the crown jewels

A Jewelry Collection Fit for a Princess

Pink pearls and sterling silver decorate the Charlotte Elizabeth Diana collection at My London Flat.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen May 14, 2015

A sterling silver baby rattle from 1910 accents an opera-length string of pearls in My London Flat's new Charlotte Elizabeth Diana collection.

Suzy Mueller Smith was a college freshman in Washington, DC, when she met her idol, Princess Diana.

"She came to Washington with Prince Charles and they put her itinerary in the newspaper, so I just kept going to events, wearing the Diana sweater with the sheep and the Peter Pan collar," says Smith, the owner of My London Flat in Upper Kirby. After waiting with a small group near one of the royal outings, a secret service officer told Smith that the princess was going to walk over, only to have a 5-year-old girl slip past her and give Diana flowers.

"I knew I had to let the little girl in front of me and be polite but I was devastated. Diana turned around and walked away, and I said, 'Your Royal Highness, wait, I have to meet you!' and she came back turned around stuck out her hand and said hello, and of course I burst into tears. She just started laughing, it was so cute."

Three decades and one seven-year residence in London later, Smith is still a little bit obsessed with the royal family. 

"[When the baby was born this month] I literally sent out 'It's a Girl!' texts to everyone I knew—some people thought I was pregnant," says Smith. "Everyone kept speculating about the name, that it would be Alice, but I knew that William would include Diana. He has her gentleness about him and he looks like his mother. I knew he was going to honor her in some way."

To celebrate the newest princess Smith has designed a new jewelry collection, appropriately named the Charlotte Elizabeth Diana collection. Before the littlest royal even made her arrival, Smith had fashioned a pair of necklaces—one in abalone pearls with a blue tint and one in pink pearls. The rest of the collection focuses on the pale pink pearls, accented with vintage sterling silver diaper pins from the 1950s and, in one instance, a beautifully intricate, century-old baby rattle in sterling silver.

"A two-year-old would rip it to shreds, but if someone just had a baby it's a lovely gift to give," says Smith. "This is kind of timeless—pearls, sterling silver—it's very refined but very hip. Everybody's doing a tassel from a long necklace, so why not an antique sterling baby rattle?"

The latest collection is perfectly placed in Smith's shop, where she's lately been focusing more on jewelry and accessories with vintage pedigree in addition to her selection of British and French antiques. Smith also has a Princess Diana collection of necklaces featuring re-imagined brooches and belt buckles, and any piece with the royal crescent in it is named after Lady Louise, Princess Sophie's daughter, who was born around the same time that Smith was pregnant with her own son in London.

The Charlotte Elizabeth Diana collection starts at $195 and goes up to $450 for the opera-length necklaces.

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