The Queen's Jewels (or the King's Jewels, when the monarch is male) are a historic collection of jewels owned personally by the monarch of the Commonwealth realms; currently Elizabeth II. The jewels are separate from the British Crown Jewels. The origin of a royal jewel collection distinct from the official crown jewels is vague, though it is thought that the jewels have their origin somewhere in the sixteenth century. Many of the pieces are from far away lands which were brought back to the United Kingdom as a result of civil war, coups and revolutions, or acquired as gifts to the monarch.
The official Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom are only worn at coronations (St. Edward's Crown being used to crown the monarch) and the State Opening of Parliament (the Imperial State Crown). On other formal occasions tiaras are worn. When Her Majesty The Queen goes abroad she wears at formal events a tiara from her personal collection.
There has never been a large scale valuation of the royal family’s personal collection of jewels. In 1989, Mr Laurence Krashes, for sixteen years the senior assessor to Harry Winston, attempted to make one. Its worth is dubious as he was denied access to any of the jewels and his valuations of their worth are strictly guess work. The Queen has never allowed any gemological study of her collection. Krashes assessment was based on the cut, setting and quality of the stones from pictures and records. Sales of jewellery from the estate of the late Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon fetched higher than expected prices due to their royal connection.
Unlike the British Crown jewels which mainly date from the accession of King Charles II, the jewels in the Queen's personal collection are not crown regalia, or insignia of state. Most pieces in the collection were designed for female monarchs or consorts, although some male monarchs have also contributed to the collection. Some of the pieces from far away lands were brought back to the United Kingdom as a result of civil war and revolutions. In more recent years the monarch has worn pieces of the collection as head of state of her Commonwealth realms as the removal of the British Crown Jewels from the United Kingdom is prohibited. Elizabeth II can be seen wearing jewels from her personal collection in official portraits in her capacity as Queen of Australia, Canada and New Zealand (see external links).
The House of Hanover disputeEdit
In 1714 when the Stuart line was forced to abandon the Throne, the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Hanover both came to be ruled in personal union by the British monarchs of the House of Hanover. Early Hanoverian monarchs were careful to keep the respective heirlooms separate. George III gave half his British heirlooms to his bride, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, as a wedding present. In her will, Charlotte left the jewels to the 'House of Hanover'. In the meantime the Kingdom of Hanover adopted the Salic Laws, stipulating that succession descended only through males. Thus when Victoria acceded to the throne of the United Kingdom, Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale, became King of Hanover. King Ernest demanded a portion of the jewelry, not only as the monarch of Hanover but also as the son of Queen Charlotte. Victoria flatly declined, claiming that the jewels had been bought with British money. Ernest's son George V of Hanover continued to press the claim. Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, suggested she make a financial settlement with the Hanoverian monarch to keep the jewels, but the Parliament of the United Kingdom informed the Queen they would neither purchase the jewels nor loan funds for the purpose. A Parliamentary commission was set up to investigate the matter, and in 1857 they found in favour of the House of Hanover. On 28 January 1858 the jewels were handed to the Hanoverian Ambassador, Count Kielmansegge.
Diadems and tiarasEdit
The King George IV State DiademEdit
The George III TiaraEdit
See: The George III Tiara
Queen Mary Fringe TiaraEdit
The Vladimir TiaraEdit
The Burmese Ruby TiaraEdit
The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland TiaraEdit
The Russian Kokoshnik TiaraEdit
Cambridge Lovers Knot TiaraEdit
Princess Andrew of Greece's Meander TiaraEdit
See: Meander Tiara
1936 Cartier Halo TiaraEdit
Queen Victoria's Stud EarringsEdit
A pair of large, perfectly matched brilliant cut diamonds which Queen Victoria had set as ear studs.
Diamond Pear Drop EarringsEdit
A set of gold and diamond earrings consisting of two large brilliant diamonds as the studs, below a smaller brilliant followed by a large pear shaped diamond drop. The diamonds were family stones. Diana, Princess of Wales borrowed them from Queen Elizabeth in 1983 during her first official visit to Australia. At a banquet she wore the earrings along with a tiara of her family's collection.
The King George VI Chandelier EarringsEdit
These earrings are long chandelier earrings consisting of every cut of diamond. The earrings end in three large drops displaying every known modern cut of diamond. They were a wedding present in 1947 to Princess Elizabeth from her father and mother, the King and Queen. Elizabeth was not able to wear them until she had her ears pierced. When it was noticed that she had had her ears pierced doctors and jewellers found themselves inundated with women anxious to have their ears pierced too. Elizabeth was ordered to have her ears pierced as a young adult, which in today's world would be becoming age 10. Women in Great Britain followed her lead of elegance.
