Jackie Kennedy’s Diamond Sunburst Brooch

Happy Birthday to Caroline Kennedy, who turns 65 today! The only surviving child of President John F Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Caroline was the American Ambassador to Japan and is the current Ambassador to Australia, and has been a supporter of the Prince of Wales’ Earthshot Prize, so we are featuring an heirloom jewel we’ve been researching for years: Jackie Kennedy’s Diamond Sunburst Brooch!

Embed from Getty Images

In 1961, President John F Kennedy and the First Lady were on an Official Visit to London, which included a the Dinner hosted by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace, and the First Lady went shopping with her sister, Princess Lee Radziwill, when she spotted this antique Diamond Sunburst Brooch, which cost between $50,000-$100,000, at Wartski. To raise the funds, the First Lady sold the Diamond Brooches she had received as a Wedding Present from her parents-in-law, former American Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Joe Kennedy, and Rose Kennedy, but had replicas made so they continued to be worn. 

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

The First Lady debuted her new Diamond Sunburst Brooch for the Shah of Iran and Empress Farah’s State Visit to the United States in April 1962, wearing it in her hair as an aigrette ‘tiara’ for the State Banquet at the White House and the Return Banquet at the Iranian Embassy the following evening. 

Embed from Getty Images

The following month, the Diamond Sunburst Brooch was worn as an aigrette at a Dinner for Andre Malraux, the French Minister of Culture, at the White House in May 1962, with a gown designed by Guy Douvier for Dior and her Diamond Waterfall Earrings, a gift from the President to mark Caroline’s birth.

Embed from Getty Images

The Diamond Sunburst Brooch was also worn the following month, worn not he centre of silk blue strapless gown designed by Oleg Cassini for a State Dinner held in Mexico City on the Presidential visit to Mexico. 

Embed from Getty Images

The First Lady wore the Brooch for a ceremony bestowing honorary US citizenship on Sir Winston Churchill at the White House in April 1963, and later that month, it was worn as an aigrette at a State Dinner for Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg (wearing Grand Duchess Hilda’s Diamond Floral Tiara) and Hereditary Grand Duke Jean, continuing her own trend of wearing the Brooch as a ‘tiara’ in the presence of Royalty. 

Embed from Getty Images

Mrs Kennedy retained the Brooch after the President’s assassination later that year, and in 1966, it was worn for a Ball hosted by the Duchess of Medinaceli at the Palace De Pilatos in Seville, during the the annual Seville Fair (Feria de Abril).

The Diamond Sunburst Brooch does not seem to have been worn often during her second marriage to Aristotle Onassis, but Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis wore the Brooch in the 1980s, when she was pictured with Sirio Maccioni at the Le Cirque Restaurant in Paris.

After Jackie Kennedy’s death in 1994, the Diamond Sunburst Brooch was inherited by her only daughter, Caroline, who has rarely worn it in public over the years, with a notable appearance at the Annual Kennedy Center Honours in 2009 and 2012.

On the bust-line of her little black number, Ms. Kennedy donned the “sunburst pin,” an antique piece her mother was said to have purchased from a dealer in London for a reported $100,000 many decades ago.

While First Lady, the-then Mrs. Kennedy wore the diamond brooch on gowns and as a hair pin at some of Camelot’s most illustrious state dinners.

The ever press-shy Ms. Kennedy, when asked about the brooch, responded cautiously, “my mother gave it to me,” thus, bringing my “interview” and rendezvous with Jackie’s “crown jewel” to a close.


Caroline Kennedy has been a supporter of the Prince of Wales’ Earthshot Prize, which was inspired by President Kennedy’s Moonshot Speech. Lets hope she wears the Diamond Sunburst Brooch at next week’s Earthshot Prize Ceremony in Boston, being held in partnership with the John F Kennedy Library!


One thought on “Jackie Kennedy’s Diamond Sunburst Brooch

  1. Wonderful! I’m certain you mean to celebrate the Ambassador’s 65th birthday (not 55th). Thank you so much for the lovely photos and informative post.

Leave a Reply