25 July 2017

The Duchess of Cornwall's Saudi Sapphire Demi-Parure

Continuing our feature on Camilla's most impressive official gifts, in honor of her 70th birthday...

On her official visit with The Prince of Wales to Saudi Arabia in March 2006, The Duchess of Cornwall picked up three sets of jewelry centered around magnificent necklaces as gifts from members of the Saudi Arabian royal family: a ruby necklace, an emerald necklace, and a sapphire necklace. Although the ruby debut made the biggest headlines - and prompted the disclosure of the gifts' provenance - the necklace assumed to be the sapphire gift actually received the first public debut.

The Duchess of Cornwall debuts her Saudi Sapphire Demi-Parure Necklace in 2006, worn with her Diamond Flower Pendant Earrings

First publicly worn to the Prince's Trust Gala in November 2006, the necklace features a diamond base with nine sapphire and diamond pendants. Matching sapphire and diamond earrings were later worn with the set. These pieces were Camilla's choice to wear to the state banquet held for King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia at Buckingham Palace in 2007, leading me to speculate that sapphire demi-parure was specifically a gift from the late King himself. Official gifts are not The Duchess of Cornwall's private property, as explained more fully in our feature on the Saudi Ruby Demi-Parure.

The single sapphire pendant, worn with the earrings that belong to this demi-parure

The full necklace has only been worn a couple of times to date. In recent years The Duchess has, however, worn a single sapphire pendant on a delicate chain; this pendant is the same style as the pendants on the necklace and could either be one of the pendants repurposed or could be an additional feature of the parure. It makes a lovely accessory for the flowing salwar kameez-style evening ensembles Camilla favors, but I wish we saw more of the full necklace. It is, in my opinion, the most attractive of her Saudi sets.