03 April 2013

Sapphire Rings

The Queen has several sapphire rings to wear with the rest of her blue jewels. Three were shown in photographs released in advance of the publication of Angela Kelly's book Dressing the Queen.

Sapphire Cluster Ring
The first is a basic sapphire cluster ring, featuring a central oval sapphire surrounded by diamonds. This might remind you of the sapphire and diamond engagement ring worn by Diana, Princess of Wales and now by the Duchess of Cambridge, though this sapphire is smaller and the diamonds are larger in relative size. This is a classic design, and it can be spotted accompanying the sapphire set based around pieces given by the Queen's father, King George VI. The ring is not usually mentioned as part of the same set, though, and I don't believe a provenance is known. As this is a basic design, it is also possible multiples exist in the same basic form.

Sapphire Diamond-Shaped Ring
The second is a diamond-shaped design featuring alternating rows of diamonds and sapphires. Here again, I don't believe a provenance is known for this ring. It is sometimes worn together with the sapphire cluster ring and the Queen's engagement and wedding rings when sapphire jewels are worn.

Sapphire and Ruby Coronation Ring
Left to Right: the ring shown in Dressing the Queen, Queen Victoria's Coronation Ring, and the Sovereign's Ring made for William IV
The third includes a ruby cross on a sapphire background, surrounded by diamonds. This looks to be a match for the coronation rings, two rings belonging to the Crown Jewels. The larger ring is called the Sovereign's Ring, and was made for King William IV in 1831 by Rundell, Bridge & Rundell; this ring was worn by the Queen at her coronation. A near identical ring in a more petite scale was made for Queen Victoria in 1838 again by Rundell. The delicate band on the ring shown in this group seems to match Queen Victoria's version. This is interesting because the coronation rings are listed among the coronation regalia kept at the Tower of London, and are not thought to be used for private occasions. It may be that the Queen's personal collection includes a copy of Queen Victoria's ring.

2006: 80th Birthday Royal Windsor Horse Show Dinner and Private Birthday Party 
1983: State Visit to India 
1953: The Coronation (Sovereign's Ring)

Photos: The Royal Collection/PA