Buckingham Palace to Display the Royal Jewels in Celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

*Originally published January 2012
In a fitting tribute to mark the Queen of England’s 60 years on the throne, Buckingham Palace and the Royal Collection are set to display a dazzling exhibition of diamonds, culminating in a celebration of the precious gemstones that have been associated with British monarchs for the past 200 years.   The exhibition, which will be the focal point of the palace's 2012 summer opening, will include an unprecedented display of some of the sovereign's personal jewels.  These extremely rare pieces unveil the story of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, and those of her predecessors, in a exceptional, glittering opportunity that may only be available once in a lifetime.
The Girls of Great Britain Tiara, affectionately called “Granny’s tiara” by the Queen when it was given to her by her grandmother in 1947, is one of the highlights of the collection.  The tiara was a wedding present to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, later Queen Mary - the Queen's grandmother - on behalf of the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland in 1893.  Considered one of the most precious possessions that the Queen has, she wears this piece to state banquets, most recently for the Turkish president in November. The tiara was originally crafted in pearls at the top, but was altered in 1920 by Queen Mary who replaced the pearls with diamonds and removed the base.


Originally created for Queen Victoria in 1858, the only other British monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee, this glittery necklace and matching diamond earrings were worn by the Queen at her coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey in 1953.  The necklace is crafted with 25 large, graduated cushion-shaped and brilliant-cut diamonds with a central drop-shaped pendant of 22.48 carats.  Over time, the necklace, which was also worn at the coronations of Queen Alexandra and Queen Mary, has been modified, while Queen Elizabeth – the Queen Mother – used several of the larger stones to make another set of earrings, replacing the diamonds from another necklace.   Many of the royal jewels have undergone transformations through the ages - having been recut or used in new settings depending on the fashion or the preferences of the queens or princesses who used them.


This recognizable miniature crown from Queen Victoria, which measures just 9cm by 10cm, contains nearly 1200 diamonds.
The Queen’s Williamson Brooch, which features a rare pink diamond, said to be the finest in existence, is also part of the Diamond Jubilee celebration.  Originally a 23.6 carat jewel from Tanzania given to the Queen uncut as a wedding present was made into the famous flower brooch by Cartier in 1953.

Queen Elizabeth received this necklace and bracelet, comprised of 21 large diamonds, from the South African government on her 21st birthday while she was in Cape Town for her birthday celebrations.  She then wore the diamond necklace and bracelet 52 years later on a return visit to Africa.  Most recently, the Queen wore this set, which she has named “my best diamonds,” while she was a guest of South African President Jacob Zuma in England.

Images and information courtesy of BornRich.com