In 1947, George VI commissioned a three strand diamond necklace containing over 150 brilliant cut diamonds to get rid of some of the loose diamonds he had inherited. The necklace consists of three small rows of diamonds with a triangle motif. The minimum weight of this necklace is 170 carats (34 g).
The Queen Mother's Collet NecklaceEdit
For the coronation of her husband, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother wore Queen Victoria's collet necklace along with a much larger one. Details of the necklace weight have not been disclosed. It is clear from photos that this necklace contains approximately 45 large diamond collets.
King Faisal of Saudi Arabia NecklaceEdit
Given to the Queen in 1967 by King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, the necklace is a fringe necklace in design and is set with brilliant and baguette diamonds. Made by Harry Winston, King Faisal bought the necklace and presented it to her on a state visit to the United Kingdom in 1967. The Queen wore this necklace when King Faisal gave a banquet in honour of Elizabeth in the Dorchester hotel before his departure. The Queen also loaned this necklace to Diana, Princess of Wales during a state visit to Australia in 1983.
The King Khalid of Saudi Arabia NecklaceEdit
Another gift from Saudi Arabia this necklace was given to the Queen by King Khalid of Saudi Arabia in 1979, the necklace is of the sunray design and contains round and pear shaped diamonds. The necklace was also made by Harry Winston and often loaned to Diana, Princess of Wales by the Queen.
The Queen Anne and Queen Caroline Pearl NecklacesEdit
The pearls together are estimated at over £4,000,000 for the pair. Both necklaces consist of a single row of large graduated pearls with pearl clasps. The Queen Anne necklace is said to have belonged to Queen Anne, the last British monarch of the Stuart dynasty. Horace Walpole wrote in his diary: "Queen Anne had but few jewels and those indifferent, except one pearl necklace given to her by Prince George". Queen Caroline on the other hand had a great deal of valuable jewellery including no less than four fine pearl necklaces. She wore all of her pearl necklaces to her coronation but afterwards had the fifty finest selected to make one larger necklace. In 1947 both necklaces were given to then Princess Elizabeth by her father as a wedding present. On 20 November 1947, the day the then Princess Elizabeth was to get married to Prince Philip, she realised she had left her pearls at St James's Palace. Elizabeth particularly wished to wear the pearls and asked her Private Secretary John Colville to travel there to retrieve them. Colville ended up in the quadrangle where he commandeered Haakon VII of Norway's big Daimler. Traffic that morning had stopped so even the King of Norway's car with its royal flag flying could not get anywhere. Colville continued his journey to the palace on foot. When he arrived there he had to explain his odd story to the guards who were now guarding the Princess's over 2,660 wedding presents. After finding the Private Secretary's name on a wedding programme they admitted him and Colville was able to get the pearls to the Princess in time for her portrait in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace.
"Granny's Chips" - Cullinan III & IVEdit
Known as "Granny's Chips", the Cullinan III and Cullinan IV were two of several stones cut from the Cullinan Diamond in 1905. The large diamond found in South Africa was presented to Edward VII on his birthday. Two of the stones cut from the diamond were the 94.4-carat (18.9 g) Cullinan III, a clear pear shaped stone. The other a 63.6-carat (12.7 g) cushion shaped stone. Queen Mary had these stones made into a brooch with the Cullinan IV hanging from the III. Elizabeth II inherited the piece from her grandmother in 1953. The brooch is the most valuable brooch in the world with a value of over £50,000,000.
Queen Victoria's Bow BroochesEdit
Commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1858, Garrards made a set of three large bow brooches containing more 506 diamonds. There is no record or picture of Queen Victoria ever wearing them; Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and the Queen were seen wearing them frequently. The brooches are often adjusted to contain a large pearl or emerald diamond drop. Queen Mary was pictured on more than one occasion with the Lesser-Cullinan diamonds as the drops. Estimated at £75,000 each by Mr Krashes in 1989, resulting in an approximate value for the set of £225,000.
The Prince Albert Sapphire BroochEdit
The Prince Albert sapphire brooch was given by Prince Albert to Queen Victoria at Buckingham Palace on 9 February 1840. It was the day before their wedding and Queen Victoria wrote in her diary that Albert came to her sitting room and gave her 'a beautiful sapphire and diamond brooch. The centre stone is a large oblong perfect blue sapphire surrounded by twelve round diamonds.
The carat weight of the Sapphire has never been disclosed but by the size it is estimated to be around 20-30 Carats. The current price per carat of a unique sapphire is in the range of £120,000 this results in a price range from around £4 Million not taking in too account its status as being Royaly owned which would no doubt add much more to the price.
