28 July 2015

Reader Mailbag: Camilla's Pearl Chokers

To celebrate the Duchess of Cornwall's birthday about a week ago, I tweeted a link to an article about the Greville Tiara, her most-worn sparkler. But one of my readers on Twitter offered this suggestion:

You've got it! Here's a look at the various pearl chokers that Camilla has worn. I'm organizing these by clasp here -- other than counting the strands of pearls, it's tough to tell whether some of the pieces are completely separate necklaces or if she's attached different clasps to the same necklace at various times.

The Gold, Aquamarine, and Diamond Clasp

One of the pieces that Camilla has worn the longest is this necklace, which features three rows of pearls clasped together by a large aquamarine bordered in diamonds and gold. She reportedly inherited the piece from her late mother, the Hon. Rosalind Shand. Above, Camilla wears the necklace at a service marking the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

The Diamond and Amethyst Clasp

In the years before her wedding, Camilla got major use out of this choker, a three-stranded choker with a geometric clasp made of diamonds surrounding a single amethyst. Camilla selected this necklace to wear at her very first official engagement: a visit to the National Osteoporosis Society in 2002. She also wore the necklace (plus an additional strand of pearls) at the Queen Mother's funeral.

The Garnet Clasp

I'm guessing a bit about the gemstone that makes up the clasp of this three-stranded pearl choker. The six gemstones, arranged in a rectangular shape, look like very dark red garnets to me. Camilla wore this piece during the early years of her marriage to Prince Charles; above, she wears it in Scotland during their honeymoon.

The Geometric Diamond Clasp

Camilla wore this three-stranded pearl choker, which has a large diamond clasp, on a visit to Egypt in 2006 and in Cardiff the following year.

The Pink Topaz and Diamond Clasp

This large necklace, which features five strands of pearls gathered by a large pink topaz and diamond clasp, is an antique (or the clasp is, anyway). Originally an Edwardian-era brooch, it was purchased at auction (possibly by Charles) in 2000. It also, intriguingly, had a matching pair of earrings.

The Round Diamond Clasp

One of the absolute workhorses of Camilla's jewel collection, this necklace features four strands of pearls linked by a round clasp of diamonds in a circular pattern. These days, if you see her wearing a pearl choker at a daytime event, it's almost always this particular necklace.

The Diamond Cross Clasp

The slightly-larger cousin of the previous necklace is this one, a four-stranded choker that has a large diamond clasp with a cross pattern. The intricate clasp makes it slightly fancier than the round diamond clasp necklace, and Camilla has begun wearing it at white-tie events, including the state opening of parliament this May. She also wore it to the recent christening of Princess Charlotte.

The Sapphire and Diamond Art Deco Clasp

One of the newer additions to Camilla's collection is this sapphire and diamond art deco clasp, which is used to fasten a three-stranded pearl necklace. She's worn it a couple of times over the past year, including a significant outing at Westminster Abbey for a Battle of Britain commemoration service.

Which of Camilla's pearl chokers is your favorite?