24 April 2013

Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace

The Ruby and Diamond Floral Bandeau Necklace
This necklace was one of The Queen’s wedding gifts from her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth; the palace has referred to it as the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Bandeau Necklace. It was part of the Greville bequest, the collection of jewelry left to Queen Elizabeth by the Hon. Mrs. Ronald Greville when she died. Mrs. Greville purchased the necklace from Boucheron in 1907.

The necklace on display with the rest of the wedding gifts, and a detail of the center
The intricate piece is set in silver and gold and features single rubies between diamond flowers. It’s an interesting bandeau format, a deep v-shape culminating in a diamond pendant. The Queen did shorten it, as she tends to do with necklaces, by removing the two smaller floral pieces (these are the pieces you see in the photograph at the beginning of the entry - to my knowledge, they have not been converted to earrings).

The Queen wore the necklace more frequently in her younger years, but as her collection widened, her use of this one decreased. It is a statement necklace to be sure, and even shortened it conflicts with her higher necklines. After the 1980s, the bandeau necklace rested unworn in her vault.

The Duchess of Cambridge debuts the necklace
It rested in the vault until 2017, when The Queen loaned it to The Duchess of Cambridge for the Spanish state banquet. In 2018, it made a surprise reappearance on The Queen herself, sparkling in use once again.

19 April 2018: CHOGM Dinner 
12 July 2017: State Visit from Spain, State Banquet (on The Duchess of Cambridge)
1983: State Visit to Sweden
1982: State Visit from the Netherlands
Various Years: State Opening of Parliament 

Photos: Royal Collection/Leslie Field/Life/Getty Images