19 July 2018

Much Ado About The Queen's Brooches

The Queen meets the American President and First Lady at Windsor Castle, 13 July 2018 (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

In September 2015, as the Queen neared yet another royal record – becoming Britain's longest-reigning monarch – the historian David Starkey paid tribute to the sovereign's careful, non-controversial approach to her role, dubbing her "Elizabeth the Silent."

Indeed, silence has been a hallmark of Queen's six decades on the throne. In a world where everyone seems to have an opinion on every subject, the Queen has been resolutely tight-lipped about hers. She does not share her personal political views with the rest of us; the only hints we've gotten of her politics have come second-hand, through the whispers of party-goers, courtiers, and even the occasional indiscreet prime minister, never confirmed and never clarified. Andrew Marr wrote in 2012 that the Queen "has never 'confessed' or reinvented herself. When something hurtful or wrong is reported she bites her tongue. As a young woman she was a global superstar, but she does not play to the media in a gushing way and certainly does not court them." In a monarchical world where image is everything, Marr argues, the Queen simply "has no image" at all.

This silence – this lack of defined image – allows for much interpretation. The Queen is a cipher: she can be everything or nothing at the same time. Since she doesn't express her own feelings, thoughts and opinions are often assigned to her. She becomes a sort of mirror, reflecting back any opinion that the holder wishes to project upon her.

And that brings us to the matter at hand. This week, the press has gone wild over one of these projections, a theory that argues that the Queen hasn't actually been silent at all – but instead has been telegraphing us secret messages about her politics. Her preferred method of expression? Her jewelry – specifically, her enormous collection of brooches, the glittering ornaments that she pins to her coat or dress for nearly every public engagement.

Unsurprisingly, this new theory about the politics of Elizabeth II's jewelry has come courtesy of two of the defining entities of 2018: Twitter and Donald Trump.

The Daily Diadem: The Baden Fringe Tiara

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Queen Louise of Sweden wears the Baden Fringe Tiara at the Nobel Prize Ceremony in Stockholm, 10 December 1964; read more about the tiara here!

Queen Mary's Ruby Cluster Earrings

Queen Elizabeth II wears Queen Mary's Ruby Cluster Earrings for a gala dinner in Slovenia, 21 October 2008 (SRDJAN ZIVULOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

The British royal jewelry vaults are packed with gorgeous pieces set with rubies, but for my money, their best ruby jewels of all may be the lovely ruby and diamond cluster earrings that belonged to the Queen's grandmother, Queen Mary.

18 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Miller Fringe Tiara

Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Marie-Chantal of Greece wears the Miller Fringe Tiara at the pre-wedding gala for Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stephanie of Luxembourg, 19 October 2012; read more about the tiara over here!

The Sussexes Celebrate Nelson Mandela

Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex headed to Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall on Tuesday for a visit to the Nelson Mandela Centenary Exhibition, which explores the life and times of Nelson Mandela and marks the centenary of his birth.

Birthday Pearls for Camilla in Cornwall

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall embarked on their yearly visit to Cornwall and Devon this week, which also happens to be the week that Camilla celebrates her 71st birthday. Here's a look at the jewels she wore for a day out in Fowey.

17 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Kent City of London Fringe Tiara

Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent wears her diamond fringe tiara, a wedding gift from the City of London, during the Greek state visit, 11 July 1963; read more about the tiara here!

The Imperial Crown of Russia

Nicholas II, the last emperor of Russia, wears the Imperial Crown in an illustration from the time of his 1896 coronation (Wikimedia Commons)

On this date in 1918, Emperor Nicholas II of Russia, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna, Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna, and Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich were murdered in Ekaterinburg by members of the Bolshevik secret police. In the century that has elapsed since their deaths, the Romanovs have become figures of myth and legend, spectral representations of a glamorous, glittering imperial past. The reality of their lives is much, much more complicated -- as is true of the story of any family that exists in the center of power. Today, we're looking at one of the most important symbols of that power: the Grand Imperial Crown of Russia.

16 July 2018

Wimbledon Jewels for the Cambridges

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

On Saturday, the Duchess of Cambridge brought her sister-in-law to Wimbledon, and on Sunday, she brought her husband. Here's a look at the jewels Kate wore as she took in the men's final with William.

The Daily Diadem: Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara

AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom wears Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara in a portrait, ca. 1937; learn more about the tiara over here!

