10 May 2015

Sundays with the Queen: The Queen Mother's Aquamarine Art Deco Brooch

Happy Mother's Day to everyone celebrating in the US today! In honor of moms -- or, rather, I suppose we should say mums, today we're looking at a brooch from the Queen Mother's collection: her aquamarine clip brooch.

On Friday, the Queen wore her mother's aquamarine and diamond brooch to launch the 70th anniversary celebrations of VE Day. It's the continuation of a trend: HM tends to wear brooches from her mother's collection at events commemorating anniversaries from the First and Second World Wars, two events that were turning points in her mother's life.

The Queen Mum was photographed in this diamond and aquamarine brooch as early as the 1940s. I believe you can see the brooch in the photograph above, taken of the Queen Mum in Stratford in April 1941.

I'm also rather intrigued by the possibility that this is the brooch that the Queen Mum actually wore on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on VE Day in 1945. The shape looks right, though I've not been able to find a clear enough photo to say for certain. (Here's the best version I've found so far.) If it is the same brooch, I'm beyond impressed with the Queen and Angela Kelly.

The Queen inherited her mother's extensive jewel collection in 2002, and she's been slowly introducing various pieces into her own jewel rotation ever since. This brooch is a fairly new addition: she wore it for the first time last year at Royal Ascot.

The Queen Mum's brooch is sometimes confused with the Queen's own set of diamond and aquamarine clips, which were an eighteenth-birthday present from her parents. Those clips are sometimes identified as being made by Cartier (the company that popularized the style), but the Royal Collection has also identified the maker as Boucheron. The Queen sometimes wears the clips together as a single brooch, but more often, she wears them as a separate pair.