04 November 2017

The Greville Ruby Necklace

AFP/Getty Images

Seventy years ago, Princess Elizabeth of the United Kingdom received a treasure trove of wedding gifts. Among them was this unusual diamond and ruby necklace, which we're calling the Greville Ruby Necklace.

AFP/Getty Images

The necklace, which features a distinctive v-shaped design, was made by Boucheron in 1907 for the Hon. Mrs. Ronnie Greville. Above, in a close-up from a 1987 portrait, you can see that the necklace includes diamond floral elements interspersed with rubies. It was among the numerous jewels that Mrs. Greville left to Queen Elizabeth in 1942.

In 1947, five years after the Greville bequest, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth offered the necklace to Princess Elizabeth as one of her wedding gifts. It went on display with many other pieces of jewelry given to the future queen. This GIF from the display emphasizes the size of the necklace's diamond drop.

Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Elizabeth wore the necklace throughout the first decades of her reign. Above, for a 1954 banquet in Australia, she wears the necklace with jewels that belonged to Queen Mary: the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara and the Ruby Cluster Earrings.


For years, the necklace was hidden away in the royal vaults, but this year's Spanish state banquet brought a surprise. The Duchess of Cambridge wore the necklace for the first time in public, pairing it with Queen Mary's Lover's Knot Tiara.