The Personal Jewel Collection of Her Majesty The Queen, Queen Elizabeth II
One of the most well known families in the world is that of the Royals; The British Monarchy is one of the reigning Monarchs to ever live. If the palace walls could talk, many hidden stories and secrets would be revealed and one thing that Royal Watchers are keen on is a very valuable collection of jewels that Her Majesty The Queen possesses. Containing many tiaras, necklaces, earrings, brooches and parures, this treasured collection is known as The Queen’s Jewels (or The King’s Jewels).
The exact value of The Queen’s Jewels remains undetermined due to the fact that Her Majesty The Queen has never allowed a gemologist to study them, but the value is unquestionably great. One can imagine the extent value based on the jewels itself and the ties it has to the Royal Family.
A majority of the pieces found in this collection were brought to the United Kingdom from distant lands due to civil war, revolutions, or were given as gifts to the Monarch. The collection is passed down through the generations, dating as far back as the 16th century. Although male Monarchs added to the collection, many pieces were designed for female Monarchs.
Look into the Jewels:
The King George IV State Diadem
Also known as the “Diamond Diadem”, this diadem was made by the Royal Goldsmiths in 1820 for the coronation of George IV. Weighing 327.75 carats, this diadem contains 1333 diamonds and 169 pearls. The design of this diadem features floral symbols of England, Ireland and Scotland - roses, thistles and shamrocks. Queen Victoria wore it for her coronation in 1838; similarly, Queen Elizabeth II wore it at her coronation in 1953 and during the State Opening of Parliament.
The George III Tiara
Also known as the “Russian Fringe Tiara”, this circlet was made from many dazzling diamonds belonging to King George III in 1830. Originally, this was designed to be worn as a necklace, but in 1839 Queen Victoria transformed it into a beautiful tiara to be worn at the Royal Opera. Inherited by Queen Mary in 1910, this tiara was later given away to her daughter in law, Queen Elizabeth in 1937. A decade later, it was lent to the Queen’s daughter for her wedding.
The Vladimir Tiara
Sometimes referred to as the “Diamond and Pearl Tiara”, this Tiara was smuggled out of Russia by a British diplomat. It was later purchased by Queen Mary from Grand Duchess Elena Vladimirovna of Russia in 1921 for about £28,000. The Duchess had inherited it from her mother, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna. Queen Mary altered the tiara to have fifteen Cambridge cabochon emeralds attached to it in place of the teardrop pearls, but it can be easily readjusted to fit the pearls. Years later, Elizabeth II received this tiara directly from her grandmother.
The Burmese Ruby Tiara
This tiara was ordered by Queen Elizabeth II in 1973 from Garrard & Co. and was designed to look like a wreath of red roses. 96 Red rubies and gold form the heart of the roses, while diamonds and silver form the leaves. The rubies embedded in the tiara were a wedding gift from the Burmese people. The rubies represent the number of diseases they believe can affect the human body. The Burmese people believe that the wearer of the stones will be protected from illness and evil.
The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara
This tiara was purchased from Garrard & Co. and was presented as a gift to Queen Mary in 1893 from the girls of Great Britain and Ireland; Leslie Field described it as a “diamond festoon-and-scroll design”. As a wedding present, the Queen gave the tiara to her granddaughter (the future Queen Elizabeth II) in 1947. The Princess (Queen Elizabeth II) wrote a thank you letter to her grandmother dated July 4th, 1893 saying:
“I need scarcely assure you that the tiara will ever be one of my most valued wedding gifts, as a precious proof of your goodwill and affection”
The Russian Kokoshnik Tiara
On behalf of 365 peeresses of the United States, this tiara was given to Princess Alexandra of Whales in 1888 by Lady Salisbury. Like many of the other jewels in the collection, Garrard & Co. created this with 61 platinum bars and 488 diamonds; the Princess wanted the tiara to mirror a Russian girl’s headdress, known as a kokoshnik.
Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara
In 1914, Garrard & Co. was requested by Queen Mary to recreate a copy of a tiara that was owned by her grandmother, Princess Augusta of Hesse-Casse. The design was slightly altered using pearls and diamonds that she already possessed and consisted of 19 openwork diamond frames; each frame is placed below a lovers knot bow. As Queen Mary passed, her will addressed that the tiara should be given to her granddaughter, Elizabeth II. Years later, the tiara was given to Princess Diana, Princess of Whales as a wedding gift, but was returned after her divorce with Prince Charles.
Princess Andrew of Greece’s Meander Tiara
This tiara was presented as a wedding gift to the then Princess Elizabeth from her mother-in-law Princess Andrew of Greece and Denmark. The tiara features the classic Greek “key pattern” containing a large diamond in the centre and fenced by diamond wreaths of leaves and scrolls. The Queen had never worn it in public, but around 1972 she gifted it to Princess Anne. Princess Anne had worn it numerous times in public and had lent it recently (July 2011) to her daughter Zara Phillips for her wedding.
1936 Cartier Halo Tiara
King George VI purchased this tiara for his Duchess. With a strong French influence, it was created with scrolls that joined in the centre held by a brilliant diamond. The Queen’s daughter, Princess Margaret borrowed the tiara and wore it during the 1953 Coronation. Princess Margaret’s sister, Princess Elizabeth (later Elizabeth II) was presented this tiara as a gift from her mother on her 18th birthday and years later lent it to her daughter, Princess Anne. On April 29th, 2011 the tiara was lent to Catherine Middleton for her marriage to Prince William.
Queen Victoria’s Stud Earrings
These earrings are a pair of fairly large brilliant diamonds that are perfectly matched and were often worn as studs. Queen Victoria wore it in a portrait in 1873 and Queen Elizabeth II also wore them in 1961.
Diamond Pear Drop Earrings
Made with gold and diamonds, these earrings consist of two large diamond studs and a larger pear shaped diamond on the bottom. The Queen had them made from family stones, which she then lent to Princess Diana during her first official visit to Australia in 1983.
The King George VI Chandelier Earrings
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth presented Princess Elizabeth with these long chandelier earrings as a wedding gift in 1947. They feature every cut of diamonds and are divided into three drops. When the princess received the earrings, she did not have her ears pierced and so when she actually wore the earrings, doctors and jewelers noticed a heavy rise in numbers of women who wanted to get their ears pierced.
King George had inherited 239 loose diamonds and as time passed, he decided to use them in a piece of jewelry. In 1947 he commissioned a necklace to be made with three strands, containing about 105 of the brilliant diamonds and to have a triangular motif on ether side. Queen Elizabeth II wore this necklace to a Gala.
King Faisel of Saudi Arabia Necklace
Queen Elizabeth II obtained this necklace as a gift in 1967 from King Faisel of Saudi Arabia when he visited England. It was made by Harry Winston as a fringe necklace and was fixed with brilliant and baguette diamonds. Before his departure, King Faisel hosted a banquet in honour of the Queen and to show her appreciation, she wore the necklace. Like the Diamond Pear Drop Earrings, the Queen had also lent this necklace to Princess Diana on her state visit to Australia in 1983.
The King Khalid of Saudi Arabia Necklace
Like the King Faisel of Saudi Arabia Necklace, Harry Winston also made this necklace and it was given to the Queen in 1979 from King Khalid of Saudi Arabia. The necklace’s design is like a sunray and features many round and pear shaped diamonds. The Queen frequently lent this necklace to Princess Diana.
The Queen Anne and Queen Caroline Pearl Necklaces
Said to be worth over £4,000,000, these necklaces are single-rowed with large graduated pearls and clasp. It is believed that the Queen Anne Necklace belonged to Queen Anne, whereas Queen Caroline had worn her necklace to her coronation. As a wedding present from her father, both of these necklaces were given to Princess Elizabeth in 1947. On November 20 1947, the Princess realized that she had forgotten her pearls at St. James’s Palace, and asked her Private Secretary John Colville to fetch them for her. Seeing as the Princess really wanted to wear these pearls, Colville tried his best to get the pearls for her. After explaining everything to the guards, he was able to return the pearls to the Princess just in time for her portrait in the Music Room in Buckingham Palace.
