30 April 2014

Visit to Wales, Day 2

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh finished a two day visit to areas in South and West Wales.
For more: click the link in the tweet, or here for Zimbio.
Any day with the Flame Lily is a good day in my book! Loveliness all over here, with that pretty pink as a background for the delicate diamonds.

29 April 2014

Visit to Wales, Day 1

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh began a two day visit to areas in South and West Wales.
She's back after a birthday rest, with a favorite brooch and some snazzy buttons on those bright blues.

Photo: ITV

20 April 2014

Easter Service and a New Official Portrait

The Queen, accompanied by members of the Royal Family, attended Easter Service in Windsor.

Apparently there's some construction work going on that prevented the traditional photo op coming up the stairs and accepting flowers, so much of the Easter coverage is as above. My, doesn't Her Maj's back look well... But we did get to see, through the rain, a pair of Aqua Clips making a return appearance, click here for that. They were a bright spot on an outfit that reflected a dreary day with its muted shade of blue. Pretty much everyone except the Princess Royal in a rich green seemed determined to dress to blend in with the rain, the building, or maybe a bird crashing into the building (in the case of the Countess of Wessex's hat). Click here for plenty of photos, plus a video, from the Daily Mail.

Three Strand Pearl Necklace

Also today, a new official portrait of the Queen was released. The portrait by British photographer David Bailey was commissioned by the Government's GREAT Britain campaign. It was taken in March and released to mark Her Majesty's 88th birthday on Monday. 
What's great about this, from a jewel perspective, is how much dimension it gives the Cambridge Pearl Pendant Brooch. You typically have to catch this one from the side in order to tell that the pearl is much larger than it seems from a head-on shot. I'm loving it. Click here for more on the portrait from the BBC.

Three Strand Pearl Necklace

Photos:Daily Mail screencap/David Bailey via WPA Pool

17 April 2014

Royal Maundy Service

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, attended the Royal Maundy Service at Blackburn Cathedral in Lancashire.
Why yes, a cerise cashmere coat from Stewart Parvin (with matching hat by Angela Kelly) does seem like the perfect background for the Rose Gold Brooch, one of our mysteries from 2012. Well played, Your Maj.

Photos:Telegraph/ITN Video, Lancashire Telegraph

15 April 2014

Investiture at Windsor Castle

The Queen held an Investiture at Windsor Castle.
Click here for more pics from the Daily Mail.
Angela Lansbury is the BEST. Celebratory Murder, She Wrote marathon, anyone? (PSA: The series is available to stream on Netflix.) Anyway, back to the topic of this blog: the brooch is hard to positively identify here, probably one of the ones with a pearl at the center.

Unidentified Brooch

Photo: @_AngelaLansbury twitter

13 April 2014

Flashback: Parliament Opening, Wellington, New Zealand, 1954

The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, opened Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, in January 1954.
The Queen became the first reigning monarch ever to visit New Zealand when she arrived in December 1953. The New Zealand leg of the post-Coronation tour was more than a month long, beginning just before Christmas and ending at the end of January 1954.

To open a special session of Parliament, the Queen wore her glittering Coronation gown with a jewel combination that would also be seen opening Parliament in Australia: Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik Tiara, the Coronation Necklace and Earrings, and a diamond watch, plus the Riband (secured with one of Queen Victoria's Bow Brooches), Star, and Lesser George of the Order of the Garter. Though she did not wear the New Zealand Fern Brooch she was given at Christmas for this event, her Coronation gown came complete with its own fern embroidery (seen above, top right).

This was the first of ten visits to New Zealand for the Queen. For a sense of how successful the tour was, have a look at the video below:

Video: The Royal Tour of New Zealand, 1953-54

Photos: NZ Parliament/Royal Collection/Archives NZ

11 April 2014

State Visit from Ireland Farewell, and Newbury Races

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh bid farewell to President and Mrs. Higgins at Windsor Castle at the close of the Irish State Visit.
I'm surprised we didn't see any appearance of the brooch she received on her visit to Ireland in 2011, but instead the last brooch of the trip was one from the Queen Mother's collection. No complaints, though - this was state visit was quite a feast for those of us with sparkly interests (a new brooch, a parade of emeralds, and even an extra event).

Engagement and Wedding Rings 

And later in the day...
The Queen attended Newbury Races at Newbury Racecourse.
She lost the Shell Brooch, donned one we haven't seen since this blog started, added an unfortunate hat, and indulged in one of her favorite pastimes. Click here for photos from the Daily Mail.

