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). In 2021, The Queen loaned the earrings from this demi-parure to The Duchess of Cambridge for the first time.

26 May 2021: Palace of Holyroodhouse Drive-In Event (on The Duchess of Cambridge)
2009: The Garter Service
2005: Diplomatic Reception

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