Queen Elizabeth’s Most Loved Jewellery Pieces
Throughout her long reign, the Queen has been widely admired not only for her dedication to duty but also as a fashion icon. With a jewellery collection estimated to be worth a reported £5billion, Queensmith’s jewellery experts take a look at some of her most remarkable and sentimental pieces.
From the timeless classic pearl necklaces which she was spotted wearing most days to the elegant Diamond Diadem which has graced the Queen’s head on stamps and coins throughout her long reign.
What jewellery was the Queen buried in?
It is believed that Queen Elizabeth II chose to be buried in just two very sentimental and simple pieces from her extensive jewellery collection: a pair of pearl stud earrings and her Welsh gold, plain wedding ring. The rest of her jewellery collection will remain in Royal possession, with Charles likely to inherit the majority to give to women in the family or keep hold of as he pleases. It is likely that Queen Consort Camilla and Catherine, Princess of Wales will inherit some of the Queen’s most beloved, key jewellery pieces.
1. Queen Elizabeth II's Pearl Necklaces
The Queen’s love for pearls dates back to a very early age, being her first ‘serious’ piece of jewellery. The Queen has an extensive collection of pearl necklaces, some with a single strand for more quiet days, others up to six strands - but her most iconic and beloved style was a classic three strand pearl necklace. Her most-worn three-strand necklace, which she was rarely seen in public without, was a gift from her beloved father, King George VI, who passed away in 1952. Owing to their sentimental and historical significance, each of the Queen's three-strand pearl necklaces could be worth over £5,000,000.
The recently-appointed Princess of Wales, Kate, wore a beautiful four strand pearl necklace that once belonged to the Queen during her state funeral, estimated at around £30,000. The design of the choker is incredibly refined; the four strings of pearls meet a diamond set clasp motif, which features three rows of diamonds set into a marquise shape, topped and tailed with stunning pear drop diamonds in a leaf-like style.
She had previously worn the necklace to celebrate Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip’s 70th wedding anniversary, and to Prince Phillip’s funeral - so it was a meaningful choice for the reflective day.
Some of the late Queen’s favourite earrings were also pearl pieces, with the Queen often choosing a simple pearl stud or drop for her daily appearances. It is believed that a simple pair of pearl stud earrings are one of two jewellery items that the Queen chose to be buried in. Megan Markle accessorised simply on the day of the Queen’s funeral, with dainty diamond and pearl stud earrings given to her by Queen Elizabeth and worn on their first public engagement together.
The tradition of pearls within the Royal Family was started by Queen Victoria who gave her daughters and grand-daughters a pearl every birthday, so by the age of 18, they have a full necklace. The Queen’s parents carried on this tradition, giving her two pearls per birthday. She received a full necklace on her coronation in 1937.
2. Queen Elizabeth II's Wedding Ring & Engagement Ring
Despite often covering her hands with gloves in public, the Queen always wore her engagement ring and wedding rings. Prince Phillip designed the elegant diamond and platinum engagement ring himself, perhaps making this jewellery piece one of the most sentimental and unique in the Queen’s stunning collection.
The central diamond was re-set from a tiara owned by Philip’s mother, Princess Alice to create the 3-carat ring. The central diamond solitaire is flanked on each side with 5 smaller diamonds, all set in platinum. Prince Philip then used remaining stones to make her a diamond bracelet as a wedding gift.
The ring would likely retail in the region of £150,000, but due to its provenance and historical significance, it could well be worth many millions.
The Queen’s wedding ring, which it is believed she was buried with, was made from Welsh gold given to the Queen’s parents for their wedding. A simple Welsh gold, plain wedding ring is the traditional choice for all Royal weddings, chosen by both Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle for their wedding rings.
3. The Sapphire Jubilee Necklace
Precious, powerful, mysterious, and magical are just some of the qualities attributed to sapphires over the centuries. The deep tone OF blue sapphires is synonymous with regality and sovereignty. One of the most iconic sapphire necklaces from the Queen's extensive jewellery collection is George VI’s sapphires which the Queen received as a wedding present from her Father.
The necklace features around 300cts of sapphires and over 100cts diamonds. The incredible sapphire and diamond cluster line necklace originally featured 18 sapphires, sat on a gradient, ranging from eight to 30cts, before it was redesigned. In 1952, the Queen had the necklace shortened and the largest stone removed and made into a brooch. The necklace now contains around 200cts of sapphires and 100cts of diamonds, which means it's likely to be worth around £3.5million.
4. Queen Mary's Lover's Knot Brooch
The Queen is known for wearing a variety of impressive brooches. It is thought that she owns over 100 beautiful brooches which all have a special meaning behind them. Many of her brooches date back to before Elizabeth was born, one of these includes one of the Queen’s personal favourites, Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot brooch.
Dating back to the nineteenth century, this brooch would have a value of around £50,000 today. This stunning bow-shaped diamond brooch is the largest bow brooch in the Queen’s collection featuring hundreds of small, pavé set diamonds. Her Majesty fittingly wore the Lover’s Knot brooch for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011, as well as several other banquets with heads of state.
5. Queen Elizabeth's Brazilian Aquamarine Tiara
The beautiful tiara features an elaborate diamond and aquamarine bandeau base, with three aquamarine and diamond elements placed at intervals. In 1971 the Queen super-sized the tiara, swapping the central stone for a large one which was the original pendant from the necklace - as well as adding four new motifs to set between each of the three upright oblong aquamarines. Each element of the tiara was also topped by a round aquamarine. With such an incredible story and such large, vibrant gems, it's no wonder the parure is now thought to have a value of over £5 million.
The Brazilian Aquamarine Tiara was inspired by a necklace and a pair of earrings, gifted as a coronation gift by the Brazilian president in 1953. The Queen loved the set so much that in 1957, she commissioned a tiara to be made matching the aquamarine demi-parure.
6. The George IV Coronation Diadem
This stunning crown, in which the Queen is illustrated wearing on British stamps and various currencies around the Common Wealth, features 1,333 diamonds and 169 pearls. The crown was made for the coronation of George IV in 1820 and since then, has been sported by every Queen and Queen consort since.
The George IV Coronation Diadem features symbols of the United Kingdom such as roses, shamrocks and thistles and is valued at around £600,000. If traditions continue, we could see Camila wear the crown at her husband's coronation.
7. Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara
Commissioned by Queen Mary in 1919, this tiara was given to Queen Elizabeth I as a wedding gift before passing on to Elizabeth II. Queen Mary’s Fringe tiara was originally a necklace given by Queen Victoria to her grandson's wife, the future Queen Mary. Queen Mary wore the tiara on her wedding day.
In 1947, The Queen Mother lent it to Queen Elizabeth II to wear on her wedding day. The tiara was a rather touching tribute to the bride’s grandmother Queen Mary, as it was originally her wedding tiara. The fragile tiara snapped when placed on the bride’s head before the ceremony and had to be quickly repaired by jewellers Garrard on-site before she walked down the aisle. The Queen Mother retained the tiara after the wedding and later lent it to her granddaughter Princess Anne at her wedding in 1973. The Queen inherited the tiara after her mother’s death. Due to the significance of this tiara, it has an estimated value of over £5 million.