28 February 2017

Charterhouse Opening

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh opened a museum and learning center at the Charterhouse, London.
For more: Zimbio gallery.

She's looking lovely today, but: NO BROOCH. Your Maj, I'm shook.

27 February 2017

UK-India Year of Culture Reception

The Queen, accompanied by other members of the Royal Family, hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace to launch the 2017 UK-India Year of Culture.

The first amethyst appearance of the year is always an occasion to celebrate, in my book. (And yes, The Duchess of Cambridge was there, and yes, we'll be chatting about her outfit on the other blog.)

Royal Family

23 February 2017

Investiture at Buckingham Palace

The Queen held an Investiture at Buckingham Palace.

We do have a brooch here, elusive though its identification is proving to be so far. Update: Mystery solved! Thanks to eagle-eyed commenters who saw footage on the news (Scarf Addict kindly shared an image in the comments), we know that this is the Flower Basket Brooch.

21 February 2017

Female Permanent Secretaries Reception, and Audiences at Buckingham Palace

The Queen hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace celebrating past and present women in government leadership (Permanent Secretaries).

I love this, wearing a brooch that belonged to a notable female leader for a reception recognizing women in government. Today was the first sapphire appearance of her Sapphire Jubilee year, and...

Engagement and Wedding Rings

Earlier, The Queen held audiences at Buckingham Palace.

...it was actually a double sapphire day. Several of you noted that you hoped to see this pink sapphire on my list of Her Maj's top sapphires, and while it didn't make my cut, I also can't argue.

16 February 2017

Audience at Buckingham Palace

The Queen received the new Lieutenant Governor of Quebec, J. Michel Doyon, and Pauline Th├ęberge for a private audience at Buckingham Palace.

In today's edition of Mildly Interesting Coincidences: this brooch was used last year for an audience with another Canadian lieutenant governor. (Okay, mildly might have been an overstatement.)

14 February 2017

National Cyber Security Centre Opening

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh officially opened the National Cyber Security Centre in London.

Her Maj seems to prefer this brooch without its pendant when the outfit shade leans toward blue. That's when I'd most like to see the pendant, actually, since emerald is a more interesting choice than the usual white stones on a color like this. (Who am I kidding, I always want the pendant.)

ITN video screencap

10 February 2017

Audiences at Buckingham Palace

February 9: The Queen held audiences at Buckingham Palace.

Let the parade of ambassadors begin once again! I don't see a brooch here - as it is with the matching coat, which she wore last month, there are so many buttons you don't need anything else - but she has worn a brooch with it in the past (the small FEI Lifetime Achievement Award Brooch, for example).

08 February 2017

The Duchess of Cornwall at the British Asian Trust Gala

February 2: The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall attended a reception and dinner for the British Asian Trust.
For more: Zimbio gallery.

After a year of white gowns and white jewels, The Duchess of Cornwall remembered that she has dresses in luscious colors and gems to match! What a treat! This diamond and emerald necklace is assumed to be among the jewels that she picked up on one profitable trip to Saudi Arabia, when her year end gift list included one parure each of rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. (We have not covered these hefty baubles on this blog - yet! - though they have been mentioned on the other blog.) This emerald set also includes a pair of earrings and a bracelet, but she's chosen to use the earrings from her Pear Drop Diamond Demi-Parure here. I'm thrilled to see this necklace in action again, and even more thrilled that color has returned to her evening gems. More, please!

07 February 2017

Return to London

The Queen departed King's Lynn via train at the end of her Sandringham break.

Her scarf collection is nearly as well coordinated as her umbrella collection. (Fun fact: she wore the same brooch when leaving Sandringham last year.)

06 February 2017

The Queen’s Top Five Sapphires: #1. Prince Albert’s Sapphire Brooch

We've reached the day of Her Majesty's Sapphire Jubilee and we've reached the end of our countdown of her top five sapphire jewels! You'll never guess what lands on top.

Royal Collection/HM Queen Elizabeth II

I know, it's a shocker. Really, there's only one it could be: Prince Albert's Sapphire Brooch.

This brooch has everything! It's got the history: Prince Albert gave it to Queen Victoria the day before their wedding, and she wore it on the big day. She made it an heirloom of the crown and it has passed down through further generations of queens. It's got the size: the central sapphire is large and so much the star of the show that it can even make you forget just how large the twelve surrounding diamonds are.

Prime Minister's Office/Crown Copyright

And it's got the usage: this is probably the most significant piece of jewelry worn on a regular basis by The Queen. There are larger jewels, there are others that date back to Queen Victoria and even a few that go back even further; none, however, are worn as often as Albert's Sapphire and most are not this well known. What else could top a list of Her Majesty's top sapphire jewels?