The Red Flower Posy Brooch

The Red Flower Posy Brooch
This brooch, a posy of small red flowers (possibly of rubies, or another material) on a long stem, is often said to have been a gift from the Duke of Edinburgh in the 1960s. It may have been in the Queen's collection for decades, but it is only rarely worn; in recent years, it has been paired with the same dark red coat and hat.

8 November 2017: British Museum Gallery Opening
19 January 2017: Sandringham Women's Institute Meeting
11 April 2014: Newbury Races

Thanks to Anne for adding more info.

Photo: Getty

10 April 2014

Northern Ireland Reception, New Zealand Portrait, and Organ Recital

Lots and lots going on. A triple event update:

As part of the ongoing State Visit from Ireland, the Queen hosted a Northern Ireland-themed reception at Windsor Castle which was attended by President and Mrs. Higgins.
Click here for an article from the Express.
This is unusual: Her Majesty normally participates in the welcome, state banquet, and farewell of a state visit these days, without extra events, so this certainly speaks to the importance placed on this particular visit. She's wearing the Jardine Star Brooch - usually a favorite, but hasn't been seen since last November!

Engagement and Wedding Rings 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world... 
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge unveiled a new portrait of the Queen by New Zealand artist Nick Cuthell. The portrait was commissioned by the New Zealand Portrait Gallery to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee, and it will become a part of their permanent collection. The Queen sat for this portrait in October 2013.
A casual portrait in her standard day wear, but of course she is sporting the New Zealand brooch most recently loaned to the Duchess (and the Duchess echoed that fern motif with her Jenny Packham gown; click here for another article with photos). Prince William even made mention of the fern jewel in his speech, saying that "Her Majesty is portrayed wearing her silver fern brooch, which provides a simple but clear reminder of Her Majesty's deep affection for the people of New Zealand." So that's all kinds of aww.

Engagement and Wedding Rings 

And yesterday... 
On April 9, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh attended a recital to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Royal College of Organists at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.
Video, above; click here for a gallery.
She took a break from the Irish state visit for a regular engagement, and she took a break from the jewel intrigue, too, returning to her favorite Frosted Sunflower Brooch. But continuing in her trend of doing something a bit out of the ordinary, she opted for a double strand of pearls instead of her typical triple strand and a simple single pearl stud earring instead of her usual pearl and diamond combo. Oooh.

09 April 2014

The Emerald and Diamond Celtic Knot Brooch

The Emerald and Diamond Celtic Knot Brooch
The design of a traditional Celtic knot is echoed in this small brooch by lines of diamonds intertwining around a central emerald that appears to be a cabochon stone. It appears to be a match to a brooch worn by Queen Mary* in her early years, and could have been among the many gifts given to her for her wedding in 1893.
There are not many documented public appearances of this brooch on The Queen, who inherited most of her grandmother's jewels. The most notable use was at the State Banquet for the President of Ireland in 2014, an easy connection thanks to the Celtic motif.

*Thanks to J-F for posting a photo of this on the Royal Jewels of the World Message Board, and to Franck for calling attention to it here and adding additional potential provenance info. Thanks to others as well for more information on past appearances of this brooch.

27 November 2015: Visit to Malta, Day 2, Audience
8 April 2014: State Visit from Ireland

Photos: PA/RTÉ

08 April 2014

The Mappin & Webb Orchid Brooch

The Mappin & Webb Orchid Brooch
A gift from Mappin & Webb (jewelers, Royal Warrant-holding silversmiths, and home of the current Crown Jeweler, Martin Swift) in collaboration with Waterford Crystal, this brooch includes orchid flowers of hand cut Waterford Crystal with 66 diamonds and rose gold stamens. It was handmade by the Mappin & Webb team with the Crown Jeweler and was given in honor of the 60th anniversary of the Queen's coronation. The Queen debuted the delicate piece during the Irish state visit in 2014, a fitting choice since Mappin & Webb is a company with a long British history, and Waterford is a company with a long Irish history.

12 December 2017: Christmas Staff Luncheon
4 February 2016: Norfolk Hospice Opening
2 April 2015: Royal Maundy Service
8 April 2014: State Visit from Ireland, Welcome Ceremony

Photo: PA

State Visit from Ireland, Welcome Ceremony and State Banquet

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh welcomed the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, and his wife Sabina Higgins, at the beginning of his State Visit to the United Kingdom.
Video, above; click here for an article from The Telegraph or here for pictures from RTÉ. 
History all over the place here - this is the first state visit to the U.K. by an Irish head of state. And the Queen picked a fitting brooch to go with her Stewart Parvin outfit and Angela Kelly hat, something new (!) and with an Irish connection to boot. See the link below for more details.

