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Kate in Kiki: Christmas Guide to Royal Worthy Jewelry

Thursday, December 1, 2016

On February 24, 2011, blustery winds were buffeting the eastern coast of Wales, and a small, protruding island on the most western coat was covered by grey skies and scuttling clouds. Despite the weather, thousands of excited locals were filling the streets by Trearddur Bay to greet Prince William of Wales and his fiancée Kate Middleton.  It was an historic event. This was the first time that Kate undertook a public engagement, greeting the cheering crowds, working the line of fans on a brief walkabout, and christening the RNLI lifeboat. These were all activities that would soon staples of her life, but on that first cold morning in Anglesey, everything was new and unknown. The beautiful brunette arrived wearing a re-tailored Katherine Hooker coat, snug stockings, cozy Aquatalia booties, a Vivien Sheriff fascinator...and dangling from her ears, glinting in gold and yellow, were citrine drop earrings from Kiki McDonough, 

In terms of the number of wears, these are Kate's most worn earrings. She has sported them at some of the most important milestones of her life, (including presenting her first born on the steps of the Lindo Wing and George's christening) as well as the more mundane moments, like a Sunday morning ride to church and countless
tour appearances. Retailing at £495, these are affordable investment pieces that can tackle any occasion. 

Today, as you probably can guess, we are talking about earrings, specifically Kate's stunning collection of Kiki McDonough brilliants. With Christmas just around the corner, 'tis the season to invest in sparklers of all shapes and sizes, and what better gift to tuck under the tree than a genuine piece of royal jewelry. Kate has made Kiki McDonough famous throughout the royal watching world, and for good reason. The company's striking designs ooze sophistication and luxury, while the remarkable customization--multiple stones for any design and the choice between white or yellow gold--allow women to get the exact look they want without sacrificing quality or craftsmanship. I particularly love how graceful all of Kiki's designs are. The lines are sinuous and streamlined, just like Kate's style. Let's look at Kate's favorite pieces. 

Just two days after that first appearance in Anglesey, Prince William and Kate Middleton jetted to Fife, Scotland. The couple were attending the kick-off of St. Andrew's 600th anniversary celebrations. The University could not have asked for better publicity. The fairy-tale romance of the decade began at St. Andrews when William and Kate fell in love while students together. Now, with Diana's iconic engagement ring glinting on her finger, Kate was returning with her prince as part of their whistle-stop tour of the United Kingdom.

While Kate's engagement ring captured most of the interest, another set of brilliants was winking at her ears, and would become almost as ubiquitous as the ring on her left hand. The duchess-to-be was wearing a set of white topaz studs surrounded by diamonds, Kiki McDonough's "Grace" earrings. The duchess has worn these versatile jewels at home and on tour, for big royal moments and simple shopping excursions. 

Kiki McDonough sells these for £795. Kate has them in white gold, but you can get them in yellow gold, providing some contrast, or with other colored stones, including blue topaz, green amethyst, peridot, citrine, and more. 

2011 was a busy year, but on the 24th of December, as Kate walked to St. Mary Magdalene Church for the first time, the new duchess debuted another set from Kiki McDonough. These upped the ante from the simpler pieces we had seen up to that point. 

These earrings are Kate's Diamond Circled Green Amethysts, and as the name suggests, they feature large green amethysts, surrounded by diamonds, hanging from diamond studded hoops. It is thought that these drops were a Christmas gift from William. At the time, the Duke would have had to special order them, switching out the yellow citrine stones for green amethysts. 

Now Kiki offers Kate's green amethysts in her regular stock list. A tip of the hat to Kate's good taste?Kate really loves these and has worn them every Christmas except in 2014 (when she wore the Classic Citrine Drops from her first engagement in Anglesey). You can purchase them online for £2,600. Like many of Kiki's pieces, you can also choose different colored stones, as well as yellow or white gold settings.

The hoops allow you to switch out the stones, and Kate has added several iterations to her Kiki Drop collection. She debuted the most famous design on Valentine's Day in 2014. The Duchess of Cambridge arrived at the Northolt Highschool to launch an ICAP Art Room wearing new earrings that I can't help but think were tucked next to her breakfast plate by Prince William. 

These simple, but striking, earrings feature cushion cut green amethysts in 18-ct yellow gold with diamond studded hoops. They are much like her diamond circled amethysts, but their square shape and simple design are a little more modern than the diamond circled, and the expert, no-frills setting allows the stunning stones to really sparkle. They currently retail on Kiki McDonough's website for £1,300, which is just over $1,600 at the current exchange rate. 

To put these beautiful earrings into perspective... Kate's Kiki earrings feature cushion cut amethysts set in 18-caret gold with diamond studded hoops. To get the same style of cushion cut earrings with diamond hoops at repliKate competitor StyleRocks, would cost $2,980, and those earrings are only in 9ct gold. 

Kate obviously loved this style. On March 15, 2013, she wore cushion cuts with diamond studded hoops to Cheltenham, but this time, she was sporting the earrings in citrine.

