In honor of the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death — August 5, 1962 — we take a look at some of Marilyn Monroe’s most famous jewelry pieces. Monroe is arguably the most famous movie star in the world, and an icon of jewelry and fashion who is still admired and emulated today.
Ironically, Monroe rarely wore diamonds in private—her personal collection was mostly costume jewelry — but she had the rare opportunity to wear (on loan) breathtaking jewelry pieces from some of the world’s most prestigious jewelry companies, such as De Beers. Especially following her unforgettable performance of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” in the 1953 classic film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Monroe became a true ambassador of the beauty, glamour and elegance of diamonds to the world. So much so that she received an award from The Jewelry Academy, along with a note that read, “To Marilyn Monroe, the best friend a diamond ever had.”
Here are some of her favorite, and most famous, jewelry pieces she wore.
The Moon of Baroda diamond from the Gentlemen Prefer Blondes movie premier
Recall the indelible image of Marilyn Monroe singing “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” dressed in a pink satin evening gown and matching gloves, surrounded by well-dressed men, diamonds dripping from her neck and sleeves. The centerpiece of her outfit was the Moon of Baroda diamond necklace, which she wore to the Gentlemen Prefer Blondes movie premier. The Moon of Baroda is a stunning pear-shaped, yellow canary diamond that weighed 25.95 carats when it was found. It was later cut into its current pear shape and weighs 24.04 carats.
The Moon of Baroda has an exotic origin fitting its name: For more than 500 years, it was owned by the Maharajas of Baroda, India. In 1787, it was sent to the Empress Maria Thérèse of Austria and was also was worn by Marie Antoinette in the 18th century. It was later stolen by Afghan tribal leader Nadir Shah then returned to Baroda where it remained for almost 200 years. In 1943, it was purchased by Meyer Rosenbaum, who lent it to Monroe for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. In 1991, the diamond was auctioned and sold at Christie’s, New York and is now in a private collection.
Diamond necklace from the How to Marry a Millionaire photo shoot
For publicity photos to promote the 1953 film, How to Marry a Millionaire, Monroe wore a large pear-shaped diamond pendant, suspended from a black silk cord necklace.
The platinum and diamond eternity wedding band from Joe DiMaggio
Monroe’s ill-fated second marriage to Yankee baseball great, Joe DiMaggio, started out hopeful. On their wedding day in 1954, DiMaggio gave Monroe a platinum eternity wedding band set with 35 baguette-cut diamonds. In 1999, the ring — minus one diamond — sold at a Christie’s, New York auction for $772,500. In 2011, it was sold again at a Profiles in History auction for $420,000.
The Akoya pearl necklace from Joe DiMaggio.
While on their honeymoon in Japan in 1954, DiMaggio presented Monroe with a 16-inch, single-strand Akoya pearl necklace consisting of 44 Mikimoto pearls. The necklace has been shown around the world as part of a traveling exhibition sponsored by the American Museum of Natural History, New York and the Field Museum, Chicago. It is currently owned by Mikimoto (America) Co, Ltd. as part of a valuable collection of pearls and pearl jewelry.