01 December 2017

The Queen Mother’s Cartier Bracelet Quintet and Bandeau

The Queen Mother’s Cartier Bracelet Quintet and Bandeau

This set of five Cartier Art Deco bracelets were given individually as presents from King George VI, then Duke of York, to his wife, Queen Elizabeth, then Duchess of York and later Queen Mother, for birthdays and Christmases in 1923-25. The diamond bracelets have different colored baguette centers: one ruby, one emerald, one sapphire, and two diamonds. There are two diamond bracelets and five total, although only four are pictured above and this set is often referred to as a quartet rather than the quintet that it is.

The Queen Mother, as Duchess of York, wearing the bandeau (left) and the bracelets (right)

Mounts to turn three of the bracelets into a bandeau to be worn in the hair were added from Cartier in 1925. The Queen Mother wore the bandeau through the early 1930s, and the bracelets haven’t been seen as a bandeau since. She also regularly stacked the bracelets on one wrist. (A frequent question: what necklace is she wearing in the bandeau picture above? It’s impossible to tell what stone that is, thanks to the black and white, but she did have a sapphire and diamond chain necklace made in 1929 and this could be it. It is unknown whether that necklace is still in existence.)

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The Queen wears one ruby and one diamond bracelet, 1977

The bracelets are now in the collection of The Queen. She was spotted wearing the diamond and ruby bracelets as early as the 1970s, so it’s not known for certain when exactly she received them from her mother. She also loaned the ruby bracelet to The Princess of Wales for a tour of Australia in 1983*.

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The Princess of Wales wears one ruby bracelet, 1983

The Queen still wears these bracelets. She may get more use out of them for private events, since she has certain sets of jewelry she likes to wear together and most of her tiaras have other preferred bracelets, but that’s my hunch and nothing more.

Read more about these bracelets and bandeau at Order of Splendor.

*With thanks to Franck.

11 December 2019: Diplomatic Reception
21 April 2018: The Queen's Birthday Party
18 May 2017: Dinner at The Ivy