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Jackie Onassis Wedding Ring: A Symbol of Iconic Elegance

A photo of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis on left and her engagement ring on right.
Jackie Onassis's wedding ring stands as a testament to enduring elegance and grace. Delve into the fascinating story behind this iconic piece of jewelry, symbolizing sophistication and timeless beauty in the annals of history.

The legacy of Jackie Onassis is one marked with elegance and an enduring impact on fashion and culture. As an iconic figure, her style choices were often closely scrutinized and emulated, none more so than her wedding ring. The engagement ring given to her by John F. Kennedy, which later became widely known as the Jackie Onassis wedding ring, is not only a symbol of their marriage but also a piece of jewelry that has fascinated enthusiasts and the public for years.


I understand the allure of this ring; it's a combination of historical significance and the sheer glamour that Jackie Onassis carried with such grace. The ring itself had a unique design that reflected the tastes of the era and the personal style of Jackie. The story of this wedding ring goes beyond its aesthetic appeal, becoming a narrative entwined with American history and the mystique of Camelot.

Historical Context

 

In discussing the historical context of Jackie Onassis's wedding ring, it's essential to consider my relationship with the emblematic figures of the era, as well as the sociopolitical climate she navigated.

Jackie Kennedy as First Lady

When I recount Jacqueline Kennedy's time as First Lady, I'm immediately drawn to her immense influence on American culture. Her grace, style, and dignity set a new standard for how First Ladies could embody the nation's aspirations. The White House during my tenure saw renovations that reflected both historical preservation and contemporary sophistication—a balance she struck effortlessly.

The Kennedy-Camelot Era

My era, often referred to as Camelot, was not merely a term but an ethos that defined the early 1960s American presidency. I cultivated an idealistic image rooted in the arts, culture, and intellectualism. This came to exemplify the youthful spirit and optimism that surrounded my husband, John F. Kennedy, and his administration.

John F. Kennedy's Legacy

The legacy of my late husband, JFK, is indelibly linked to my own narrative, including the accessories that came to symbolize our union. While his presidency was tragically cut short in 1963, the reverence for his vision and values did not waver. It was in 1968, five years after his death, that I adorned myself with Aristotle Onassis's ring—a symbol of moving forward while honoring my past in the White House with JFK.

Jackie's Engagement and Wedding to Aristotle Onassis

Two photos of Jackie's Wedding to Aristotle Onassis.

 

The engagement of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Aristotle Onassis was a significant event, marked by luxury and public fascination. When I reflect on their wedding, which took place on October 20, 1968, it's clear to see how it cemented Jackie's status as a fashion and style icon.

Engagement Announcement

In 1968, I announced my engagement to Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, captivating the world's attention. Our engagement was not just a union of two prominent figures but also a blend of American grace and Greek opulence. Aristotle Onassis surprised me with a stunning sapphire-and-diamond ring, which quickly became a symbol of our forthcoming nuptials.

Wedding Ceremony Details

Our wedding was held in a private ceremony on Skorpios, Aristotle's private Greek island. The event was intimately sized, with a traditional Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony. My wedding day was marked by grace and opulence—a reflection of the life that lay ahead with Aristotle.

Fashion and Style Icon Status

Given my penchant for elegance and fashion, it was natural that my wedding attire attracted global admiration. I wore a stunning Valentino gown that helped to further solidify my reputation as a style icon. The dress, along with my sapphire engagement ring, became symbols of timeless style, perfectly capturing the essence of the era. Our honeymoon was just as stylish, reflecting the elegant and luxurious lifestyle we were known for.

The Engagement Ring

Component Details
Center Stone Lesotho III diamond (~40.42 carats)
Side Stones 2 marquise-cut diamonds
Designer Van Cleef & Arpels


My focus in this section is on the exquisite engagement ring given to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. This piece of jewelry speaks volumes about style and significance, resonating through its unique design and the storied gems it features.

Description and Design

The engagement ring presented to Jacqueline Kennedy by Aristotle Onassis was no ordinary piece. It was an emerald-cut diamond of approximately 40.42 carats, flanked by two marquise-cut diamonds. Known for its exceptional clarity, the centerpiece diamond was the celebrated Lesotho III diamond. This stunning ring was crafted by the luxury jewelry firm, Van Cleef & Arpels, its design representative of the era's preference for bold, statement pieces.

