Anastasia keeps audiences hooked from beginning to end in numerous ways, including the music, the characters, and the story of love, loss, and family reconnection.
Family jewels also play a key role in the Broadway show because a jeweled music box and necklace prove Anastasia’s ancestry in the Romanoff family tree during a time before 23andMe and Ancestry DNA kits.
Speaking of jewels, here are six famous jewels and family heirlooms with significant historical background and everlasting relevance.
Napoleon Diamond Necklace
Emperor Napoleon gave a diamond necklace to his wife, Marie-Louise, to commemorate the birth of their son, Napoleon II, in 1811.
This heirloom has 234 diamonds that weigh approximately 263 carats. The necklace is currently displayed at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
The Dresden Green
Friedrich Augustus II – Saxony elector, king of Poland, and grand duke of Lithuania – purchased the green Dresden diamond for 400,000 thaler from a London merchant. People believed the diamond was originally mined in India’s Golconda region.
Augustus II later had the jewel fashioned into a badge for the Order of the Golden Fleece, and had other modifications made thereafter. After the death of Augustus II and his son, the badge was passed down to his grandson, Friedrich Augustus.
Friedrich requested Prague jeweler Franz Michael Diespach to transform the badge into a fashionable hat piece with additional jewels. This jewel is currently on display at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden in Dresden, Germany.
St. Edward’s Crown
Dubbed the most important and sacred of all crowns and used in coronation crowning moments, St. Edward’s crown is a solid gold artifact with semi-precious stones weighing approximately five pounds. It was created for Charles II’s coronation to replace the medieval crown that belonged to King Edward the Confessor.
This crown was last used to crown Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 and is accounted for in the Royal Collection Trust.
The Taylor-Burton Diamond
This 69-carat, pear-shaped jewel, first mined in South Africa in 1966, was purchased by Richard Burton for his wife and famous actress, Elizabeth Taylor.
The diamond was on auction in 1969 and Cartier had the winning bid with $1,050,000. Burton purchased the stone from Cartier for $1.1 million. Taylor requested Cartier to make the stone into a necklace with other diamonds.
Taylor wore the Taylor-Burton Diamond at the 1970 Oscars award show when presenting the winner for Best Picture.
Unfortunately, Taylor and Burton divorced in 1976. She auctioned off the diamond for $5 million and put the proceeds toward building a Botswana hospital. Today, it is privately owned by Robert Mouawad.
Lebanese jeweler Mouawad created the L’Incomparable diamond necklace with a 407 carat yellow step-cut diamond on a gold chain and 91 white diamonds weighing more than 200 carats in an asymmetrical design that resembles a vine. L’Incomparable was revealed at the Doha Jewellery and Watch Exhibition in 2013.
Princess Diana’s Engagement Ring
Lastly, Princess Diana’s sapphire engagement ring holds significance and controversy.
Prince Charles asked Diana to choose her favorite ring in 1981. However, some of the royal family and other critics weren’t pleased with her choice because the ring was only worth $60,000 and anyone else could purchase it for the same price. Diana even wore the ring after divorcing Prince Charles.
After Diana’s death, her jewelry collection was passed down to her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. Prince William gave the ring to his wife, Kate Middleton.
Like Anastasia’s music box, these six famous jewels and family heirlooms hold cultural, historical, and ancestral significance.
April 14-16, 2023 • Buell Theatre