What happened to Princess Diana's jewellery?

Princess Diana didn’t mind a bit of bling.

Draping oneself in pricey jewellery is a royal tradition.

While the princess wasn’t a huge fan of the customs of the aristocracy, she was a fashionista.

There was always a story to be found in Diana’s life, including the story of her jewellery.

Adrian Dickens, a lecturer from the Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society, will give an illustrated talk on the jewels and clothing of the iconic princess.

The event will be held at Brough House in Maitland on Saturday.

“It’s very topical at the moment,” Friends of Grossman House chairwoman Helen Scott said, referring to the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death.

“She was such a modern, stylish woman – a bit like Jackie Onassis in a previous generation.

“She was so beautiful and she used the jewellery and top designer clothing to create this beautiful illusion of a princess and a fairytale.

“She had this lovely image. But, of course, then we found out what the reality was.”

The princess left her jewellery to her sons, so their future wives could wear it.

It was recently reported that Prince Harry was planning to turn his late mother’s emerald and diamond tiara into an engagement ring for his girlfriend Meghan Markle.

Diana had a lot of jewellery, but she was mostly associated with sapphires. The blue stones matched her eyes.

In mythology, the history of empires and sapphires are linked. Battles have been fought over the precious blue gems.

Helen said that jewellery enhances a woman’s beauty.

“Adrian Dickens has done a few talks that I’ve been to. One was on Elizabeth Taylor.

“She had the big bosom and the necklace dripping down into it. Jewellery shows off a woman’s assets, I suppose you could say.

“If they have a lovely neck, a beautiful necklace will enhance that. Jewellery can enhance your features, rather than just being an exercise in ‘gee I’m rich’.”

Princess Diana used jewellery to “accentuate her good features”, she said.

“But she looked equally as good in a swimsuit with her hair dripping wet, sitting on the bow of a yacht.”

Tickets for the talk and lunch are $30. Email iannhelen@bigpond.com or phone 0427 977 392 for details.

Sands of Time

Topics wrote on Monday about old coal rail lines uncovered at Nobbys beach.

These old rail tracks were used to cart sand from Nobbys after World War II.

These old rail tracks were used to cart sand from Nobbys after World War II.

These lines were exposed back in November 2014 during construction work on the Bather’s Way upgrade.

Jim Laing, of Jewells, said the lines were used to transport sand after World War II.

Jim, 91, worked there from around 1947 to 1950.

A lot of work had to be done after the war, ensuring infrastructure was returned to a certain standard.

“During the war, there was a lack of men,” Jim said.

He said the sand was used to make concrete to support railway tracks.

He had the job of ticketing the sand-filled wagons at Nobbys, before they were sent to various destinations.

“​I was a junior storeman. I was on the job for about three years doing that,” he said.

“Up in the country, sand was pretty hard to get to make concrete.”

Jim said the sand was taken from the back of the beach, where the dunes formed against the breakwater.

“The sand was hand-loaded with shovels.”

That sounds like back-breaking work. Environmentalists wouldn’t stand for the dunes being plundered like that in this day and age. But that was then and this is now.

Beer News

Back in the day, beer was beer. Blokes and sheilas drank it and that was that.

But things have changed. Beer drinkers have, apparently, had enough of corporate greed.

“An Australian study of 17,000 craft beer drinkers has revealed that ownership matters when it comes to beer selection, with a strong preference for independently owned breweries,”  the 2017 Australian Craft Beer Survey said.

“We’re seeing a consumer backlash when small breweries sell out to large corporations.”