  • Center Stone: Lesotho III diamond (~40.42 carats)
  • Side Stones: 2 marquise-cut diamonds
  • Designer: Van Cleef & Arpels

Diamond and Emerald Significance

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The
emerald-cut of the main diamond exemplifies an air of sophistication and elegance, which was quintessential of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's style. Emerald-cut diamonds are known for their open table and step-cut facets, which emphasize the stone's clarity. The choice of diamonds for this engagement ring also symbolizes enduring strength, while the incorporation of emeralds alongside hints at a notion of hope and renewal.

  • Emerald-cut: Symbolizing sophistication
  • Diamonds: Representing strength
  • Emeralds: Connoting hope and renewal

Jewelry Design Trends

During the time of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's engagement, jewelry trends often leaned towards larger, more prominent pieces. This was reflective of a move away from minimalist designs and towards jewelry that made a statement. The Lesotho III diamond ring was a paragon of these trends. It was not just a piece of jewelry; it was a masterpiece that demonstrated the prowess of designer Harry Winston, who had cleaved the original Lesotho rough diamond into 18 separate gems, including the Lesotho III.

  • Trends: Larger, statement pieces
  • Craftsmanship: Harry Winston's expertise in the diamond's cutting

Renowned for their clear, almost icy appearance, the marquise-cut diamonds flanking the centerpiece added to the ring's majesty and splendor. Such cuts were increasingly popular during this time, mirroring a global appreciation for both craftsmanship and the maximization of a gem's brilliance. The design not only reflected the luxury of the era but also Jacqueline's personal elegance and the public's fascination with her as a fashion icon.

Cultural and Fashion Impact

Jackie Kennedy Onassis wearing latest designed cloth.

 

When discussing the cultural and fashion influence of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, particularly her wedding ring, we must acknowledge the broader impact she had. Her choices extended beyond mere preference, shaping the style zeitgeist of the time.

Influence on Fashion and Jewelry

My understanding of fashion history indicates that Jackie Kennedy Onassis's engagement ring was more than just a piece of jewelry; it was a statement that echoed throughout the fashion world. Boasting an Art Deco design with a 2.88 carat diamond and a 2.84 carat emerald, it was emblematic of her refined taste and penchant for blending modernism with classic style. This unique choice spurred a trend that saw Art Deco and modernist aesthetics gain favor in both fashion and jewelry design.

Jackie's Lasting Fashion Legacy

As a style icon, Jackie's influence transcends her lifetime, with her fashion sense continually serving as a touchstone for class and elegance. It wasn’t just her wedding ring, but her entire jewelry collection often made headlines and set trends. The pieces she selected were not merely accessories but integral elements that defined her look and, by extension, the look of an era. She had an undeniable ability to set trends that other women aspired to emulate.

Mod Style and Modernism

Jackie's wedding ring, steeped in Mod style and Modernism, exemplified her impact on the period's fashion. "Mod" – short for modern – fashion was at its peak during her time in the public eye, and her selection of jewelry with clean lines and geometric shapes contributed to the era's style narrative. Her adoption of "Mod style" elements demonstrated an appreciation for the arts and a forward-thinking approach to fashion that was both aspirational and attainable.

Posthumous Auction and Legacy

Item Category Description
Iconic Fashion Pieces Dresses, coats, and accessories worn by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis during her time as First Lady and beyond
Personal Mementos Letters, photographs, and keepsakes that belonged to Jacqueline and her family
Fine Art and Decorative Items Paintings, sculptures, and decorative objects collected by Jacqueline
Furniture and Furnishings Pieces from her residences, including the White House, her homes in New York City and Martha's Vineyard
Jewelry Pieces of jewelry, including rings, necklaces, and earrings
Books and Manuscripts Rare editions, manuscripts, and literary works from Jacqueline's personal collection
Memorabilia Items related to her public and private life, such as political memorabilia, family heirlooms, and gifts received from dignitaries

 

The legacy of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, including the posthumous auction of her jewelry, has fascinated many. The sale of these items not only fetched millions of dollars but also contributed to preserving the heritage of the Kennedy family.

