02 June 2016

Royal Sapphires and Bronze Jewels

The Queen visits the Honourable Artillery Company (Photo: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom visited the Honourable Artillery Company in London. The Queen, who is the company's longest-serving Captain-General, unveiled a bronze bust of herself during the visit.

Photo: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

For the engagement, the Queen wore a unique brooch from Queen Mary's collection. The brooch, which features a large cabochon sapphire and a large diamond surrounded by a geometric setting of diamonds, was a wedding present to Mary in 1893 from Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia. (Marie Feodorovna, who was born Princess Dagmar of Denmark, was King George V's aunt.) Elizabeth II inherited the brooch from Mary in 1953.

Photo: CHRIS JACKSON/AFP/Getty Images

And we also got some extra "jewels" at the event, because the new bust of the Queen is wearing Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik with the Nizam of Hyderabad Necklace. It's always interesting to see a sculptor's interpretation of jewels -- how well do you think this artist captured the pieces?

Photo: CHRIS JACKSON/AFP/Getty Images

Also present at the unveiling: Prince and Princess Michael of Kent. (Michael is a Royal Honorary Colonel of the company.) Marie Christine wore a large pair of earrings. Not sure if these are set with precious stones or are costume pieces, but they're set with large pearls surrounded by a red border (possibly enamel?) and perhaps also small white gemstones.