Jewel History: Women Fought for Admission to Gem Auction (1927)

Laurits Tuxen's painting of the Coronation of Nicholas II and Alexandra, completed in 1898 and held in the collection of the Hermitage Museum

"Women Fought for Admission to Gem Auction"
(originally appeared in the Montreal Gazette, 17 March 1927)

LONDON, March 16 -- Women fought for admission to Christie's showrooms today to attend an auction of a collection of royal Russian jewels including the famous nuptial crown of Catherine the Great [1]. The gems brought a total of £80,561, or almost $400,000.

The nuptial crown, as it is described to distinguish it from the great imperial coronation crown, was sold early to a Paris firm for £6,100. It has double rows of fine brilliants set in borders of smaller stones and surmounted by a cross of six large brilliants.

15 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Swedish Aquamarine Kokoshnik

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Princess Madeleine of Sweden wears the family's aquamarine kokoshnik during the Nobel Prize banquet in Stockholm, December 2015; read more about the tiara here!

Birthday Jewels for Crown Princess Victoria

Michael Campanella/Getty Images

Crown Princess Victoria, the future Queen of Sweden, celebrated her 41st birthday on Saturday with festivities on the island of Öland. Here's a look at the jewels the family wore for the annual Victoriadagen celebrations.

14 July 2018

Pearls for a Day of Duchesses at Wimbledon


We got a bit of a royal treat earlier today, when the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex headed to Wimbledon together to take in a spot of tennis, including a match featuring Meghan's close friend, Serena Williams. Here's a look at the jewelry we did (and didn't) see on this duchesses' day out.

The Daily Diadem: The Greek Emerald Parure Tiara

German Federal Archives/Wikimedia Commons

Queen Friederike of the Hellenes wears the (slightly-modified) kokoshnik-shaped version of the family's emerald parure tiara during a visit to Germany, September 1956; learn more about the parure here!

Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna's Fringe Tiara

Detail of Philip de Laszlo's portrait of Queen Marie of Romania wearing her mother's diamond fringe tiara, painted 1936 (Wikimedia Commons)

When the Romanovs reigned in Russia, every grand duchess got a kokoshnik-style diamond fringe tiara as a part of her trousseau when she married. Think about how many Russian grand duchesses there were! No wonder there are so many of these hanging around in royal vaults, huh? But today we're talking about one, Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna's Fringe Tiara, that bounced from royal family to royal family before finally disappearing through the doors of an auction house.

13 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: Grand Duchess Ella's Emerald Kokoshnik

Wikimedia Commons

Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia wears the emerald and diamond kokoshnik she inherited from her aunt and guardian, Grand Duchess Ella, in a portrait; read more about the tiara here!

This Week in Royal Jewels: July 6-12

July 6-12, 2018

It's been another crazy busy royal week, so we've got plenty of jewels for you to enjoy today! Don't forget to vote for your favorites in the poll below!

Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

20. For audiences at Zarzuela Palace on Thursday, Queen Letizia of Spain wore a pair of delicate beaded pendant earrings.

12 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Vladimir Sapphire Kokoshnik

Wikimedia Commons

Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia wears her diamond and sapphire kokoshnik in a portrait by Boris Kustodiev, painted ca. 1911; learn more about the kokoshink over here!

Scouting Statement Earrings for Queen Maxima

Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands headed to Voorburg on Tuesday to attend a scouting event, and although the environment was a fairly casual one, our reliable Max brought along a major pair of earrings.

11 July 2018

Sussex Visit to Ireland: Jewels of Day Two

Andrew Parsons - Pool/Getty Images

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex wrapped up their quick visit to Ireland on Wednesday with a tour of some of Dublin's most famous landmarks. Here's a look at Meghan's jewels for the day.

The Daily Diadem: The Cartier Pearl and Diamond Kokoshnik

Cole Bennetts/Getty Images

A delicate pearl and diamond kokoshnik, made by Cartier in 1908, is displayed in Canberra, Australia, March 2018; learn more about the exhibition here, here, and here!

Sussex Visit to Ireland: Jewels of Day One


The Duke and Duchess of Sussex embarked on the first foreign trip as a married couple on Tuesday, touching down in Dublin to start their two-day visit to Ireland. Luckily for us, Meghan treated us to not one but two pairs of earrings for day one.

10 July 2018

Royal Jewels to Celebrate the RAF

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the royal family gathered in London to celebrate the centenary of the Royal Air Force. Here's a look at the jewels that they wore for the occasion.

