The legendary Grace Kelly.
Grace’s splendid 10.47 carat engagement ring.
Grace Kelly was one of four children born to a wealthy contractor in Philadelphia. She was a beautiful child with a natural air of elegance and style. She knew she wanted to be an actress from an early age, although compared to her siblings, she was always quite timid and introverted. But her inner determination was iron clad. She left for New York City right after high school to pursue her career.
Successful modeling and acting gigs in New York soon led to the exposure Grace craved. She moved to Hollywood and starred in her first feature film in 1951. Her career skyrocketed after Alfred Hitchcock discovered her and featured her in several of his films.
From then on, Grace Kelly became one of the most sought-after actresses of the silver screen. She starred in eleven major films during the 1950s. Her costars were Hollywood greats like James Stewart, Bing Crosby, Clark Gable and Cary Grant.
The elegant blonde beauty could have had any man she wanted with her classic “Helen of Troy” looks and sophisticated charm. She did have a few scandalous flings here and there, but somehow, her sights were always set higher.
Then, at the Cannes Film Festival in 1955, Grace met Prince Rainer III of Monaco. He was 31 years old and she was 25 at the time. He wasn’t as handsome as many of her famous leading men back in Hollywood. But he was royalty!
Prince Rainer was equally enamored with the beautiful American movie star. Within six months, he had arranged a visit to Philadelphia to meet her parents and propose. Initially, he gave her a diamond and ruby band. It was considered a “promise ring.”
Grace Kelly & Prince Rainer III.
The Prince & Princess of Monaco at their 1956 wedding.
Perhaps Prince Rainer proposed with the band because he didn’t initially realize that American screen stars expected significant “rocks” when becoming engaged. Or perhaps, his Cartier engagement ring was not ready for the proposal trip to America.
Whatever the reason, he stepped up to the plate a few months later and gave Grace an enormous 10.47 carat emerald cut diamond ring. It had a lovely vintage Art Deco platinum setting. The knockout engagement ring was an instant hit with Grace and the American public. She even wore it during her last feature film, High Society
Upon her engagement, the press immediately demanded to know if she would be giving up her fabulous film career upon marrying the Prince of Monaco. Grace told them it would be up to her future husband. Perhaps she regretted that decision later on because Prince Rainer forbade her to ever act again. Royalty was above such endeavors.
In 1956, over 30 million people watched the Prince of Monaco marry the American actress on television. Grace embraced her new role as Princess Grace of Monaco wholeheartedly. If she missed acting, she never let on in public. Instead she busied herself as a royal hostess, mother and organizer for Monaco’s charity efforts.
Princess Grace of Monaco wearing her cherished engagement ring
Princess Grace wore her sensational engagement ring for the rest of her life. Sadly in 1982, she suffered a stroke that caused her to have a horrendous car crash on one of the steep, winding roads of Monaco. She died of complications from the accident at just 52 years old.
The world took solace in the fact that she lived a very good life, even though it was tragically cut short. Grace Kelly became a successful model, a highly acclaimed actress and then a real life princess. Not many little girls get to see such grand wishes fulfilled in their lifetimes!
Here are the specifics on Grace Kelly’s Cartier engagement ring:
- Center Stone:
Center Stone: 10.47 carat emerald cut diamond
- Accent Diamonds: Two bezel set, baguette cut diamonds, one on either side of the center diamond in a vintage Art Deco setting.
- Metal: Platinum
- Original Cost: unknown
- Estimated Current Value: $600,000
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