30 August 2015

Sundays with the Queen: The Baring Ruby Necklace

By the early 1960s, Queen Elizabeth II had already been on the throne for a decade. That's a decade's worth of experience in white-tie banquets, state visits, and overseas tours, all of which required the coordination of gowns, order sashes, and jewels. It's not a coincidence that this is also the point when she began acquiring a few pieces of jewelry of her own, filling in holes in her collection. Today's jewel, the Baring Ruby Necklace, was one of those additions.

In 1964, the Queen owned at least one ruby necklace -- the large, v-shaped diamond and ruby necklace given to her by her parents as a wedding gift -- but that piece (pictured above) is fairly difficult to wear. She should have had the majestic crown rubies in her jewelry box, but those stayed with her mother until 2002. An easier-to-wear ruby necklace was apparently on Lillibet's shopping list, because that year, she purchased the Baring necklace.

The necklace is made of diamonds and flat-cut rubies. It has three distinctive pendant stones, which the Royal Collection states were probably originally made as earrings.

Eventually, after the Burmese Ruby Tiara was made in the 1970s, the piece became a frequent companion of the Baring necklace. The Queen has also worn the Baring necklace with the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara and Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara.

And, intriguingly, when the Queen finally wore the Oriental Circlet Tiara -- the piece that her mother had almost always worn with the crown rubies -- she wore it with the Baring necklace.

I have a feeling I'm not in the minority when I say that I hope the recent reappearance of the crown rubies signals a kind of semi-retirement for the Baring necklace. Perhaps the piece could be reconfigured into a pair of earrings and a necklace for one of the other Windsor ladies?