Friday, July 26, 2013

The Queen’s Jewelry

In the history of jewelry, the kings and queens of England have owned some of the most amazing pieces of fine jewelry. Queen Elizabeth continues to keep priceless jewels in unforgettable settings in her personal collection.

Many of the pieces in the Queen’s collection have been given to her or to previous royals as gifts. Other pieces have been won in battles over the centuries. The Queen’s personal collection of jewels is different from the jewels that belong to the collection of the British Crown Jewels. Often, when the Queen travels out of the country, she wears pieces from her personal collection, especially since the Crown Jewels are not allowed to leave the country.

Iconic Diadems and Tiaras

One of the oldest pieces in her collection of jewels is the Diamond Diadem, which is also called the George IV State Diadem. This piece was created in 1820 and includes over 1,300 diamonds weighing just over 325 carats. It also has over 160 pearls on the base. The diadem is a crown consisting of roses, shamrocks, and thistles, which were designed to represent the three countries in the UK: England, Ireland, and Scotland. This diadem has been worn by several monarchs, including Queen Victoria and Elizabeth II. The crown has been featured on important documents, photographs, money, and postage stamps.

Another diadem that has been a part of the royal collection is the George III tiara. This tiara was designed in 1830 and it was originally designed to be worn by Queens Consorts, as a collar or necklace. This tiara was made by diamonds that were a part of George III’s collection.

The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara is another iconic piece. This tiara has been in teh collection since 1893 when it was given to Queen Mary by the girls bearing the same name as the tiara. Mary then gave the tiara to Elizabeth at her wedding. This tiara has large pearls on diamond spikes and it is one of the Queen’s favorites.

Setting the Trend for Earrings

In 1947, Queen Elizabeth received a pair of earrings called the George VI Chandelier earrings. They have three drops with every cut of diamond available at the time. Interestingly, since Elizabeth was still a princess, she did not have her ears pierced and could not wear the jewels. Once she pierced her ears, ear piercing became popular all over the world.

The Billion Dollar Brooch

Not surprisingly, Queen Elizabeth is the owner of the most valuable brooch in the entire world. The Cullinan III and Cullinan IV, known playfully as Granny’s Chips,” were cut from the diamond called Cullinan. In 1905, this diamond was given to Edward VII and then the diamond was divided in two. The pear-shaped Cullinan III weighs in at 94.4 carats and the cushion-cut Cullinan IV is 63.6 carats. The diamonds were put into one brooch with the Cullinan IV at the top and the III hanging below it. At this time, the brooch is valued over $70 billion.

There are several other pieces in the Queen’s collection, from more diadems and tiaras to brooches, coronets, necklaces, and parures. It sure does pay to be the Queen!

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