Posts tagged sapphire and diamond necklace

Queen Elizabeth II wearing the sapphire and diamond earrings and necklace her father gave her to mark her wedding to Prince Philip in 1947.

This week marks a milestone for Queen Elizabeth II- she ascended the throne on the 6th February 1952; she has reigned for 65 years, longer than any other monarch in British history and this milestone has been declared her Sapphire Jubilee.  Sapphires suit Her Majesty, matching the colour of her eyes and skin tone, so here we take a look at some of the most impressive pieces in her collection.

The brooch Queen Victoria received from Prince Albert on her wedding day.  She rarely wore after his death and left it to the Crown in her will to be worn by all future queens.

Buckingham Palace today released an official portrait of the Queen to mark her latest landmark.  In it she wears sapphire and diamond necklace and earrings, the stones clearly being of matchless quality.  This set is particularly poignant to her- she received them as a wedding present from her father George VI to celebrate her marriage to Prince Philip in 1947.  The King was only 56 when he died, so to the Queen her Accession Day is a bittersweet occasion- a reminder that her long reign is in part due to the early death of her father.  She has worn the set often, as it is matches exactly the colour of her Garter riband.  In 1963 the Queen had a tiara and bracelet made to complete the set, using stones from a necklace that had originally belonged to Queen Louise of Belgium.

The pearl, sapphire and diamond brooch Queen Mary bought from the Empress Marie Feodorovna's estate in 1929.  It had been given to the Empress as a wedding present from her sister, the future Queen Alexandra.

The pearl, sapphire and diamond brooch Queen Mary bought from the Empress Marie Feodorovna's estate in 1929.  It had been given to the Empress as a wedding present from her sister, the future Queen Alexandra.

An essential part of the Queen’s uniform is a brooch, which she always wears on her left shoulder.  One of the most romantic sapphires in her collection is the Albert Brooch, given to Queen Victoria by Prince Albert on their wedding day.  It consists of a magnificent large sapphire surrounded by 12 diamonds.  Because of its romantic  associations, Victoria rarely wore it after the death of her beloved Albert and in her will left it to the Crown ‘to be worn by all future Queens of the United Kingdom’.

Another brooch of note is the Empress Marie Feodorovna’s sapphire and diamond brooch.  This jewel too was a wedding present- it was given to the future Empress in 1866 to mark her marriage to the Tsarevich, the future Alexander III by her sister and brother-in-law, Alexandra Princess of Wales and the future Edward VII.  When the Empress died in exile in 1929, this, along with several other pieces, were acquired by Queen Mary.  The brooch must have attracted her attention not only due to the quality of the piece but also the family connection.

Staying with the Romanov theme, another important piece acquired by Queen Mary but very rarely seen is the Empress’ sapphire and diamond bandeau tiara.  It is a stylish piece centred on an important cushion cut sapphire with diamond rays radiating from it.  It was acquired at the same time as the brooch and Queen Mary wore it often.  It was inherited by the Queen and although she has never worn it, she loaned it several times to Princess Margaret.  It is a piece Royal jewel watchers would love to see resurrected from the vaults, especially on the Duchess of Cambridge.

Rarely seen: Princess Margaret wears another Romanov heirloom, the sapphire and diamond bandeau bought from Empress Marie of Russia's estate.

My personal favourite is the Queen’s Art Deco sapphire bracelet.  It was given to her by her (clearly very generous) father.  A favourite piece of the monarch’s, it is classic Art Deco, perfect timeless design that never dates.

18th Birthday Present: the art deco sapphire and diamond bracelet the Queen was given by her father George VI to mark her landmark birthday.


The matchless emerald necklace of Elizabeth Taylor.  Made by Bvlgari, it was a present from Richard Burton.

Elizabeth Taylor wearing the necklace in 1965 after winning her Oscar for 'Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf'.

A rare treat is in store for you if you happen to have half an afternoon to spare in London this week... for a very limited time only, Bvlgari are showing seven jewels from the collection from Elizabeth Taylor.  These are all highly unique pieces that the Italian jewellery house made and which were subsequently acquired by Elizabeth.  The actress’ substantial jewellery collection was sold after her death in 2011, with the proceeds going to charity, in accordance to her last wishes.  Bvlgari tried to buy back all the jewellery made by them on offer at the auction, but they were outbid on several pieces.  As has been reported, the jewels sold way over their original estimate, highlighting the pulling power of Elizabeth’s mega-stardom. 

Happily for us, though, they managed to bid successfully on what was probably Elizabeth’s most famous piece, her magnificent emerald necklace.  It was a gift to her from Richard Burton, and he and Elizabeth would spend many happy afternoons in Bvlgari in Rome while filming Cleopatra.  The stones are matchless; the set was added to over the years with other Bvlgari pieces which are also on show, such as a peerless emerald pendant that can also be worn as a brooch, an important emerald ring and a charming emerald and diamond brooch in the shape of a spray of flowers.

The emerald and diamond flower spray brooch.

The boldly designed geometric sautoir, featuring an impressive Burmese sugar loaf sapphire just shy of 53 carats.

Elizabeth Taylor with Richard Burton looking impossibly glamorous, wearing her sapphire and diamond sautoir.

Also on show is the dramatic geometric sapphire and diamond sautoir executed in a bold geometric design.  The centre stone is a beautiful, sugar loaf sapphire of just under 53 carats, of a dreamy blue hue that is only found in the most perfect examples from Burma.  It is accompanied by another important cabochon sapphire set into a diamond ring, which Elizabeth bough some years after the sautoir, realising that it perfectly matched the stone already in her possession.

The exhibition, which also includes four costumes worn by Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra, is small- but perfect due to the quality of the exhibits.  It is being held to celebrate the 125 year anniversary of Bvlgari and there is no knowing when these jewels will be seen again.  One rather sad thing is that these jewels will probably never be worn; having been owned by someone who derived so much pleasure from playing with and wearing her glitter, there is something almost melancholy in their fate of being forever locked behind glass.

Bvlgari and Elizabeth Taylor is on show at Bvlgari, 168 New Bond Street, London, W1S 4RB, until 16th July 2016.