14 February 2013

The Art Deco Emerald Choker

The Art Deco Emerald Choker
This choker necklace is better known as the Cambridge Emerald Choker, since for years it was said to have been created by Queen Mary using more of her Cambridge emeralds. This was even the explanation posted at one point in time on the Royal Collection's site, but there's a new explanation in town now. The new description states that the emeralds were not the Cambridge emeralds, but a gift from the Ladies of India presented to Mary by the Maharanee of Patiala in December 1911. It seems there may have been confusion between this necklace and the Delhi Durbar Necklace in the past (the Delhi Durbar Necklace used to be referred to as the Ladies of India Necklace quite often, with the explanation that it had been presented by the Ladies of India; it has since been clarified that it was one of the pieces she had made for the Durbar ahead of time). I'd guess the recent research into the Queen's jewel collection for The Queen's Diamonds book and Jubilee exhibition has straightened a few things out.
Queen Mary, in the original version of the necklace and the revised version
The original gift of emeralds and diamonds from the Ladies of India was in the form of a slightly longer necklace worn by Queen Mary to the actual Delhi Durbar event. In 1921, she had Garrard redo the piece, creating an Art Deco style choker set in platinum. The new shorter necklace was perfect for Mary's signature layered jewel style, and she often paired it with the Delhi Durbar Necklace and multiple strands of diamonds.
Diana, Princess of Wales
The piece passed to the Queen in 1953, but she doesn't wear chokers often. So she loaned it to the Princess of Wales, who made it one of her signature jewels. Diana memorably wore it as a bandeau across her forehead, and wore it in necklace form both during and after her marriage. Since it was a lifetime loan, it returned to the Queen after Diana's death, and has since been exhibited at Buckingham Palace with other pieces of the Queen's jewelry. It hasn't been worn publicly by any member of the royal family since Diana, so the guessing game (when will it appear again, and who will wear it?) goes on.

Click here to read more about the Cambridge emeralds and the Delhi Durbar Parure.

Photos: Getty Images/Royal Collection