Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration
The Diamond Jubilee marks only the
second time in British history a sovereign has reigned for sixty
years; and as celebrations around the British Isles kick off to
mark this fabulous milestone for Her Majesty The Queen, the Royal
Collection is unveiling 'Diamonds: A Celebration'. This
landmark exhibition will take place in none other than Buckingham
Palace, the perfect venue to mark an achievement that only Queen
Victoria herself managed to match.
Drawing from what one can only
imagine is an unbelievable array of treasures, the exhibition
includes an unrivalled display of The Queen's personal jewels,
namely those inherited or acquired during her reign; fittingly for
a celebration of such a long and enduring sovereignty, diamonds
will be the key element throughout, including the regal Coronation
Necklace and Earrings created for Queen Victoria and subsequently
worn by Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth (The Queen
Mother) and Her Majesty The Queen at their respective coronations.
The necklace is formed of 25 graduated cushion-shaped brilliant-cut
diamonds with a central drop-shaped pendant of 22.48 carats. As
with all diamonds with such heritage, what amazes is not just their
historical provenance, but that the stones maintain such dazzling
lustre it's as if you are looking directly into the past, appearing
exactly as they must have seemed centuries before.
Queen Victoria, the only other
Diamond Jubilee holder in British history, has some select pieces
on display too, in particular a Fringe Brooch from 1856 by R &
S Garrard, featuring a large emerald-cut brilliant stone surrounded
by twelve other large brilliants, suspending nine diamond chains.
Many of these extraordinary stones have undergone a number of
transformations during their history, having been re-cut or
incorporated into new settings as fashions and tastes have changed.
This fringe brooch was remodelled by R & S Garrard from a piece
that then had stones added to it that were presented by the Sultan
of Turkey, Abdul Mejid I in May of 1856. The brooch was then worn
by Queen Alexandra, and subsequently by the Queen Mother for the
coronation of The Queen in 1953.
Another standout piece is the
classically-shaped miniature crown made once again by R & S
Garrard in 1870. In light of Prince Albert's death it was felt that
this crown should be worn over a veil, and as such was designed for
just that purpose, leading to Queen Victoria favouring this crown
over all others in the final few decades of her life. The crown
boasts an astonishing 1,187 diamonds, despite it only measuring 9cm
by 10cm. In light of these pieces, a more recent acquisition in the
collection and one of the most delectable is the South Africa
necklace that was given to the young Princess Elizabeth on her
21st birthday in 1947, with round brilliant cut diamonds
breathing vigourous life into these lustrous stones.
There are countless highlights,
some of which you can take a closer look at here, but this really
is only a handful of what will be on display. Diamonds: A Jubilee
Celebration will take place at Buckingham Palace from 30th June to
8th July, before re-opening 31st July until 7th October. For more
information, you can visit the Royal Collection website here.