This month, as we celebrate 70 years since Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation of 2nd June 1952, I thought it would be fun to take a look at my top 10 favourite jewels in Her Majesty's own collection, the heirlooms of the Crown and also within the broader Royal Collection. Firstly, here is a reminder of the incredible jewels and regalia worn on that day.
Photo Credit: 'ITV Archive'
At number ten, I'd put Her Majesty's go to choice of pearl and diamond earstuds. Classics for the jewellery wardrobe, it is impossible go wrong with this combination which can be paired with anything. Her Majesty has several of these earrings in her collection which are of varying sizes.
The number nine spot goes to The Williamson brooch. At the centre of the 1953 Cartier flowerhead is a pink diamond weighing over 23cts which was gifted to The Queen as a wedding present from the owner of the mine in Tanzania where it was discovered. Pink diamonds are incredibly rare beasts indeed, even more so when they are of this sort of size!
10 Photo Credit: Marie Claire
9 Photo Credit: Royal Collection Trust
At number eight is the brooch worn by Her Majesty every year to the Highland Games in Aberdeenshire known as The Braemar Gathering, The Braemar Feather Brooch. This piece is by one of my favourite jewellers Malcolm Appleby. I often get asked by clients about the cuff I wear which is also by Malcolm. His style is distinctive and frankly, if it is good enough for Her Majesty then it is good enough for me!
At seven we have the Queen's South African diamond necklace and bracelet. It started life as a necklace gifted to Her Majesty for her 21st birthday but was shortened and the removed section formed into a bracelet. The largest diamond weighs about 10cts and the necklace and bracelet are worn on occasions where diplomacy comes into play - a role many of the royal jewels are taken out of the jewellery box for.
8 Photo Credit: PA
7 Photo Credit: Royal Collection Trust
The Grima ruby and diamond brooch romps in at number six for me. Gifted to Her Majesty in 1966 by Prince Phillip, this piece was made by Andrew Grima, the renowned London jeweller whose style defied convention in the 60s and later. It has been seen being worn on several occasions, including for the official 70th wedding anniversary portrait and several times since the death of Prince Phillip. Grima pieces, as well as the work by other 1960s and 70s British jewellers have become incredibly collectible in recent years and many people are unaware of what they have lurking at the back of their jewellery boxes that may seem out of date but are very much considered Cool Britannia.
Queen Victoria reigned for 64 years making her the second longest resigning monarch in British history and her love of sapphires is well known. Prince Albert designed several pieces for her using sapphires, including the sapphire and diamond coronet and bracelet now on display in the V & A Museum and the piece in the number five spot, the Albert sapphire and diamond brooch. Gifted by Prince Albert to Victoria on the eve of their wedding, the brooch of her great great grandmother is a staple of the Queen's jewellery wardrobe.
6 Photo Credit: Matt Holyoak/CameraPress/PA
5 Photo Credit: Hello
In fourth place, and known as 'Granny's Chips', the diamonds which form this brooch are hardly 'chips'...unless you own one of the greatest jewellery collections in the world I guess. The diamonds are so important, they are named, in this case Cullinan III and Cullinan IV due to them being the 3rd and 4th largest stones (94.4 and 63.6cts respectively) cut from the great Cullinan diamond which as a rough crystal weighed 3,106cts. Cullinan I and II are set in the Sovereign's Sceptre and the Imperial State Crown whilst the remaining smaller diamonds are in various pieces of the collection. Pass the salt and vinegar please.
Coming in at number 3 we have The Darnley Jewel which is sometimes referred to as The Lennox Jewel. It is said to have been commissioned by Lady Margaret Douglas, Countess of Lennox (1515-78). Lady Margaret was the granddaughter of Henry VII, half sister of James V of Scotland and first cousin of Elizabeth I. Through her elder son Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, who married her niece Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1565, Lady Margaret was the grandmother of James VI of Scotland and I of England. The complex iconography of the piece is endlessly fascinating and subject to much scholarly debate. Those of us in Scotland are lucky enough to have it on our doorstep as it is on display at The Palace of Holyrood House.
4. Photo Credit: Royal Collection Trust
3. Photo Credit: The Royal Collection Trust
We can hardly have a top ten list without mentioning a tiara! At number two, my favourite of the significant collection of tiaras has to be the Greville Boucheron kokoshnik tiara which was loaned by Her Majesty to Princess Eugenie on the occasion of her wedding in 2018. This incredible piece, made in 1919 by the French house Boucheron is in the form of a Russian headdress (a kokoshnik) and features an emerald weighing just shy of 100cts. What a showstopper!
2. Photo Credit: PA/BBC
And the number one spot goes to...The Greville chandelier earrings which date from the 1920s. I love the combination of cuts and I'm a sucker for a gorgeous pair of diamond earrings. These showstoppers were bequeathed by the socialite Mrs Greville in 1942 to H.M. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Queen Elizabeth gave them to H.M. The Queen as a wedding gift and they have been seen being worn on many subsequent occasions. Style, quality and incredible provenance, what more could you wish for? In my view, well deserving of the top spot but what do you think?
1. Photo Credit: PA/Alamy | Royal Collection Trust