Marilyn Monroe’s Ring
In 2016, we purchased the iconic dress Marilyn Monroe wore during her performance of “Happy Birthday” for President John F. Kennedy. At $4.81 million, it is the most expensive dress ever purchased at auction.
Since the dress is on tour, however, we decided to look into the Ripley’s vault for another piece of Marilyn history for this episode of Ripley’s Rarities.
This ring was worn on screen by Marilyn Monroe in the 1953 classic, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Though she is the titular blonde of the film, she actually played support to the movie’s brunette, Jane Russell.
The ring has a teardrop center-piece with a cut that creates a 7-pointed star within, and is surrounded by a ring of smaller features.
Despite being paid substantially less than her co-star, the character of Lorelei Lee helped cement Monroe as the blonde bombshell she’s known for today. The movie, which revolves heavily around diamonds and jewelry, also saw the famed performance of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” Executives initially wanted Monroe’s singing to be re-dubbed, but director Howard Hawks insisted her voice was perfect—though some high notes were recorded by Marni Nixon.
This song, which has become inseparable from the persona of Marilyn, is often performed by impersonators today, but the studio originally had something much more risqué in mind for the choreography. They wanted to dress Monroe in nothing but black bands of velvet and rhinestones, turning her into a woman-shaped necklace. Studio execs canned the idea fearing it would be too revealing.
The ring is one of many of Marilyn Monroe’s personal effects in our collection. Spread across our many odditoriums you can see her hair, sleepwear, stockings, slippers, shoes, letters, purse, scarf, makeup, hat, bikini, cardigan, stole, a number of dresses, and even her driver’s license!