30 January 2013

The Dubai Looped Sapphire Demi-Parure

The Dubai Looped Sapphire Demi-Parure
Sheikh Rashid of Dubai gave the Queen this diamond and sapphire demi-parure when she visited during a Middle East tour in 1979. (It was a prosperous tour, gift-wise; other gifts included the King Khalid Diamond Necklace.) The original set included a necklace of diamond loops with alternating loops surrounding large oval sapphires, plus a pair of earrings and a ring (which looks large enough to be a brooch instead) each with a large oval sapphire surrounded by diamonds. It came from Asprey and was set in gold.
The gifts from Dubai, and the Queen wearing the original demi-parure
The demi-parure was so impressive the Queen "exclaimed in amazement" when she saw it, according to Leslie Field. Impressive as it was, the Queen did end up making some slight changes. The necklace was shortened and two spare sapphire loops were made into a new pair of earrings. The original earrings and ring were made into a bracelet.
The demi-parure as it is currently set
Shortening necklaces seems to be a common modification for the Queen, but in this case it's easy to see why, as it was so long it failed to stay in place while worn. The size of the stones in the earrings and ring is a little overwhelming for those pieces; they are better suited to the scale of a bracelet. The modified set is by no means a favorite, but has had a few notable outings, including an official portrait for Canada (above, far right).

Appearances:
2009: The Garter Service
2005: Diplomatic Reception

Photos: Royal household/Suzy Menkes/Getty Images/Corbis

27 January 2013

Church at Sandringham

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, attended church at Sandringham.
A Queen Mary hat and a Queen Mum brooch. It's Throwback Sunday at Sandringham!


Photos:PacificCoastNews

24 January 2013

Sandringham Women's Institute

The Queen made her annual visit a meeting of the Sandringham Women's Institute, of which she is Honorary President.
Click above for a video from Yahoo! UK; click here for an article and photo from EDP24.
No sign of the Women's Institute Badge, so I'm wondering if it was on her dress instead. On the coat, we get the constant favorite Jardine Star - can't argue with that!


Photo: Yahoo screencap

23 January 2013

The Diamond Pear-Shaped Pendant Fringe Necklace

The Diamond Pear-Shaped Pendant Fringe Necklace
Another fringe or sun ray style necklace in the Queen's collection is this diamond gem. Each "fringe" includes brilliants and marquise diamonds with a pear-shaped pendant at the end. The provenance of this one - as far as I am aware - is unknown; she's been wearing it since at least the early 2000s (if not longer) and it has had several outings in recent years.
Because of the unknown story of this piece, I'm using a purely generic name here. But in my own head, I have been known to refer to it as the Not Khalid Necklace - it bears a striking resemblance to the King Khalid Diamond Necklace, and the two are easy to confuse at first glance. The biggest difference is the length of the fringes; this necklace has fringes of even length, while the Khalid necklace features fringes that alternate between long and short lengths. (Personally, I prefer the Khalid necklace. The variation in fringe length really adds interest to the piece.)

Appearances:
2011: State Visit to Ireland, State Dinner
2006: 80th Birthday Dinner

Photos: Getty Images/Corbis

21 January 2013

The King Khalid Diamond Necklace

The King Khalid Necklace
During a visit to the Middle East in February 1979, the Queen was given this Harry Winston diamond and platinum necklace by King Khalid of Saudi Arabia. It's a version of the fringe or sun ray style, with "fringes" of diamonds (including brilliant, marquise, and pear shapes) radiating away from the necklace base. The pear-shaped pendants cap the fringes, which alternate in length across the front of the necklace.
The Queen has worn it fairly often over the years. Like the King Faisal Diamond Necklace, she also loaned it to the Princess of Wales in the early 1980s. (We've recently seen the King Faisal loaned again, to the Countess of Wessex; wouldn't it be nice to see this one on someone new too?)
The Princess of Wales
In my opinion, this is one of the best gifts from such a source given to the royal family. It's classically pretty and quite flattering. I've always wondered how it would fare if converted to a tiara - but the wonder of the Queen's jewel vault is that she has no need to try such a thing.

Appearances:
1982: State Visit from the Netherlands (on the Princess of Wales)
1982: State Opening of Parliament (on the Princess of Wales)  
Various Years: CHOGM Dinners

Photos: Getty Images/Leslie Field/Royal Household

20 January 2013

Church at Sandringham

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, attended church near Sandringham.
And what does Lil bust out for us, just after we featured it? It's the Delhi Carved Emerald! And it's looking extra green on this aqua background, too. (An out of the ordinary color pairing for her, really.) I love it when this happens!


