Cape Town - Although Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters nabbed the Miss Universe crown in the early hours of Monday morning just like Margaret Gardiner did in 1978, it doesn’t mean that the two beauties donned the same crown.
Demi-Leigh was crowned with the Mikimoto crown in 2017. Made in Japan by official jewellers for the pageant, it’s thought to be one of the most beautiful Miss Universe crowns ever made.
It features a phoenix rising from ashes and symbolises status, power and beauty. It consists of 500 diamonds of roughly 30 karats each. There are also about 120 sea pearls set into the masterpiece. The crown, which is worth about $250 000 (R3.5 million), was used for the first time in 2002.
Since the pageant was first held in 1952 there have been 10 different Miss Universe crowns.
Romanov Imperial Nuptial Crown
The very first Miss Universe crown was used in 1952, and is known as the Romanov Imperial Nuptial Crown. It had previously belonged to the Russian star and boasts more than 1 500 diamonds.
The Christiane Martel crown
In 1953 a crown of bronze metal was presented to the winner, Miss France, Christiane Martel. It remains one of the most unusual crowns ever used as it didn’t feature a single diamond or crystal.
The Star of the Universe crown
A dazzling crown with a star on the top was used from 1954 to 1960. The crown consisted of about 1 000 pearls set in gold and platinum. It weighed about 500g and is worth an estimated $500 000 (R7 million).
The 10th anniversary crown
A special crown was used to mark the 10th anniversary of the pageant. It was the first one to consist of rhinestones. The crown, which was light yellow in colour, was only used in 1961 and 1962 when Marlene Schmidt of Germany and Norma Nolan of Argentina were the respective winners.
The Sarah Coventry crown
The crown which features a women’s silhouette in the middle is considered the most famous crown of the pageant. It’s also known as “The Lady” or the “The Queen’s Crown”. Iêda Maria Vargas of Brazil was the Miss Universe to wear the crown for the first time. It was used until 1972.
The Candelabra crown
The crown which was used from 1973 until 2001 is similar to the Sarah Coventry crown but has a more comfortable fit. The female silhouette although more subtle and finer remained part of the design. It was worn for the last time by Denise Quiñones, Miss Puerto Rico, and was also used to crown South Africa’s own Margaret Gardiner.
The Mikimoto crown was used from 2002 until 2007 when the Sarah Coventry sponsorship came to an end.
The CAO fine jewellery crown
Used for the first time in 2008 it consisted of more than 1 000 rare gems, of which 44 were diamonds. The stones varied between white and light pink and a light cognac colour and were set in 18 karat white and yellow gold. The crown is worth an estimated $120 000 (R1.6 million).
The Freedom Crown
From 2009 until 2013 the crown, made with synthetic stones, was used. But the 1 371 stones were 416 karats. White gold and platinum were used to create the crown and the robin set in the middle of the crown symbolised the pageant’s commitment to fighting the HIV/Aids epidemic.
The Diamond International Corporation crown
The crown, which was made by the Diamond International Corporation, is worth about $300 000 (R4.2 million). It was used for the first time when Paulina Vega of Columbia won the title. It reportedly took more than 3 000 hours to make the crown, which features 311 pieces of diamonds. Five pieces of blue topaz, 33 pieces of crystal and blue sapphire and 220g of gold are also part of the crown.