29 December 2016

2016: The Year in The Queen's Jewels

For the fifth year in a row, it's time to round up The Queen's year in jewels: the tiaras, the new stuff, my slightly nerdy tally of which brooches were worn the most, and more. (Previously: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012.) This has been an interesting year for jewel watching, but it was perhaps a year more interesting for what wasn't seen. Let us review:

The Most Popular Brooches 
The Queen wore more than 40 different brooches in her public appearances this year. That seems like a lot, but it's actually a bit of a reduction; last year, that number topped 60. (Standard disclaimer: This is my tally of appearances of brooches worn in public, as documented on this blog. Considering those appearances for which we could not agree on a brooch identification or could not see a brooch, and considering of course the many private events of the year, it is impossible to be comprehensive.)
  1. Queen Victoria's Bow Brooch
  2. Cullinan V Brooch 
  3. Pearl Trefoil Brooch tied with Prince Albert's Sapphire Brooch
  4. Jardine Star Brooch tied with Small Pink and Diamond Brooch
  5. Flower Basket Brooch tied with Frosted Sunflower Brooch tied with Kent Amethyst Brooch tied with Pearl Triangle Brooch tied with Singapore Peranakan Diamond Jubilee Brooch tied with Round Cambridge Emerald Brooch tied with Queen Victoria's 11 Pearl Brooch
What's missing here? The Cambridge Pearl Pendant and the Aquamarine Clips didn't make the list; the Frosted Sunflower and the Flower Basket are often higher in the ranks. Surprising shake ups from the usual brooches that top the pile.

The New and "New" Brooches 
This year also saw a slight reduction in new and new-to-her brooches debuted by The Queen. Just one new-to-her brooch emerged from The Queen Mother's collection, the Curved Aquamarine Clip Brooches. The delicate Cartier Diamond Rose Clip Brooch came on the scene at Ascot, and the Diamond and Pearl Navette Brooch might just have been a 90th birthday gift (at least, Her Maj surprised by wearing it three times already, a lot for a new brooch). She did receive at least one brooch for her big birthday: the Racing Post 90th Birthday Brooch, which has not been worn in public.

The Biggest Brooch Appearance
The Queen sometimes marks special occasions with brooches that are a little outside of the everyday selections, something she did in grand fashion for her 90th birthday service in June. The Richmond Brooch, larger than her normal daytime selections, was a surprise and a treat for this special occasion.

The Tiara Appearances
Following the cancellation of a March state visit from the King and Queen of Spain, we had to wait until May to see some sparkly headgear (the usual suspects: the Imperial State Crown and the George IV State Diadem) at the State Opening of Parliament. She surprised us in November, continuing 2015's revival of the colored gems by sporting her George VI and Modern Sapphire Suite to the Colombian state banquet. And then - because really, why not? - she wore the same thing for December's Diplomatic Reception.
Once again, perhaps the most interesting thing here is what isn't here: no sightings of the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara. Or, for that matter, any of the other diamond and pearl options (beyond the State Diadem and it's very specific use). The Girls will always be at the top of my favorite tiaras list, but I am loving the variety.

My Favorite Loan of 2016
The continued opening of Her Majesty's jewel vault to other ladies in the family is a continued delight. The Countess of Wessex debuting The Queen's Diamond and Gold Cuff gems in December is my highlight - not because of the jewels themselves, but because I love the possibility here. More jewelry scarcely worn by Her Maj being dusted off and given new life on a new generation of family members would be the best surprise and my biggest wish for 2017.

What was your favorite sparkly moment in The Queen's year?
Photos: Royal Collection/Queen Elizabeth II/Royal Family/Racing Post/Hancock's/Getty Images/BBC/SkyNews