The 'Markle Sparkle' effect glistens this Christmas


Whether or not you’re a fan of the British monarchy you can’t deny that as a nation we are fascinated by them. A recent 2018 YouGov poll found that 7 in 10 Brits support the continuation of the monarchy, almost 18 million people watched the Duke and Duchess of Sussex get married in May and 4.1 million people follow the family daily on Instagram.

So it comes as no surprise that when a member of the royal family does something, wears something, eats something we pay attention. But this isn’t a recent fascination, this has been going on since the beginning of the monarchy, it just wasn’t published on social media back then. However, in the last forty years the youngest of the royals have been having a real influence on jewellery trends and the buying habits of the public. If a royal has worn it, the public want it (or at the very least, something similar.) 

The Royal of the moment is the Duchess of Sussex herself, Meghan Markle. A woman who seems to have added a breath of fresh air into the monarchy and the public are enthralled. Covéa Insurance’s HNW Senior Technical Underwriting Lead, Kate McGovern explains that “there’s a huge Meghan Markle effect at the moment.” This is something that Covéa Insurance employees learnt at our Broker Training Academy session run by Angelina Pescatore of the Watches of Switzerland (WOS) group. During Harry and Meghan’s recent international tour of the Pacific, everything the royal couple wore (but mainly Meghan) was analysed, added to independent websites and bought within hours from shoes and jackets to necklaces and earrings. “At her wedding reception, Meghan wore a huge aquamarine cocktail ring by Asprey which was Princess Diana’s and this is having a direct influence upon the popularity and price of quality stones. It’s one of the reasons why aqua is suddenly more sought after” Kate adds.

picture of some coloured diamond rings

“Coloured gems altogether are on the rise from the more expensive, precious stones like emeralds, rubies and sapphires down to aquamarines, topaz and morganite.” Kate explains, “Princess Eugenie showcased her coral toned padparadscha sapphire. The design of which was very similar to her mother’s. A woman who, along with Princess Diana influenced the jewellery trends in the 80’s and 90’s. This fluctuation in popularity has a knock on effect when it comes to insurance too.” Kate advises that “the coloured gemstones trend has been growing over recent years with Aqua being the notable example, and more and more people are inheriting older items of jewellery which include coloured gemstones. The condition of these pieces may not have been checked for some time, leading to loss of stones via damaged clasps and settings. We recommend that clients get pieces of jewellery or watches valued by an NAJ registered valuer every 3 years to ensure appropriate coverage is in place. I will certainly be following Angelina’s advice and arranging a valuation of my aquamarine and diamond ring in light of the Meghan Markle effect.”

So what can you do to protect them? Kate explains that you need to “make sure you’re buying from a reputable source and maintain your records including purchase receipts and valuations. Do keep these items in tip top condition as some stones aren’t as hard as diamonds – aquamarines and emeralds are very fragile and are susceptible to both heat damage and accidental knocks. Ensure that your settings are secure, particularly if you have chosen a design with fewer claws.”

The media attention that the royal family receive is like no other. Over the past couple of years there has been a significant rise in the popularity of Instagrammers and bloggers influencing fashion, but when it comes to high end jewellery trends within the UK then the Royal family are on another level. With access to a historical treasure trove of pieces and the nations focus on the Royal’s designer or jeweller of choice, their influence can be seen from the high end stores through to the high-street. Following the engagement of Catherine Middleton you would be hard pressed not to notice the trend for deep blue sapphire rings with diamond surrounds within every jewellers and high-street accessory shop. The 12 carat oval blue sapphire and diamond ring previously caused a rush of copycat designs back in the early 1980’s following the engagement of Princess Diana and the Prince of Wales.

So as exciting as it is to be gifted or to give a beautiful piece of jewellery it’s important to be aware that you’re covered in case the worst happens. Make a checklist once you’ve bought or been gifted it – has it been valued? When is the next time it should be valued? How secure is the gem? Because if the 4.1 million Instagram followers are anything to go by, then this definitely won’t be the last we see of the Royal family effecting everyday trends.

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