Most would assume that Marilyn Monroe owned many pieces of jewelry, full of diamonds, gems, and pearls. She did get to wear a lot of jewelry–being a major Hollywood star, she was often given jewelry to wear on loan at no cost by jewelers who wanted to use her for promotional ends.
The truth is, Marilyn Monroe only ever owned two pieces of authentic high-end jewelry, and both of those were gifts from her husband Joe DiMaggio. One piece was a 16-inch Akoya necklace, a strand of Mikimoto brand pearls from Japan, which he bought her on their honeymoon. The other was a diamond and platinum Eternity Band that she was given by Joe on their wedding day (their marriage only lasted 9 months). This sparkly and opulent ring, which was both Marilyn’s engagement and wedding ring at the same time, was set with 35 baguette-cut diamonds. In 1999, Christie’s auctioned off this ring for $772,500 even though it was missing a diamond. The pre-auction estimate: $30,000 to $50,000.
The necklace was given to Marilyn’s good friend Paula Strasberg, wife of her acting coach Lee Strasberg, after her divorce from Joe; Paula’s daughter Susan returned it to Mikimoto in 1998 and it’s been on display ever since.
Marilyn and Joe dated for two years. Then, on January 12, 1954, Joe proposed to Marilyn, and a few days later they went to San Francisco’s City Hall to get married in a secret, very private ceremony to which they only invited six guests. News of the wedding was leaked to the press, and instead of just six guests more than a hundred adoring fans, journalists, and photographers showed up to the ceremony. Marilyn’s dress was a simple chocolate gown, while Joe sentimentally wore the same tie he wore on their first date along with a simple blue suit.
All of the other jewelry Marilyn Monroe ever owned was just costume jewelry. She always remained a simple gal named Norma Jean Mortenson in her heart.