30 December 2014

Queen Elizabeth II: A Year in New Brooches

2014 has been quite a year for royal jewels, but no single royal has offered more surprises on the jewel front than Queen Elizabeth II. While she stuck to her usual favorites for major gala appearances, her daily wardrobe of brooches expanded significantly -- thanks, I think, to Angela Kelly's guidance and to the influx of gifts following the Diamond Jubilee. Here are ten (seriously, ten!) brooches we saw HM wear for the first time this year.

The Romanov Sapphire Brooch
In April, HM debuted a stunning treasure during her first meeting with Pope Francis: a brooch made of a sapphire ringed with gold and diamonds. The piece was purchased by Queen Mary in 1934; it's said to have belonged to Empress Marie Feodorovna.

The Saskatchewan Tourmaline Brooch
This lovely tourmaline, diamond, and pearl brooch was given to the Queen by the Lieutenant-Governor of Saskatchewan in 2013. She wore it for the first time in February, and has sported it on several outings since, including an outing at Royal Ascot.

The Diamond Daffodil Brooch
The national flower of Wales, the daffodil, is represented in diamond form in this new brooch, worn for the first time in public by the Queen during a visit to Essex in May. Many think this was a Diamond Jubilee gift; she'd previously worn it when sitting for a portrait commissioned by the Welsh Rugby Union.

The Commonwealth Reception Brooch
We don't know the provenance of this diamond bar brooch, worn for the first time in March for a Commonwealth reception, although its "C" motifs may indeed suggest a connection to HM's role as Head of the Commonwealth of Nations.

The Botswana Sorghum Brooch
The first of two new brooches worn by HM during her June state visit to France, this gold and diamond brooch is shaped like a spray of sorghum. It was given to the Queen by Botswana's president in 2007.

The Modern Floral Brooch
Also during the Parisian visit, HM debuted a floral brooch set with pink, yellow, and white diamonds.

The Double Swan Brooch
Royal Ascot saw several of the year's new brooches. Day 1 brought us two swans a-swimming: a brooch by Collins and Sons featuring a pair of the birds made out of diamonds and pearls.

The Queen Mother's Aquamarine Brooch
This diamond and aquamarine brooch, similar in profile to the Queen's Cartier aquamarine clips, is from the late Queen Mum's collection. It was worn for the first time at Ascot and then repeated later in the year.

The Bronte Porcelain Brooch
During a visit to Northern Ireland in June, the Queen wore a new snow-drop shaped brooch. The piece was designed by Lucy and Bob Price and manufactured by Bronte Porcelain.

The Turquoise and Diamond Brooch
This turquoise and diamond brooch, which looks to me like a nineteenth-century piece, was worn by the Queen for the first time in Derbyshire in July. No information has been released about the brooch.

Which of the Queen's new brooches was your favorite in 2014?