01 January 2012

The Pearl and Diamond Button Earrings

The Queen has several variations of pearl and diamond earrings in her collection, but the two best known examples are shown here.

Queen Mary's Button Earrings
Despite the fact that she must have a plethora of earrings to pick from, The Queen almost always wears the same pair for her daytime official engagements: a single pearl with a small diamond on top.
Queen Mary (left) and the current Queen
These came, like so much of The Queen’s jewelry collection, from her grandmother Queen Mary. Photographs show that Mary wore these from fairly early on in her marriage.

Appearances: Since these are seen at most engagements, I will not link each post individually. Each event where the earrings are seen is tagged, and you may click here for those posts.

The Ladies of Devonshire Earrings
For her 1893 wedding to the future King George V, Princess May of Teck received a pair of pearl and diamond earrings from the Ladies of Devonshire. The Devonshire committee was headed by Lady Clinton, and the earrings they selected were made to match another of Princess May's wedding gifts, a pearl and diamond necklace given by the 'Ladies of England'. (The Ladies of England necklace can be seen here and was later dismantled by Queen Mary and used to create the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara.) This pair of earrings features a single round diamond above a single round pearl. They are similar to the everyday button earrings, but on a larger scale. Queen Mary gave the Devonshire Earrings to her granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth, as a wedding present in 1947. The Queen uses these earrings for fancier day events, such as her Diamond Jubilee service or the Order of the Garter service, and for evening occasions.
The larger pair worn by both queens
In both The Queen's Jewels by Leslie Field and The Queen's Jewellery by Sheila Young, the smaller pair of pearl and diamond button earrings (Queen Mary's Button Earrings) is identified as the Devonshire (or Devon) earrings. However, the Royal Collection has identified the larger pair as the gift from the Ladies of Devonshire, and photographs of the display of wedding gifts in 1947 do appear to show the larger pair as well.

As is the case with the smaller pair of earrings, these are a basic design, and it could be that multiple pairs of similar style exist in The Queen's collection.

10 June 2016: The Queen's 90th Birthday Service
8 November 2015: Remembrance Sunday
25 December 2014: Christmas Broadcast, 2014 
17 May 2014: Royal Windsor Horse Show 
10 November 2012: Festival of Remembrance
5 June 2012: Governors-General Reception
5 June 2012: Diamond Jubilee Thanksgiving Service
4 June 2012: Diamond Jubilee Concert
2000: State Visit to Italy, Papal Audience  
1999: Opening of the Scottish Parliament
1980: State Visit to Vatican City  
1960: Wedding of Princess Margaret and The Earl of Snowdon
Various Years: The Garter Service
Various Years: Remembrance Events  

Photos: Getty Images