Queen Elizabeth’s personal jewels are on display – some of them for the first time – at Buckingham Palace


Rundell, bridge and Rundell, diamond tiara1820–1Photo: Courtesy of Royal Collection Trust

Photos of Queen Elizabeth wearing the tiaras with a variety of Norman Hartnell dresses, taken by London and New York photographer Dorothy Wilding, will also be on display. These powerful images could be one of the reasons we identify the Diamond Diadem as feminine. In fact, it was originally designed and manufactured for a man.

The flamboyant George IV commissioned the jewel for his coronation in 1821, using 1,333 brilliant-cut diamonds and 169 pearls, for which he paid the princely sum of $343. It was a groundbreaking piece at the time, with what is believed to be a political message interspersed with gemstones. Instead of using traditional fleur-de-lis motifs on the royal circlet (too reminiscent of France for his taste), George asked for shamrocks, thistles and roses – the emblems of Scotland, Ireland and England, respectively – reinforcing the Act of Union. combining the UK.

You might also be surprised to learn that the Cambridge Emeralds, hanging in Vladimir’s Tiara passed down from Queen Victoria, were originally won in a German lottery. The exhibit also shows a piece of the Cullinan Diamond – the largest diamond crystal yet discovered – dazzling on the Delhi Durbar necklace.

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