Grace Kelly 'transformed' Monaco's image says expert
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Although she led a short acting career of only six years, Grace Kelly was one of Hollywood’s greats. Rising to stardom in the early 50s, the actor was nominated for several Academy Awards and won the prestigious Best Actress award for her performance in The Country Girl in 1954.
In 1956, Grace appeared in High Society alongside cinema and music legends Bill Crosby and Frank Sinatra.
It was to be her last film before she married the late Prince Rainier of Monaco over two days in April 1956.
The couple had two weddings – a civil ceremony on April 18 followed by a religious equivalent the next day.
For the religious ceremony, Grace wore a long-sleeved lace gown designed by MGM’s Academy Award-winning Helen Rose.
The Princess’ dress is said to have influenced the likes of Kate Middleton and Lady Kitty Spencer – both of whom wore similar gowns on their respective wedding days.
But what was Grace’s engagement ring like?
The huge 10.48-carat emerald-cut diamond ring was first seen a few months before the royal wedding, when Grace wore the jewel during the MGM publicity photos for High Society.
Flanked by two baguette-cut side stones and set in platinum, the ring quickly became one of the most discussed engagement rings in the world.
Designed by Cartier, the ring is thought to be worth a whopping £30million today.
However, this wasn’t the only engagement ring Grace received from Rainier.
The late Princess was given a “secret” ring that not many royal fans remember or know about.
Made of red rubies and white diamonds, this was the initial ring Rainier used to propose to Grace around Christmas time in 1955.
The ring was delicate, set in gold, and featured tiny rubies and diamonds.
The public were first given a glimpse of the precious piece in January 1956, when Grace invited the press into her family home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Rainier had given much thought to the design of the ring, with the heirloom red rubies and white diamonds representing the colours of the principality of Monaco.
Like the second diamond ring, this jewel too was designed by Cartier.
According to diamond expert Max Stone of jewellers Steven Stone, Rainier gave Grace a second engagement ring when he heard that the future Princess would be wearing a fake diamond ring to play the role of bride-to-be Tracy Lord in High Society.
Max estimated the ring to be worth an impressive £30million – a huge sum compared to the first engagement ring, which he believed to be around £15,000.
The jewellery expert said: “While it’s incredibly difficult to value a ring without seeing the original item in colour, the fact that the ring was designed by Cartier and features heirloom rubies, which look to be around 1.5 carats, along with 1.5 carats of diamonds, suggests it could be worth over £15,000 today.
“Although Grace Kelly received the incredible 10.5 carat Cartier diamond ring shortly after, which is now one of the world’s most famous pieces of jewellery, the rubies featured in her first ring are likely to be very rare and of the finest quality.
“Rubies are also soaring in value right now, so it’s likely the value of this ring will increase even more over time.”
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