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The Most Stunning And Shocking Necklaces Of The Twentieth Century

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One of the most unique and fascinating aspects of the jewellery world is that inspiration and iconic styles can be found in the past, the present and the future, almost all of which possessing an innately timeless quality.

From modern Fope jewellery to historic pearls, necklaces are at the centre of many looks and styles, drawing the eye and fittingly capturing what is closest to its wearer’s heart, or symbolising an important moment in a wearer’s history.

Throughout the last century, we have seen some truly shocking and stunning looks that conveyed powerful designs and ideas, and here are some of the most shocking.


Hutton-Mdivani Cartier Necklace

The most expensive piece of jadeite jewellery to ever be sold at auction, it was previously owned by heiress to the Woolworth’s empire Barbara Hutton and epitomises a complete mastery of the craft.

The 27 Qing jadeite beads are immaculate, clasped together with a geometric design festooned with diamonds and rubies.


Van Cleef & Arpels Ruby Suit Zip

A beautiful design in and of itself, the Zip necklace has become iconic not just for its beautiful, versatile and flowing design, but also for the story behind it.

The Ruby Suite was gifted to Wallis Simpson by Edward, Duke Of Windsor after he had abdicated the throne and become the shortest reigning British monarch since Lady Jane Grey’s 9-day reign in 1553.


Cartier Panther

Another famous piece owned by Wallis Simpson, the Cartier panther was made from onyx and diamond stones and became one of the pieces most associated with her, in no small part because the wrap-around panther model looks particularly striking.


Tiffany Yellow Diamond

One of the largest yellow diamonds ever discovered, it has only been worn by four notable wearers, including Beyonce Knowles and Lady Gaga.

The most famous person to wear it, however, is Audrey Hepburn, who wore a huge Jean Schlumberger necklace that had the yellow diamond set in its centre.