(Really, what else? Share your personal top five in the comments!)

05 February 2017

Church in Norfolk

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh attended church at West Newton, Norfolk, near the Sandringham estate.

It's an early first appearance for the Cullinan V for the year, no complaints here. (Sapphires would've just too easy, you know.)

04 February 2017

The Queen’s Top Five Sapphires: #2. The George VI and Modern Sapphire Set

The most luscious set of sapphires at The Queen's disposal also might be the one with the greatest personal significance. King George VI had an eye for sapphires, purchasing them often for his wife. The mid-19th century necklace and earrings he gifted to his eldest daughter for her wedding have to be the most impressive ones he acquired. The Queen shortened the necklace, created a pendant for it from one of the extra links, and wore it regularly.

Library and Archives Canada, e010994340, via Creative Commons

She added to the set in 1963, acquiring a tiara and a bracelet. Neither the tiara (which is a converted necklace/dress ornament with a royal history of its own) nor the bracelet are precise matches to the style of the original demi-parure, and yet they make a decent assembled parure. As a personal gift, an example of the jewels that The Queen has added to jewel vault during her reign, and as her largest parure of sapphires, the George VI and Modern Sapphire Set deserves its high place on my list of Her Majesty's top sapphires.

03 February 2017

The Queen’s Top Five Sapphires: #3. Empress Marie Feodorovna’s Sapphire Brooch

No list of The Queen's top jewels - of any variety - would be complete without adequate representation of Queen Mary's contributions to the royal jewel vault. Empress Marie Feodorovna's Sapphire Brooch, an oval cabochon sapphire surrounded by diamonds and finished with a detachable pendant pearl, was among the jewels Queen Mary purchased from the collection of Empress Marie Feodorovna.

The jewel has more than a connection to Queen Mary, though. The Empress, who was born Princess Dagmar of Denmark, originally received the brooch as a wedding gift from her sister and brother-in-law, The Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, Mary's parents-in-law). There are other sapphire brooches at The Queen's disposal with connections to Queen Mary and the Russian relatives (Queen Mary's Russian Brooch, the Russian Sapphire Cluster Brooch), but the double significance and higher public profile of this brooch launches it onto my list of The Queen's top sapphires.

02 February 2017

The Queen’s Top Five Sapphires: #4. The Dubai Looped Sapphire Demi-Parure

The Dubai Looped Sapphire Demi-Parure has multiple large sapphires with enough carat wattage to earn a place on my list of The Queen’s top sapphires alone. It’s also a handy little representative for the impressive amounts of jewelry Her Majesty has been given over the course of her reign – and for the ways in which she deals with those jewels.

Sheikh Rashid of Dubai gifted this diamond and sapphire set to The Queen during her 1979 Middle East tour. It originally included a necklace, earrings, and a ring. And here’s where we learn about how she handles these things: she wore the pieces as they were originally given first, and after a period of time, she altered the set to suit her own tastes. The necklace was shortened (as she often does with necklaces), the extra links made smaller earrings, and the ring and original earrings (all larger than what she normally wears) made a bracelet. She turned the set into something she could comfortably wear more often while still respecting its origins, and she’s delighted in these big sapphires ever since.

01 February 2017

The Queen’s Top Five Sapphires: #5. The Sapphire Chrysanthemum Brooch

The Queen’s Sapphire Jubilee, marking an incredible 65 years on the throne, is on February 6. We’d be remiss if we didn’t use the opportunity to take a look at some of the top sapphires in her collection, so we’ll be counting down the top five (according to, well, me) starting today. 

So what qualifies something as a top sapphire jewel? History, absolutely; size, sure. But the jewels I’ve picked for this list also represent different sides of The Queen’s jewel vault. The Sapphire Chrysanthemum Brooch isn’t an enormous piece. It isn’t one of the more recognizable pieces, either.

Given to The Queen in 1946 for a ship christening, the Sapphire Chrysanthemum Brooch both represents the importance of the pieces she had when her jewel collection was significantly smaller (she wore this brooch all the time in her Princess Elizabeth days) as well as her tendency to continue using those early favorites even as her vault grew more and more packed.

The casual observer of Her Majesty’s jewels might not recognize this brooch until you point out all the notable moments it was worn for, including Princess Anne’s christening and the photographs taken when the young Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh where on their honeymoon. The Queen made sure to match it when they adorably recreated that moment to mark their 60th wedding anniversary. That alone makes it worthy of a place on this list. (Speaking of jubilees, these two kids will hit 70 years of marriage later this year!)