Jeweler Reveals How Meghan Markle's 'Unexpected' Style Differs from 'Classic' Kate Middleton

"Kate is more traditional, classic and refined, where as I feel Meghan is a little more unexpected and youthful with her choices," jeweler Pippa Small tells PEOPLE

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Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton might have access to one of the most enviable jewelry boxes in the world, but the way in which they wear their gems is distinctly different.

“Kate is more traditional, classic and refined, where as I feel Meghan is a little more unexpected and youthful with her choices,” jeweler Pippa Small tells PEOPLE. “And to see how they wear these heritage pieces is wonderful.”

Arriving in Sydney in October for her and Prince Harry‘s royal tour, Meghan chose to wear a pair of jewel-encrusted butterfly earrings and a gold bracelet that once belonged to Princess Diana to their first engagement.

“That was a beautiful symbol and a lovely gesture,” says Small. “She made them look totally contemporary, and it really showed the emotional value of jewelry.”

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London-based Small, renowned for her luxury, ethically sourced gems, was a favorite of Meghan’s during the recent royal tour of Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga. There, she wore numerous pieces from Small’s collection, including bracelets from a collaboration with Turquoise Mountain, a charity associated with her father-in-law, Prince Charles. Kate also wore a pair of the jeweler’s “Kite” gold earrings on tour in Canada back in 2016.

Not only does Kate wear the sapphire engagement ring that once belonged to Diana, but she was also given a matching pair of sapphire and diamond earrings from her late mother-in-law. Kate modernized from double sapphire studs to a more simple drop earring style.

“It’s a very emotional thing, to take something Diana has worn, that has been close to her and give it to these women that they love, but it’s also another message of just not always buying new,” notes Small from her Notting Hill studio.

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Meghan was loaned the Queen Mary Diamond bandeau tiara by Queen Elizabeth for her wedding day in May – but other than that, she has yet to wear any other pieces from the royal vaults. Kate, often required to attend formal diplomat events, has in comparison worn several tiaras (her go-to being Diana’s favorite, the Cambridge Lovers’ Knot Tiara) and the Queen has even loaned her a diamond bracelet gifted to her by Prince Philip on their wedding day.

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There’s no doubt that whatever jewels are passed over to Meghan, she wears them well. With an engagement ring that also features two diamonds from Diana’s collection, Meghan was also gifted Diana’s stunning Aquamarine ring from Asprey, which she wore to her wedding party at Frogmore House and again on tour, both times against a simple white dress.

“The clothes she wears really frame the jewelry and give it a different context which makes it feel very relevant – that’s quite a feat,” says Small.

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