We are deeply saddened by the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Born on April 21st 1926, until her passing on 8th September 2022, aged 96, Queen Elizabeth II led an extraordinary life. Crowned Queen on 2nd June 1953, Queen Elizabeth II reigned for 70 years, making her the UKs longest reigning monarch.
We dedicate the following blog post to Her Majesty, and her beautiful jewellery collection.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, (Image from www.gov.uk).
On the way to her coronation, Her Majesty wore the George IV State Diadem, which you may recognise as it is the crown depicted on postage stamps. It features shamrocks, thistles and roses and is encrusted with 1,333 diamonds and 169 pearls.
Once Her Majesty arrived in St Edwards Chair (used at every coronation since its creation in 1300 for Edward I) she then wore, what might be considered the country’s most famous and important piece of regalia: St Edward’s Crown. The solid gold crown was designed in 1161, and weighs a substantial 4lb 12oz. She also adorned a beautiful ornate Orb and the Coronation Ring – also known as “The wedding ring of England”.
Returning to the Palace, The Queen wore a third crown – perhaps the most fascinating of all her collection. Dating back to the 15th century, the Imperial State Crown demonstrates through the use of closed arch design that the “the country was closed to any other earthly power apart from that of their rule” according to the Royal Collection Trust. This crown features a purple velvet cap, and ermine band. It was originally made for the coronation of King George VI in 1937.
You may recognise the Imperial State Crown from Her Majesty's funeral today (Monday 19th September 2022), as it sat on top of her coffin, alongside an Orb and Spectre.
The Cullinan Diamond
Discovered in South Africa, on 26th January 1905.
It was named after the discoverer of the mine, Sir Thomas Major Cullinan. From this magnificent stone 9 major and 96 smaller diamonds were cut, leaving behind 9.5cts of unpolished fragments. The 9 major stones were names Cullinan I through to Cullinan IV.
The Cullinan Diamond is to date the largest rough diamond on record, at 3,106 metric carats.
The 530ct Cullinan I and 317ct Cullinan II were retained by the monarch for the Crown Jewels, and they still remain at the heart of them to this day. They were first presented to King Edward VII at Windsor Castle on 21st November 1909.
They still remain two of the largest colourless and flawless cut diamonds in the world.
King Edward purchased the Cullinan VI for his consort, Queen Alexandra. The people of South Africa purchased the other six major diamonds and presented them to Edward’s daughter in-law Queen Mary (consort of George V, and an avid jewellery collector) in 1910, the year her husband ascended to the throne. These then belonged to her granddaughter, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
The Cullinan III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII and IX are all also owned and worn by the Royal family, namely Queen Elizabeth II. Over the years, they have been set into brooches, pendants and a ring.
The Coronation Necklace
Made for Queen Victoria in 1858.
The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place on 2nd June 1953, where she wore the magnificent Coronation Necklace as did her predecessors; Queen Victoria, in 1858, Queen Alexandra in 1901, Queen Mary in 1911 and Queen Elizabeth in 1937. This stunning piece features in the famous photograph taken by Cecil Beaton of Queen Elizabeth II in her Connation Robes. Like most inherited jewellery, changes were made over the years from it’s original design In 1858, currently it consists of 25 graduated cushion cut brilliant diamonds set with silver with gold links, and a 22.48 metric carat pear shape pendant, known as the Lahore Diamond.
Queen Mary’s Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara
Originally a gift to princess Victoria Mary of Trek from the “Girls of Great Britain and Ireland” as a wedding gift, you will now recognise this crown from bank notes, where Queen Elizabeth II is wearing this stunning crown.
Queen Elizabeth II received some beautiful items of jewellery at various stages in her life.
The 18th Birthday of Princess Elizabeth,
21st April 1944.
On this occasion Queen Elizabeth II was gifted the magnificent Queen Elizabeth’s Halo Tiara. Designed and made in 1936 by King George VI for his wife. It’s set with 739 brilliant cut and 149 baton diamonds, weighing 47.74ct for the brilliant cuts and 8.93cts for the batons. Queen Elizabeth II has since loaned it to princess Margaret in the 1950’s, Princess Anne in the 1970s and Miss Catherine Middleton, to wear on her marriage to prince William in 2011.
The 21st Birthday of Princess Elizabeth
21st April 1947.
During this time her parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth had undertaken a tour of South Africa. The Queen's South Africa Necklace was a gift from the Government of the union of South Africa. This beautiful necklace consisted of a long chain of 21 graduated brilliants, the largest being 10 carats, each linked by a baguette-cut diamond and two small brilliant cuts.
Marriage to Prince Phillip
20th November 1947.
Queen Elizabeth II was presented with the Williamson Diamond Brooch, on her marriage to Prince Phillip.
The Williamson Diamond is considered the finest pink diamond ever discovered.
Found in 1947, the uncut stone weighed a whopping 54.5 metric carats, and was presented by Dr Williamson as a wedding present to Princess Elizabeth in 1947. The beautiful stone was cut into a 23.6 carat round brilliant, and mounted within a fantastic brooch depicting a jonquil flower, designed by Frederick Mew of Cartier. It also has 170 small brilliant cut diamonds, 12 baguette cut diamonds and 21 marquise diamonds which form the petals, stalk and leaves.
On her wedding day she wore the Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara formed of 47 graduated tapering bars, in a Russian or “Kokoshnik” style, and designed by E.Wolff & Co. This beautiful Tiara has since been worn by both Princess Anne and Princess Beatrice on their wedding days.
Respects for Her Majesty, paid at Green Park on 13th September 2022, (Photo taken by Danielle Jones).
“Diamonds, The Queens Collection” – by Caroline de Guitaut https://www.gia.edu/doc/SU06A2.pd https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-61585886 https://www.royal.uk/50-facts-about-queens-coronation-0 https://www.townandcountrymag.com/style/jewelry-and-watches/g14504829/queen-elizabeth-jewels-crowns-tiaras/ https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/discover/history/monarchy/facts-about-the-queen-elizabeth-ii/ https://www.vogue.co.uk/fashion/article/imperial-state-crown https://www.rct.uk/queen-elizabeth-II