2012 sees London and the British Isles in the spotlight for a number of reasons, and not just the Herculean efforts of the Olympic participants but also the grand celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, which provides us with a fantastic chance to see some historic treasures both known and unknown over the coming months.
Where better to start then than at Lucas Rarities, the Mayfair jeweller specialising in exactly the kind of pieces that do all of what rare jewellery should: inspire, enchant and tell a great tale too. Here we have a paste piece bangle and pin by Sir Norman Hartnell, that none other than the Queen Mother herself gave to Lady Hardinge, her lady in waiting under British arts and crafts section. Lady Haringe's husband was Sir Alexander Hardinge who was not only the 2nd Baron Hardinge of Penshurst but also private secretary to King George VI, performing his royal duties during a dramatic time in British and royal history: the abdication crisis of Edward VIII and during most of the Second World War. Also of note was that as well as being a fashion designer in his own right, Sir Norman Hartnell was Royal Warrant as Dressmaker to HM The Queen in 1940, subsequently Royal Warrant as Dressmaker to HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and then Royal Warrant as Dressmaker to Queen Elizabeth II in 1957.
A good example of the sort of rare and exceptionally singular jewellery that Lucas Rarities specialise in, the set is priced at £8,000 and as well as coming with a background as regal as this, they are accompanied by the original letter signed by the Queen Mother herself and sent from none other that Buckingham Palace.