Photos:PacificCoastNews

18 January 2013

Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik Tiara

Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik Tiara
This Russian style tiara, including 488 brilliants, was a present from the Ladies of Society to mark the silver wedding anniversary of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra (then Prince and Princess of Wales) in 1888. It was made to Alexandra's request, and passed after her to Queen Mary and then to the present Queen, who counts it among her favorite tiaras.

Read more at Order of Splendor.

Appearances:
1998: State Visit from Japan 
1993: CHOGM Dinner
1954: Visit to Australia, Parliament Opening
1954: Visit to New Zealand, Parliament Opening

Photo: Royal Collection

The Grima Ruby Brooch

The Grima Ruby Brooch
Made of recycled carved rubies, free-form gold, and diamonds, this brooch was created by jeweler Andrew Grima. It was given to the Queen by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1966, and is one of a number of modern pieces that have been added to her collection during her reign.

Read more at Order of Splendor.

Appearances:
10 February 2014: Return from Sandringham
19 February 2013: Audiences at Buckingham Palace 
2011: State Visit to Ireland 
2007: Royal Maundy Service
2002: Commonwealth Day Observance Service
Various Years: Christmas Broadcast 

Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Brooch

Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Brooch
This diamond and pearl brooch was a gift to Queen Victoria for her Diamond Jubilee from current and former members of her personal staff, and was designated as an heirloom of the Crown. It was a favorite of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and passed to the Queen in 2002. She has worn it a handful of times, both with and without the detachable bottom diamond chain and pearl pendant.

Read more at Order of Splendor.

Appearances:
2011: Festival of Remembrance 
2010: Visit to Canada 
2010: Royal Maundy Service

Photo: Getty Images

16 January 2013

Jewelry Additions from the Royal Gift List, 2012

Buckingham Palace's release of the list of gifts given to the royal family in the previous year is in the news today. The list includes official items exchanged between heads of state as well as gifts from the public. Since it was the Diamond Jubilee year, 2012 was particularly prosperous for the Queen. Tucked amongst gifts including honorary ownership of a llama, 78 portraits of herself, and a crown-shaped corgi bed (please tell me she already had one!) are some additions to the royal jewelry collection. These adds include:
  • A parure consisting of a necklace, earrings, a bangle, and a ring given by the Emir of Kuwait during his November state visit. This is the most interesting item on the list, and likely to be the biggest bit of bling. The list also reveals that the Princess Royal and the Countess of Wessex were given similar gifts. (The Prince of Wales' office has their own list which would include anything given to the Duchess of Cornwall or the Duchess of Cambridge). 
  • A Jaeger-LeCoultre wrist watch. The Queen wore a Jaeger-LeCoultre watch at her coronation in 1953; click here for the company's press release on the gift.
  • A brooch from the British Jewellers' Association. We've already seen this one in action, at Christmas.
  • Sixty pieces of onyx and ancient Yemeni silver jewelery, given by the President of Yemen. This one sounds like a museum sort of thing.
  • Precious stones from the President of Namibia. No word on what sort of stones these are, or if this is the sort of thing that could be made wearable later.
  • A Sharyak brooch and an ornate dagger from the President of Kazakhstan.
  • Two seashell necklaces and a basket given by the President of the Marshall Islands. If they are anything like what I picture when you say "seashell necklace", these will never be worn.
  • A diamond and gold brooch depicting a Bird of Paradise from the President of Singapore.
And now we wait to see if any (more) of these will ever be used!

By the way, these gifts are not personal property. The rules for royal gifts were revised after some controversy in past years, and they are published on the royal website.

Read more about the 2012 gift list:

13 January 2013

11 January 2013

The Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara

The Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara
This tiara was created for Queen Mary (it's also called Queen Mary's Lover's Knot Tiara) and inherited by the present Queen. She wore it earlier in her reign before loaning it to Diana, Princess of Wales. The tiara is now back in the Queen's vault, though it is currently unworn.

Read more at Order of Splendor.

Appearances:
1982: State Visit from the Netherlands (on the Princess of Wales) 
1981, 1991: State Opening of Parliament (on the Princess of Wales)

The South African Necklace and Bracelet

The South African Necklace and Bracelet
The Queen's 21st birthday gift from South Africa was a long diamond necklace which she later changed to this necklace and bracelet. Her "best diamonds", as she's said to call them, are still worn today - notably in 2010 during the South African state visit.

Read more at Order of Splendor.