“Granny’s Chips” – Cullinan III & IV
This brooch is made from several cut stones from the Cullinan Diamond in 1905. The diamond was found in South Africa and was given to Edward VII on his birthday. One of the diamonds was 94.4 carats and pear shaped, while the other was 63.6 carat and was in the shape of a cushion. Queen Mary had the stones made into a brooch and in 1953 Queen Elizabeth II inherited it. This brooch is the most valuable brooch in the world, estimating a value of over £50,000,000.
Queen Victoria’s Bow Brooches
As requested by Queen Victoria in 1858, Garrard & Co. made three large bow brooches that comprised of more than 506 diamonds. There is no record proving that the Queen herself had worn them, but Queens Alexandra, Mary and Elizabeth were seen wearing them frequently. The brooches are often modified to accommodate a large pearl or emerald diamond drop. In 1989, it was estimated that the set had a value of £225,000.
The Prince Albert Sapphire Brooch
On February 9, 1840, the day before their wedding, Prince Albert had given Queen Victoria this brooch as a gift at Buckingham Palace. It has a beautiful large oblong perfect blue sapphire bordered by twelve round diamonds. The weight of the sapphire has never been distinguished, but the size was estimated to be around 20-30 carats. Queen Alexandra wore the brooch for her coronation in 1902 and the brooch was often seen being worn by Queen Mary. An estimated value of the brooch is around £4,000,000.
As a coronation gift to Elizabeth II, in 1953 the President and the people of Brazil gave her a necklace and matching earrings of aquamarines and diamonds. This necklace contains nine large oblong aquamarines with a much bigger aquamarine pendant drop. The Queen adored the gift so much that she had a matching tiara made in 1957. The tiara showcases three vertically set aquamarines. The Queen was surprised when in August 1958, another gift of a matching aquamarine bracelet was presented to her from the Brazilian Government. This bracelet has seven oblong aquamarines and a cluster of diamonds and also came with a brooch to match.
The George VI Victorian Suite
George VI gifted his daughter, Princess Elizabeth, with the George VI Victorian Suite on her wedding day in 1947. The suite contains a necklace of oblong sapphires framed by diamonds and a pair of matching earrings. The stones’ colour perfectly matched the colour of the Order of the Garter. In order to shorten the necklace, Elizabeth had the largest sapphire removed in 1952 and seven years later, she had a new pendant made using the same sapphire. In 1963 a matching tiara and bracelet were made for the Queen.
Queen Victoria’s Collet Necklace and Earrings
Queen Victoria commissioned this set in 1858 using diamonds from an old Garter badge. The necklace alone consists of twenty-nine collet diamonds weighing 161 carats; the pendant on the necklace is a famous stone named the Lahore Diamond, which weighs 22.48 carats. The earrings are small and contain pear like diamond drops, which were from a ruby necklace that she had in her possession.
The Coronation Coronets
Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were given coronets in 1937 before the coronation of their parents. Prior to the event, beautiful coronets of gold lined with crimson and ermine were designed by the crown jeweler for the royal couple to inspect. The royal couple decided that the coronets should be silver with a mediaeval design and as a result these were the coronets that were made and given to the Princesses.
Mary of Teck Turquoise Parure
This parure was given to Princess Mary of Teck (Queen Mary) by her parents during her engagement to George V in 1893. The parure consisted of a tiara, earrings, a necklace and a few other pieces. The tiara contains diamonds and turquoise and is assembled to look like rococo scrolls and a sunburst centre piece. The central part of the tiara contains the largest turquoise and is surrounded by diamonds and pear-like turquoise stones. Like many of the earrings in the Queen’s Collection, these earrings are drops and designed to match the tiara. The necklace is long with twenty-six turquoise and diamond clusters. The other pieces of the set include: a suite, a bangle, three bow-brooches, two collets, four-row chain bracelets, a ring and a pair of fancy clusters, all made to match.