The story behind Princess Diana’s favourite sapphire necklace

Much has been said about Princess Diana's iconic style, but though her dresses were deserving of every headline, so was her jewellery, and I'm not just referring to that engagement ring which she redesigned after Prince Charles gave it to her.

The royal had an extensive collection (which Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle inherited), which included an initial necklace long before they were trendy, as well as two special watches and of course, many, many diamonds.

Di was said to also love sapphires, and in fact quite a few of her favourite pieces included the gemstone. One of her favourite necklaces, which she wore all the time, was a three strand pearl choker, with at its centre a giant sapphire surrounded by diamonds.

She was photographed wearing it at many events in the late 80s and 90s, including a ball in Vienna, a concert at the Royal Albert Hall, the Met Gala and, most famously, at the Serpentine Gallery event where she debuted the revenge dress.

The story behind it is rather unusual, since the piece didn't start off as a necklace at all, but as a brooch. It was a wedding gift from her grandmother-in-law, the Queen Mother.

Diana wore it pinned to her Belville Sassoon gown at a Downing Street banquet in 1982, and although she wore it as a brooch a few times, she quickly had it mounted onto a seven strand pearl choker.

Since the royal didn't wear brooches much, she therefore created a piece she knew she would get much more wear out of. Whilst we don't know the exact date she had the piece made, we do know she was first photographed wearing it at President Ronald Reagan's ball in Washington in 1985.

A famous pictures shows her being twirled around the dancefloor by John Travolta, in a velvet off-the-shoulder gown, set off beautifully by her precious necklace.

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.