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Jackie Kennedy's Van Cleef and Arpels 10th Anniversary Ring with Emeralds

Updated on January 27, 2016

On September 12, 1963, John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, gave his wife Jackie Kennedy a 10th anniversary gift of a beautiful emerald ring complete with 10 stones set in an eternity band to symbolize their eternal love. Unbeknownst to them this was to be their last wedding anniversary together, JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

The ring was created by Van Cleef and Arpels, one of the world's leading jewelers.

The emerald ring was derived from the Irish heritage, in reverence to the "Emerald Isle".The "Emerald Isle" is the poetic name for Ireland due to its green countryside. "10 stones in eternity, non-stop love going around and around", all spacing with beautiful bars of gold."

Emerald Eternity Ring

10th Anniversary JBK Ring in beautiful eternity emeralds and gold
10th Anniversary JBK Ring in beautiful eternity emeralds and gold

More Information About Emeralds

If you love emeralds, here is a great article - all about your favorite green stones -

Emerald Green Colored Gemstones

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis

Birth: July 28, 1929

Death: May 19, 1994

Marriage: September 12, 1953, at St. Mary's Church in Newport, Rhode Island




Jackie was only 34 when she received this ring.

This same ring is produced as a replica and is sold through a company named Camrose and Kross and can be found on the internet under the name of Jackie's Jewelry at Camrose and Kross's website or QVC.

Journey with me as Philip Katz, the Kennedy historian, details the backstory behind the Jacqueline Kennedy Jewelry Collection and also learn about the prestigious jewelry store call Van Cleef and Arpels.

The Back Story of the 10 Stone Emerald Anniversary Ring

"For their 10th wedding anniversary, JFK wanted to give something very special to Jackie. He went to their favorite antiques dealer in New York and asked the proprietor, an expert in European furniture and decorative arts, to take Jackie through his inventory. Jackie was told that she could pick out any one item she liked most.

In the meantime, JFK went to Van Cleef & Arpels in New York and had this ring made to order. It has 10 emeralds, Jackie’s favorite stone, set in an eternity band design. Jackie always wore it next to her wedding band.

In the early 1970s, Jackie had two stones removed from the ring, on opposite sides, and had two solitaire rings made – one for each of her children. Caroline now has all three rings, and we assume she will pass on the rings as treasured family heirlooms.

Information supplied by Camrose & Kross."

Two New Rings - After JFK's Death - The Next Chapter

The story of this ring had another chapter. After JFK's death, Jackie had two of the emeralds removed and made into two separate rings - and gave one ring each to her son JFK Jr. and to her daugther Caroline. Today after Jackie's death and the death of her brother, Caroline Kennedy now has all three rings.

Van Cleef & Arpels Diamonds

Van Cleef & Arpels

Van Cleef & Arpels Sample Pieces

Example of current watch by Van Cleef & Apels - photos courtesy of kenklenner.com
Example of current watch by Van Cleef & Apels - photos courtesy of kenklenner.com
Mystery Setting first introduced by Van Cleef & Arpels - photo courtesy of fccihk.com
Mystery Setting first introduced by Van Cleef & Arpels - photo courtesy of fccihk.com

Van Cleef & Arpels is a French jewelry store that was founded in 1896 by Salomon Arpels and Alfred Van Cleef. They opened their first boutique in 1906 at 22 Place Vendôme, Paris.

Van Cleef & Arpels are renowned for their expertise in precious stones and have won particular acclaim for a groundbreaking gem-setting procedure known as the "Mystery Setting".  They are also credited with launching the first leather wrist watch.

The History of Van Cleef and Arpels Jewelry Store

The store name came about from a marriage at the turn of the century.  In 1896, Esther Arpels, the daughter of Salomon Arpels, a dealer in precious stones, married Alfred Van Cleef, whose family were sheet merchants living in Paris. That same year, Alfred Van Cleef and Salomon Arpels had already established a company with the aim of “founding and running a jewelry business”.

In 1906, Alfred Van Cleef and Salomon Arpels opened a jewelry boutique at 22 place Vendôme. Shortly thereafter they were joined by Esther’s brothers, Salomon, Jules and Louis Arpels.

Van Cleef & Arpels is now known throughout the world as a fine jewelry and can be found at resorts such as Deauville, Le Touquet, Nice and Monte-Carlo. Their presence is now truly global with Eruope, the United States, Asia and the Middle East.

Throughout history the company has been run by family members and has prospered and grown. In 1999, ownership changed and the company was acquired by the Compagnie Financière Richemont S.A.

The prestige of the company continues even today is spurred on by an exclusive clientelle that includes royalty, financiers and industrial magnates.

Van Cleef & Arpels Innovations - The Mystery Setting

The history of Van Cleef & Arpels has been marked by a number of milestone creations, the most emblematic of which included the now famous mystery setting - see a sample to the right. What is the mystery setting exactly? Here is a detailed explanation from Wikipedia:

"The Mystery Setting is a precious stone paving procedure that uses no visible claws. This setting technique has been continuously perfected by the firm over the years, the latest patent for diamonds being registered in 1990. The stones are set one by one on an extremely fine gold or platinum net. The quality of a Mystery-Set jewel depends on the clarity of the stones and the evenness of their colour. The gem-cutter selects stones based on extremely strict criteria, and chooses the position of each one of them on the jewel depending on their grade. The highly reduced quantity of the precious metals enhances the reflection of light and sets a stage upon on which stones are shown at their most radiant. Brought together, espousing even the most unexpected shapes, they act as a strong and precious whole."

Anniversary Rings Summary

The anniversary ring has become a tradition almost as important as the wedding ring. The symbol of eternity and everlasting love is a wonderful tribute to someone you love and treasure.

The story behind this particular 10 stone anniversary and its significance in both the number of the stones and the connection to the love of the Emerald Isle is both romantic and memorable.

A story of American royalty romance mixed interlaced with the opulence of one the world's finest jewelers.

The romance of John F. Kennedy and Jackie live forever in our hearts and minds.

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© 2010 Kelly Kline Burnett

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