Appearances:
1953: Christmas Broadcast  

Photo: Royal Collection/Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Victoria's Fringe Brooch

Queen Victoria's Fringe Brooch, at the center of the Queen's neckline
Made for Queen Victoria using diamonds from the Sultan of Turkey and an existing royal jewel, the Fringe Brooch includes a central cluster and nine swinging strands. It has passed from queen to queen since then, becoming a particular favorite of the Queen Mother, and passed to the current Queen in 2002. So far the Queen has worn it once publicly, during a state visit from Turkey.

Read more at Order of Splendor.

Appearances:
2011: State Visit from Turkey, State Banquet

Photo: PA

09 January 2013

The Delhi Carved Emerald Brooch

The Delhi Carved Emerald Brooch
This large emerald hexagon is carved on the front and back (a rose in front, a plant in back), set in silver and gold, and surrounded by brilliant-cut diamonds. Queen Mary was given this brooch by the Ladies of India at the Delhi Durbar, the coronation celebrations of George V and Mary in India in 1911.
Queen Mary
Combined with her Cambridge emeralds, Queen Mary had a magnificent set of emeralds that she wore often. As we know, she was a big fan of playing with her jewels and trying out different configurations. Accordingly, this gem took a turn as the centerpiece of a diamond bandeau tiara (Marie Feodorovna's Sapphire Bandeau, it seems) for a night out:
Queen Mary
The brooch passed to Queen Elizabeth on Queen Mary's death in 1953, but of course we've only seen her use it in traditional brooch fashion to date.
The Queen didn't use this brooch much (if at all) for a long time after she inherited it. Really only in the past few years have we had the opportunity to see the unusual piece in use, and I find that understandable: you usually can't tell if a brooch is extra heavy on Her Majesty's ensembles, but this one looks like it might be a bit of a trial to wear.

Appearances:
11 May 2013: Royal Windsor Horse Show 
20 January 2013: Church at Sandringham 
2011: State Visit from Turkey, Farewell

Photos: Royal Collection/Queen Elizabeth II/Leslie Field/PA/Polfoto

07 January 2013

On Dressing the Queen: The Jubilee Wardrobe

Angela Kelly is the Queen's personal assistant, adviser and curator – in other words, the woman responsible for coordinating the Queen’s outfits (including personally designing and overseeing the production of much of the clothing and hats) and helping select what to wear from that massive jewel collection. Dressing the Queen: the Jubilee Wardrobe is her firsthand account of both the daily business of that amazing job and also the extra special outfits created for the Diamond Jubilee year. I’ve had some requests for a review, so for anyone still on the fence about purchasing it, here you go:

On the clothes: The last part of the book is devoted to the individual outfits from the largest events of the Jubilee year, but before we get there, Ms. Kelly writes extensively about the basic business of dressing the Queen. Every little detail is planned for - the number of things they plan around makes the head spin. What I liked the most was the behind the scenes feel of it all; you really do get to see what the inside of the dressers’ area is like and just how many people are involved in dressing the Queen. And though some of the details of the thought behind the Jubilee outfits were released at the time, there’s still new depth to be revealed here.

On the jewels: I wasn’t expecting too much on the jewel front from the book, but I was pleasantly surprised. There are photographs of several pieces I had never seen before, and professional display photos of things we’ve only seen in use. Ms. Kelly is the curator of the Queen’s jewelry, and she shares a bit about her process – including a new look at how exactly the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara is swapped between emeralds and pearls. My sole frustration with the book does come on the jewel front, though: many of these pictured gems aren't captioned or explained. We can see new brooches and other new to us pieces, but the only written explanations are for pieces most jewel watchers already know well. But as it was with The Queen’s Diamonds, so it is here, and detail of this level is probably too much to ask for.

Overall impressions: What I loved about this book is that it feels like a piece of history, and it's almost hard to believe that it really happens today. The sheer scale of this couture operation – a mini fashion house, all for one person – is fascinating! It’s such an enormous contrast to the purposefully low key fashion we see from so many royals today. I was expecting this to be a bit of a reference book, but it is certainly not; it’s very easy to read, conversationally written, and rather romantic in its tone, I would say. (You learn quickly that Ms. Kelly has her dream job and adores her employer.) It’s both rare to get a look inside this side of things and to get that look from someone as close as Ms. Kelly is, and on that level alone I think it’s worth a look if you’re a fan of the Queen (and if you're a jewel fanatic, the new pieces alone will be worth it!).

Have you read the book? What did you think? Were you surprised by anything you read?

Links for purchase:
The Royal Collection Shop
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com

Photo: The Royal Collection

06 January 2013

Church at Sandringham

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, attended church at Sandringham.
Click here to see an article and picture from EDP24.
 First brooch spotting of the new year and it's amethyst! I hope this is foreshadowing for a purple year.


Photo:Ian Burt/EDP24