The Brazil Parure is one of the most modern jewels in the collection. In 1953 the President and people of Brazil presented Elizabeth II with the coronation gift of a necklace and matching pendant earings of aquamarines and diamonds. It had taken an entire year to collect the perfectly matched stones. The necklace consists of nine large oblong aquamarines with an even bigger aquamarine pendant drop. The Queen has since had the drop set in a more decorative diamond cluster and it is now detachable. Her Majesty was so delighted with the gift that in 1957 she had a matching tiara made. The tiara is surmounted by three vertically set aquamarines. In August 1958 the Brazilian Government added to their gift by presenting the Queen with a bracelet of seven oblong aquamarines set in a cluster of diamonds and a square aquamarine and diamond brooch to match.
The George VI Victorian SuiteEdit
The George VI Victorian Suite was originally a wedding present by George VI to his daughter Princess Elizabeth in 1947. The suite consists of a long necklace of oblong sapphires surrounded by diamonds and a pair of matching square sapphire earrings also bordered with diamonds. The suite was originally made in 1850. The colour of the stones exactly matched the colour of the robes of the Order of the Garter, although this may have been a coincidence on George's part. In 1952 Elizabeth had the largest sapphire of the necklace removed in order to shorten it. In 1959 she had a new pendant made using the removed stone. When Noël Coward saw the Queen wearing the suite at the Royal Command Performance in 1954 he wrote: "After the show we were lined up and presented to the Queen, Prince Philip and Princess Margaret. The Queen looked luminously lovely and was wearing the largest sapphires I have ever seen". In 1963 a new sapphire and diamond tiara and bracelet were made to match the original pieces. In 1969, the Queen wore the complete parure when she and the Duke of Edinburgh attended a charity concert.
Queen Victoria's Collet Necklace and EarringsEdit
Commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1858 from the diamonds from an old Garter badge this necklace and earrings were first seen in the Queen's Winterhalter portrait. The necklace consists of twenty-nine collet diamonds adding up to a weight of over 160 carats (32 g) of diamonds. The necklace contains a famous stone as the pendant named the Lahore Diamond which weights 22.48 carats (4.50 g). The earrings are of typical design, large brilliant followed by a smaller one, with a large pear shaped drop.
The Coronation CoronetsEdit
In 1937 before the coronation of their parents, it was decided that the princesses Elizabeth and Margaret should receive coronets to wear during the event. Elaborate coronets of gold lined with crimson and edged with ermine were designed by the crown jeweller and brought to the royal couple for inspection. The king and queen decided the coronets were too cumbersome and too ornate to be appropriate. Queen Mary suggested the coronets be simple circlets of silver gilt in a mediaeval style. The king agreed and the two coronets were designed with Maltese crosses and fleur-de-lys. After the coronation Queen Mary wrote "Lilibet [Elizabeth] and Margaret looked too sweet in their lace dresses and robes, especially when they put on their coronets.
The Gloucester JewelsEdit
The collection known as the “Gloucester Jewels” is mainly the collection of jewels given to Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, upon her engagement. In August 1935, Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott, the daughter of the 7th Duke of Buccleuch, became engaged to Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester. On the announcement of the soon to be marriage wedding gifts were poured onto the happy couple. After her death the current Duchess of Gloucester has worn every parure known to have been given to her late mother-in-law Princess Alice.
Mary of Teck Turquoise ParureEdit
The Queen Mary turquoise parure was given to the young Princess Mary of Teck (Queen Mary) by her parents the Duke and Duchess of Teck when she became engaged to the future George V in 1893. During the beginning of the 20th century turquoise was a very fashionable stone and Queen Mary was aware of the Duchess's fondness of them. The parure consisted of:
A diamond and turquoise tiara arranged as rococo scrolls and a sunburst centre piece. The centre of the tiara contains the largest turquoise in the piece surrounds by a “burst” of diamonds and turquoise pear shaped stones, quite similar to the famous Persian tiaras of Empress Farah of Iran.
The Teck turquoise earrings are a set of diamond drop earrings with a turquoise centre surrounded by 13 diamond brilliants and a pear shaped turquoise drop, in the middle of diamond scrolls.
A long necklace of twenty-six turquoise and diamond clusters. This necklace was given to Queen Mary's mother Princess Mary Adelaide and was worn at her first debutante review at Buckingham Palace.
Other pieces given to the Duchess of Gloucester that not much is known about most likely they are pieces commissioned by her husband,
A diamond & turquoise suite, a diamond & turquoise and gold bangle, two diamond and turquoise bow-brooches, a smaller diamond and turquoise bow-brooch with diamond and turquoise tassel, two alternate diamond and turquoise collets, four-row chain bracelets with diamond wheat-ear on turquoise background snaps, a turquoise and diamond ring and a pair of turquoise and fancy cluster earrings.