Auction of Jackie's Jewelry

In 1996, my collection of jewelry was unveiled to the public through an estate sale by Sotheby's. This auction included pieces that defined my style and public image, from exquisite diamonds to the simple strands of pearls synonymous with my name. Notably, my faux pearl necklace was auctioned off and demonstrated that the value wasn't in the material but in the association with my legacy.

Replicas and Memorabilia

The impact of my fashion sense led to the production of replicas and memorabilia. Admirers of my style can find copies of my iconic jewelry, including the famous wedding ring, which serve as keepsakes and a testament to my enduring influence on fashion and culture. These pieces hold a sentimental value and continue to contribute to the narrative of the Kennedy legacy.

The Kennedy Family Heirlooms

Certain items from the estate sale, such as valuable jewelry that once belonged to me, are closely tied with the Kennedy family's history. Pieces auctioned off raised substantial amounts, evidencing the enduring interest in the Kennedy mystique. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and other institutions have since become custodians of various Kennedy family heirlooms, ensuring that my and the family's legacy lives on.

By highlighting these elements through auction and the creation of memorabilia, my connection to American history and the Kennedy legacy continues to be celebrated and preserved.

Additional Relevant Entities

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis with her sister Lee Radziwill.

 

When discussing Jackie Onassis's wedding ring, it's imperative to consider the cultural and familial influences, as well as the broader context of jewelry fashion and historical comparisons. I'll explore how these elements intersect, from the role of her sister Lee Radziwill to comparisons with other iconic figures.

Lee Radziwill's Influence

As Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's sister, Lee Radziwill had a profound impact on Jackie's sense of style. Lee, known for her impeccable taste and connections with high society, could have influenced Jackie's choice in jewelry, including her iconic wedding ring. Their shared affinity for French jewellers and fine jewelry pieces, marked by understated elegance, reflected the timeless fashion they championed.

Jewelry Stores and Designers

Fifth Avenue in New York has long been the epitome of luxury shopping, housing renowned jewelry stores and designers. Louis Arpels of the French jewelry company, Van Cleef & Arpels, operated a Fifth Avenue store. The toi et moi design, featuring intertwined stones, may link back to the ring given by Napoleon Bonaparte to Josephine de Beauharnais. Alongside these traditional influences, Hélène Arpels, once the British Vogue’s jewellery director, has possibly contributed to shaping the aesthetics appreciated by Jackie.

Historical and Celebrity Comparisons

Jackie Onassis's jewelry choices often drew comparisons with other notable figures, such as Queen Elizabeth II and Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. For instance, Queen Elizabeth's vintage sunburst diamond brooch could parallel Jackie's preference for pieces with historical resonance. Likewise, the diamond and sapphire engagement band worn by Bessette-Kennedy echoes the classic and sophisticated choices that Jackie was known for. The baguette-cut diamonds and sapphire, favourites in Jackie's time, remain everlasting designs in fine jewelry.

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Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, I'll address some of the most common inquiries regarding Jackie Kennedy's famed wedding ring.

What modifications were made to Jackie Kennedy's original engagement ring?

Initially, Jackie Kennedy's engagement ring featured a 2.88 carat diamond next to a 2.84 carat emerald along with diamond accents. In 1962, Jackie had it redesigned to include additional marquise and round diamonds.

Who designed Jackie Kennedy's wedding ring?

The renowned jewelry designer Van Cleef & Arpels designed Jackie Kennedy's original engagement ring.

What was the estimated value of Jackie Kennedy's engagement ring?

The value of Jackie Kennedy's engagement ring is not publicly known, but given its historical significance, exquisite design, and the size of its stones, it is presumed to be worth several million dollars.

Did Jackie Kennedy have a favorite piece of jewelry, and if so, what was it?

Among her extensive collection, one of the pieces Jackie Kennedy was frequently seen wearing was the triple-strand faux pearl necklace, which became one of her signature accessories.

What is the history behind Jackie Kennedy's 40-carat engagement ring?

The 40-carat diamond ring given to Jackie by Aristotle Onassis was infamously known as the Lesotho III diamond, one of eighteen gems cut from a famous 601-carat rough diamond. It symbolized their notable and scrutinized union.

Has the Kennedy family retained possession of Jackie Kennedy's engagement jewelry?

The current ownership of Jackie Kennedy's engagement pieces is private, and it is not clear if the Kennedy family has maintained possession of her iconic jewelry.

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