08 February 2015

Sundays with the Queen: The King Faisal Necklace

Time for another new feature here at The Court Jeweller! Along with occasionally bringing you Sunday news updates, we'll be delving into the extensive jewelry vaults of Buckingham Palace to marvel at pieces owned by Queen Elizabeth II. Today, we begin with one of my favorites: the King Faisal Diamond Necklace. Enjoy!

In May 1967, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia traveled to the United Kingdom for a state visit. He brought with him a rather glittering gift for Queen Elizabeth II: a diamond necklace, made in the 1950s by Harry Winston.

Faisal had purchased the necklace from the jeweler in March. The piece is set with more than 300 diamonds, including baguettes, brilliants, and eleven pear-shaped diamonds set as pendant stones. The stones are set in platinum, and the necklace features a combined weight of more than 80 carats of diamonds.

The King Faisal Necklace became a part of Elizabeth's rotation of jewels for events like state banquets. She has paired the necklace with more than one tiara -- often either the Vladimir Tiara or the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara.

In recent years, however, the Queen has frequently selected other diamond necklaces, including the King Khalid Necklace, for gala events. (This is just my speculation, but I wonder if the fact that the Faisal Necklace sits close to the throat makes it less than comfortable.) Instead, she has loaned the piece out to her daughters-in-law. Above, the Princess of Wales wears the Faisal Necklace in Australia in 1983.

Much more recently, the Countess of Wessex wore the Faisal Necklace at the dinner held the night before the wedding of the Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg in 2012.