Again, in March of 2015, she wore yet another version, choosing delicate morganites that glistened with almost perfect translucency, save for a tinge of pink that matched her McQueen maternity coat to perfection.

Kiki carries a breathtaking selection of stones that can be switched out with the diamond studded hoops. All these retail at the same price as Kate's green amethyst, £1,300.

If you want to kick it up a notch, Kiki McDonough offers three more exclusive stones at varying (higher) prices:

I think that is one of the reasons I love Kiki McDonough, aside from the breathtaking array of colors and shapes and creative styles, is that these investment pieces are affordable. Many of Kate's bespoke ensembles are far beyond most people's budget, but we all like to splurge a little on jewelry we'll treasure forever, and Kate (or William ;)) has patronized a brand that is actually affordable, without sacrificing quality or prestige. Kate has branched out into Kiki's pricier pieces, too, and I hope as time goes on we will see more from the stunning inventory at


  1. Excellent and lovely post!

  2. The Duchess of Yorknwas a fan of Kiki as well

  3. The idea of interchangeable stones attached to the diamond hoops is genius;
    all the designs are strikingly beautiful.

    The Duchess has worn some forgettable earrings over the years, but the Kiki McDonoughs are always a winner. Interesting on the price comparison too!

  4. I was surprised by the price comparison too. I would have though Style Rocks would be the less expensive - the Kiki's are much prettier. Wouldn't it be lovely to have Kate's selection of Kiki earrings? I love that they dress up or down!

  5. I was surprised by the cost difference also, can not believe any earring made with 9 ct gold cost over a few hundre dollars. If the stone is that valuable why would it not be made with 14 or 18 ct gold, the amount of gold on those earrings is pretty minimal and not hand made. Kikis are very pretty, I also love being able to change up the stone.

  6. The coat Kate wore for that first engagement was Katherine Hooker, not Walker. I'be seen her grey Katherine Hooker coat (from Garter & a Spencer wedding) described as a Walker too.

    Any chance if adding the blue Kiki hoops, Jane? I love all the her earrings but if I bought one pair I think it would be the hoops.

    1. The hoops are my favorite Kiki earrings (that Kate has worn). Every pair is beautiful, but the hoops photograph very well and look fantastic with an updo.

  7. Hi Jane- great post! I'm lucky enough to travel to London several times a year for work. This June I decided it was the time for a visit to Kiki. It's our 10th wedding anniversary this year and I have a husband who appreciates my love of Kate! Anyway.....I visited Kiki's store. The experience was fabulous. I had the entire place to myself and was treated like royalty. While Kiki was there, she wasn't specifically helping me, however she did comment as I tried on everything in their store. EVERYTHING. I ended up with two pairs of earrings, The Grace in blue topaz, and green amethyst drops from the white gold hoops. At first I thought they would be special occasion earrings, but I find myself wearing them everyday....and loving them. They are well made and I receive a ton of compliments every time I wear them. Maybe for our 20th I'll get a tiara, :)

    1. You're a lucky lady! And I don't blame you for wearing them everyday. :)

    2. Wonderful, Bethany! I've never visited Kiki's store and you've just convinced me to put it on my bucket list for the next trip over!

    3. Bethany: Interested to hear your story/anecdote!

  8. I like all of these, although they are way out of my price range, even for investment pieces. Of all of Kate’s earrings, I think I like the citrine drop earrings the best. I love the simplicity of the design, and I've always been partial to citrine and topaz gemstones.

  9. Good for you doing a piece highlighting Kiki McDonough's jewelry- I am smitten with her interchangable earring drops in semi-precious gemstones- the colors are beautiful and so much more spectacular in real life than the photos portray- for example the size of the pearl and cushion cut drops lush, very much a statement- I love the versatility, clean lines that highlight the stone.. dress up or down, mix and match - anyway, her shop and staff are charming, and whenever I can swing it I will add to my modest collection- once you have a set of loops, you can just purchase the drop itself- and build over time- kind of like a wardrobe capsule- classic and yet fresh

  10. Bonjour Jane ! Merci beaucoup pour votre blog que j'apprécie bien depuis plusieurs mois.
    Ce sujet est excellent, bravo pour le choix des photos superbes !
    Juste un léger regret : les dates sous les clichés auraient été parfaites.
    J'espère et j'attends d'autres thèmes équivalents, il y a l'embarras du choix : les jupes, les chapeaux, les broches et les colliers, les chaussures, les bottes, les sacs, les tenues de soirée, etc., etc. !!!
    J'adore cette idée sur un sujet précis, c'est parfait. Au plaisir de vous lire !

  11. Loved all of these. Just wonder if William has gifted Kate all of her Kiki earrings. I have read where Kate has said that William spoils her. So it would not surprise if had not purchased them for her.

  12. I'm in the minority. I respect the workmanship of the earrings and the value. I just find them too small and boring.


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