Diamond and Ruby tiara from Cartier
In order to make up for causing a minor scandal, the National Council of Monaco purchased their new princess a 58 Carat Diamond Cartier Necklace and an intricate diamond bracelet from Van Cleef and Arpels.
Set in platinum, this beautiful bracelet contains Round Brilliant and Baguette Cut Diamonds set in an interlaced pattern with three large diamond elements interspersed throughout.
Keen to live up to the fairy-tale image, Princess Grace would wear her most impressive jewels during her early years to state events, such as when visiting the Vatican in 1957.
She would continue to wear her Diamond bracelet (along with her other Wedding presents) throughout her life, for both official and social events.
After her tragic death in 1982, Princess Grace’s jewellery became part of the ‘Palais Princier de Monaco Collection’.
This Collection encompasses not only jewels but fine art, furniture and Prince Rainier’s famous vintage cars. Princess Grace’s Jewels are often loaned out to exhibitions.
The jewels are available for use by any member of the Grimaldi family but it has been Princess Caroline who has been the main wearer of her family’s pieces over the years. From the time of her mother’s death in 1982 to her brother Albert’s marriage in 2011, Caroline was effectively Monaco’s first lady.
As such, she would wear her mother’s jewels when representing and promoting the Principality. In 1999, Princess Caroline married Prince Ernst August of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick. This marriage elevated Caroline from a Serene Highness (HSH) to a Royal Highness (HRH) and put her at the heart of the European Royal Society.
Ernst August is head of the House of Hanover which makes him related to all the major European royal families. Therefore, Caroline’s presence is required at high profile events where she will often wear elements of her mother’s jewellery collection.
Continuing the tradition, the younger Grimaldi’s have now begun to wear Princess Grace’s jewels.
At the annual Rose Ball in Monte Carlo in 2019, Tatiana Santo Domingo (wife of Grace’s grandson Andrea Casiraghi) wore the Diamond Bracelet along with Princess Grace’s anniversary earrings.