Queen Elizabeth II Jewellery Collection
As the head of the British Royal Family, Queen Elizabeth II has accumulated an impressive collection of jewellery over the years, in addition to the collection she acquired when she ascended to the throne. Queen Elizabeth II’s jewel collection is formally known as The Queen’s Jewels, and the monarch of the Commonwealth realms owns these. The Queen’s Jewel’s have been passed down through history from monarch to monarch, and a number of the jewels in the collection were brought from foreign or exotic lands during the British Empire’s extended rule over other countries.
The Queen’s Jewels and The British Crown Jewels
It’s important to realise that The Queen’s Jewels are a separate collection altogether from The British Crown Jewels. The sovereign of the United Kingdom wears the British Crown Jewels during official ceremonies, whereas The Queen’s Jewels are a private collection that is occasionally worn in public. Indeed, no one is exactly sure of the actual value of The Queen’s Jewels as no one is given full access to determine the cut and worth of the stones. Queen Elizabeth II herself has never approved of any gemmological study of the jewels, and it’s safe to assume that the next to the throne will also be quite private in regards to this matter.
A large number of tiaras make up The Queen’s Jewels, and these are pieces of jewellery that came into the Royal Family’s possession over the years.
The King George IV State Diadem is one of the most famous tiaras in the collection, and is adorned with 1333 diamonds weighing a total of 325.75 carats and a further 169 pearls along the base of the diadem.
Both Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II wore the diadem during their coronation procession.
Other notable tiaras in The Queen’s Jewels include the Delhi Durbar Tiara, the George III Fringe Tiara and the Burmese Ruby Tiara, which was ordered by Queen Elizabeth II in 1973 and is decorated with rubies presented to the Queen by the people of Burma as a wedding present.
There are also a number of notable necklaces in the collection, and these can be seen on the Queen during official dinners and ceremonial occasions. One such necklace is the King Faisal of Saudi Arabia Necklace that was given to the Queen in 1967 by King Faisal.
The necklace is set with a number of brilliant diamonds, and was also worn by Princess Diana from time to time. The Queen Anne and Queen Caroline Pearl Necklaces are thought to be two of the most expensive pieces of jewellery in the whole collection, and paired together it is estimated they value at £4 million.
The necklaces are said to have belonged to Queen Anne and Queen Caroline respectively, and were given to Queen Elizabeth II in 1947 by her father as a gift for her wedding.
Although there are not as many earrings in the collection, those present are still quite impressive. Queen Victoria’s Stud Earrings are a pair of large and perfect match cut brilliant diamonds that are set as ear studs. The Diamond Peer Drop Earrings consist of two brilliant large diamonds at the centre of the stud, with a pear shaped drop below.
The Brazilian Parure is one of the most recent acquisitions to Queen Elizabeth II’s collection, and was presented to the Queen by President of Brazil in 1953. This piece of jewellery consists of nine aquamarines and a larger single aquamarine set into a pendant drop. This piece is believed to be one of Queen’s Elizabeth’s favourite from the collection, and in 1957 a matching tiara was made for her to wear. The George VI Victoria Suite was a wedding present from George VI to his daughter and was originally made in 1850. The George VI Victoria Suite has been modified a few times since the Queen first received it, and a large stone originally part of this Parure is now the basis of a new pendant.
Some of the brooches in The Queen’s Jewels are believed to be among the most expensive in the world. The Cullinan III and Cullinan IV were two pieces cut from the Cullinan diamond, a very large diamond that was found in South Africa and presented to Edward VII. Queen Mary had the two pieces formed together to create a Brooch, and Queen Elizabeth II inherited the brooch when her grandmother passed away in 1953. The brooch is easily the most expensive brooch in the world, and is valued at over £50 million. The Prince Albert Sapphire Brooch is another very famous of jewellery that remains in the Royal Family’s collection. This piece was given by Prince Albert to Queen Victoria on the day before their wedding, and is estimated to in size to be around 20 – 30 carats, resulting in a value of around £4 million, although the actual price of the brooch would be far greater due to its Royal Family association. The brooch passed through the hands of many members of the Royal Family before finally arriving in the possession of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Future of The Queen’s Jewels
The Queen’s Jewels are passed from monarch to monarch, so the next person supposed to be in possession of this incredible collection is Prince Charles. The majority of the jewellery in the collection is meant for a female member of the Royal Family, and there is no doubt that Prince Charles will be extremely generous in loaning the jewels to Catherine
Duchess of Cambridge and the other Princesses and Ladies who make up the Royal Family for official duties and ceremonial occasions.
Prince Charles is renowned for being an extremely modest man who takes a great sense of pride in his work, so it is not hard to imagine him shying away from the glitz and sense of monetary power associated with Queen Elizabeth II’s jewellery collection.