07 January 2018

The Golden Dahlia Brooch

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Today, we're starting a new feature for the new year: a series of in-depth posts on royal brooches. We're kicking things off with one of Queen Elizabeth II's favorite pieces: her Golden Dahlia Brooch.

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Made for the Queen by Garrard in the early 1970s, the brooch is a stylized flower made of gold and studded with 31 diamonds. You'll sometimes see it called the "Frosted Sunflower Brooch" -- a name I've even used here -- but ever since a commenter pointed out that it looks much more like a dahlia, I've decided to go with that name for the piece.

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The brooch was completed by 1975. As Artemisia points out in her article on the brooch, one of its earliest appearances came that year during a Carriage and Fair competition held in Windsor Great Park.

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Appearances in the 1980s included this outing at the Windsor Horse Show in May 1984.


By the 1990s, the brooch had become one of the Queen's favorites, and it made regular appearances in her brooch rotation. Above, she wears the dahlia during a state visit to France in the summer of 1992. Because of the cut of her jacket, this was a rare occasion when she wore a brooch on the right side of her outfit.

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In 1993, the brooch made one of its appearances at Royal Ascot, an unusual occasion where it was worn on a patterned dress.

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Usually we see the Queen wear the brooch with solid colors, generally bold hues or pastels. In May 1999, she wore the brooch with a vibrant pink outfit at Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff.


She's also worn the brooch with a pink coat in more recent years, including this visit to the Rambert Dance Company in London in March 2014.


Because of its design and golden hue, the brooch is particularly suited for summery occasions. But she also wears the brooch occasionally with more wintery outfits, including this tweedy ensemble, worn for a snowy visit to church in West Newton on February 5, 2012, a day before her Diamond Jubilee year officially began.


The brooch has also been worn for major holidays, including appearances during her Christmas broadcast and on Easter Sunday at Windsor. Above, she wears the brooch for her Christmas message at Hampton Court Palace in 2010.