The Duchess of Sussex has made headlines with her low key royal tour wardrobe – and her jewellery collection for the 10 day trip was similarly pared back.
Meghan, 38, swapped glittering diamonds – including her £140,000 engagement ring – for simple pieces from a range of high street, local and lesser-known designers as she carried out engagements in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
Many of the pieces carry hidden or symbolic meanings. The turquoise stone on the ring she wore in place of her engagement band, for example, is said to bring strength to the wearer, while a necklace and bracelet set she wore is designed to ward away evil.
Here, a closer look at what her jewellery means…
TURQUOISE STONES FOR STRENGTH
Notably absent from the Duchess of Sussex’s royal tour jewellery collection was her glittering diamond engagement ring, thought to be worth as much as £140,000.
Throughout the tour the sparkler was replaced by a far more discreet £200 turquoise band by American celebrity jeweller Jennifer Meyer, whose pieces Meghan has worn on a number of previous occasions.
The handcrafted marquise ring features a marquise cut turquoise stone set in the middle of an 18-karat yellow gold band. Meghan wore the ring layered with her gold wedding ring.
Turquoise is a stone that carries several meanings, according to gemologists, and has been used in amulets and jewellery for thousands of years.
Among the meanings of turquoise are ‘strength’, ‘friendship’ and ‘protection’. It is also said to help alleviate stomach problems and cramp.
On several days of the tour Meghan doubled the power of the stone by adding a pair of dainty diamond and turquoise earrings by Meyer, who counts a string of A-listers among her close friends.
The diamond bezel earrings features a single diamond and turquoise marquise cut stone set in a polished 18-karat gold bezel.
BRACELETS TO SUPPORT LOCAL ORGANISATIONS
The Duchess of Sussex was keen to shine a light on grass roots programmes and organisations during her time in South Africa, and used her jewellery to help highlight her message.
On the first day of the tour Meghan and Harry both sported beaded bracelets emblazoned with ‘Justice’ for their visit to a Cape Town township.
The simple pieces are sold to raise money for Justice Desk, a human rights initiative which teaches children about their rights, self-awareness and safety, and provides self-defence classes and female empowerment training to young girls in the community.
On Wednesday Meghan wore a second beaded bracelet as she stepped out for engagements in Johannesburg.
It was later revealed the bracelet was gifted to her by schoolchildren she met yesterday during a visit to The Teddy Bear Clinic, a club that supports girls aged 12 to 16.
EARRINGS THAT REPRESENT AN ‘INNER JOURNEY’
While much of the royal tour wardrobe is planned in advance, Meghan picked up a few pieces while she was travelling.
Among them were two pairs of stylish earrings from local designer Pichulik, which cost less than £100 each – a bargain for a Duchess who usually glitters in diamonds.
The brand takes its inspiration from ‘ancient traditions, myth and an experimental use of materials’ and ‘celebrates empowering feminine narratives’ – perfect for the feminist duchess.
The Labyrinth pair worn by the Duchess to ActionAid in Johannesburg carried particular significance as they ‘represent our hero’s journey into our centre to know ourselves intimately so that we may venture out in the world strong, clear and wise,’ according to the brand’s website.
The Duchess was also seen in a distinctive pair of studded black earrings from the brand called ‘Magi’ on a visit to a Johannesburg creative hub the previous day.
NECKLACE AND RING TO WARD AWAY EVIL
The Duchess of Sussex wore a £450 necklace on tour in South Africa that’s adorned with an ‘evil eye’ and a ‘hamsa’.
Its creator, the Turkish-inspired jewellery designer Alemdara, explains on its website: ‘As per Ottoman legend, an evil eye on your person wards off jealousy from others.’
It adds that the symbol helps ‘dispel negative thoughts and energy’.
The Duchess wore the 18-carat gold chain as she gave a speech at the Nyanga township in Cape Town on the first day of the tour, and two of her engagements the following day.
Later in the tour Meghan wore a £775 bracelet from the brand featuring the same symbols.
Alemdara, which was founded by former Tatler journalist Mariella Tandy, specialises in hand-crafted items made in the ancient markets of Istanbul.
A spokesman confirmed to Richard Eden of the Daily Mail: ‘We are very pleased to see the Duchess of Sussex wearing one of our necklaces, but we simply don’t comment on our individual customers.’