Engagement and Wedding Rings 

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, together with other members of the Royal Family, gave a State Banquet in honor of the President of Ireland at Windsor Castle.
Click here for photos from the Daily Mail. Also click here for another gallery for the whole day, and click here for a video from the BBC.
More gem excitement! It has been a long time since the Queen trotted out her emeralds for a banquet (there was a portrait a couple years ago, but nothing compares to these in action). I hoped we would see emeralds for the Emerald Isle when she traveled to Ireland in 2011, but at that time we got the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, so it's nice to see she was holding back for the return state visit. And we even have some extra sparkly interest here: there's a smaller brooch on the front, and her bracelet appears to be one from Queen Mary with a large square or rectangular emerald and a diamond band (see the photos from Franck and Beth at the RJWMB here).

Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara with Emeralds
Delhi Durbar Earrings
Delhi Durbar Necklace
Scroll Cambridge Emerald Brooch
Emerald and Diamond Celtic Knot Brooch
Order of the Garter Star, Riband, and Lesser George
Diamond Bar Brooch (on her back)
Emerald and Diamond Bracelet from Queen Mary
Diamond Evening Watch

More family members were in attendance as well (though as always, it is hard to see), including the Duchess of Cornwall in the Greville Tiara. The Princess Royal wore her Aquamarine Pineflower Tiara, the Duchess of Gloucester possibly wore the Gloucester Honeysuckle Tiara, and Princess Michael of Kent wore the Kent Festoon Tiara.


03 April 2014

The Russian Sapphire Cluster Brooch

The Russian Sapphire Cluster Brooch
A classic cluster design with a colored stone framed in diamonds, this brooch includes a large central sapphire with two rows of surrounding diamonds - the inner row is an intricate setting in gold, and the outer row is a ring of 18 round diamonds. According to the palace, Queen Mary acquired the brooch in 1934; it is said to have been one of the jewels she purchased from the daughters of the late Empress Marie Feodorovna, who sold some of her jewels after her death; there was companion brooch from that Russian collection as well (click here for more)*. Other sapphires were purchased by her at that time as well, including the sapphire and pearl brooch the Queen wears today, though it is worth noting that the records that exist from the sale of those jewels list Mary's last purchase in 1930. Again according to the palace, the brooch was left to the Queen when Queen Mary passed away in 1953, but it was Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother who would carry on wearing it. After the Queen Mother's death in 2002, it presumably returned to the Queen's collection, and she debuted the brooch in 2014.
Left to right: Queen Mary, the Queen Mother, the Queen
This particular brooch seems a piece destined to be the source of much confusion. Like the Carrington Sapphire Feather Brooch, it has a stone that might lean to the purple side of the color spectrum and it has been worn on both blue and purple outfits, leading some to identify it as an amethyst. It is sometimes misidentified as the brooch that was given to the late Diana, Princess of Wales as a wedding gift by the Queen Mother (the same brooch that she turned into the centerpiece of her most famous pearl choker), though Diana's sapphire brooch does not have the gold detailing on the interior diamond ring and has more diamonds on the outer ring. This simple design - a sapphire surrounded by diamonds - leads to confusion with other sapphire brooches too, such as Prince Albert's Sapphire Brooch, or any of a number of similar brooches in existence today. Perhaps this similarity is one of the reasons the Queen waited so long to bring this one out of her vault.

20 October 2015: State Visit from China, State Banquet (on the back of the Garter sash, likely) 
3 April 2014: Visit to Rome

*Thanks to Rae for sending in this link.

Photos: Getty Images/Leslie Field/Corbis/BBC

Visit to Rome

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh made a one day visit to Rome, visiting President Napolitano, and to the Vatican to visit Pope Francis.
At first glance, I thought this was the Kent Amethyst Brooch, and I was a little disappointed - sure, it was released in advance that this would be a low key trip, nothing compared to the Queen's past state visits (and there would be no dressing to comply with the strictest Vatican protocol, as in the past), but I was still hoping for something out of the ordinary. Turns out, that's exactly what we got: this is the first time the Queen has publicly worn this brooch, which was previously in her mother's collection. See the link below for more.