The Daily Diadem: The Prussian Meander Kokoshnik

Wikimedia Commons

Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia wears the Prussian Meander Kokoshnik at her wedding to Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, 1938; learn more about the tiara over here!

Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna's Coronation Brooch

Princess Elisabeth wears the coronation brooch, May 2004 (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

When Princess Elisabeth of Denmark passed away last month, we chatted about one of her beautiful heirloom jewels: her diamond and sapphire tiara. But, given our focus on the Romanovs this month, it's only fair to peek once more into her jewelry collection to discuss a rare, spectacular jewel: the coronation brooch that belonged to her Russian great-grandmother, Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna.

09 July 2018

Royal Jewels at Prince Louis's Christening


The Wales/Cambridge/Sussex family was out in force on Monday for the christening of their newest member, Prince Louis of Cambridge. Here's a look at some of the jewelry they wore for the little prince's big day.

The Daily Diadem: Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom wears Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik with pieces from the Brazilian Aquamarine Parure during a reception at Buckingham Palace, January 1969; read more about the tiara here and the aquamarines here!

Order of the Thistle Jewels 2018

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

During Holyrood Week, the annual period when Queen Elizabeth II is officially in residence at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, a service is held for members of the Order of the Thistle, Scotland's highest order of chivalry. Here's a look at the royal jewels we saw on display on Friday at the order's chapel at St. Giles High Kirk.

08 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Vladimir Tiara

Department of Defense/Wikimedia Commons

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom wears the Vladimir Tiara in its original pearl setting for a state dinner with President and Mrs. Reagan in Washington, D.C., 23 February 1983; more on the tiara over here!

The Grima Ruby Brooch

Queen Elizabeth II tours the Diamond Jubilee Galleries at Westminster Abbey, 8 June 2018 (KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP/Getty Images)

Many of the Queen's brooches are traditional pieces, inherited from generations past. But there are an increasing number of modern pieces in her collection. Today, we're looking at one of these newer brooches: the Grima Ruby Brooch.

07 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Meiji Tiara

National Archives/Wikimedia Commons

Empress Nagako of Japan wears the Meiji Tiara for a state dinner with President and Mrs. Ford in Washington, D.C., 2 October 1975; more on the tiara over here!

Empress Alexandra's Boucheron Coronet

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia wears her Boucheron coronet in a portrait, ca. 1914 (Wikimedia Commons)

The Romanov jewelry vaults were massive, including some of the most elaborate diadems and tiaras worn at the turn of the twentieth century. But Russia's last empress was partial to a much smaller sparkler: a sentimental pearl and diamond coronet.

06 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Niarchos Ruby Bandeau

Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

Princess (now Queen) Sofia of Spain wears the Niarchos Ruby Bandeau and other pieces from the accompanying suite for an official dinner with President and Mrs. Nixon in Washington, D.C., 26 January 1971; more on the parure over here!

The Court Jeweller on Jeopardy!

What is ... The Court Jeweller on Jeopardy!?

Grab your snacks and set your DVRs, everybody -- I'm going to be on Jeopardy! today! I traveled to California to tape the show back in March, and my appearance finally airs today. You'll notice on the show that they call me by my real name, Lauren. (I write online under a pseudonym based on my initials!)

If you're not sure when Jeopardy! airs in your television market, you can hop over to the show's website to find your station. I'll also be tweeting about the experience on my personal Twitter account, which you can find here. Thanks so much for all of your excitement about the show so far!

This Week in Royal Jewels: June 29-July 5

June 29-July 5, 2018

The royals were out and about in a significant amount of daytime sparkle this week. Don't forget to vote for your favorites in the poll below!

YUI MOK/AFP/Getty Images

10. The Duchess of Sussex wore dainty diamond earrings on Thursday for a Commonwealth Secretariats Youth Leadership Workshop reception at Marlborough House; according to What Meghan Wore, these are the 3 Diamond Amigo Earrings from Adina Reyter.

05 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: Grand Duchess Hilda's Floral Tiara

Image licensed to The Court Jeweller; do not reproduce

Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg wears Grand Duchess Hilda's Floral Tiara for a state dinner with President and Mrs. Kennedy in Washington, D.C., 30 April 1963; more on the tiara here!

Jewel History: State Performance at the Opera (1893)

Guests in the royal box at the Opera House in Covent Garden on 4 July 1893, just before the royal wedding, in an illustration from the Illustrated London News

"State Performance at the Opera"
(originally appeared in the Daily News, 5 July 1893)

The State performance given at the Opera House last night in honour of the Duke of York [1] and the Princess May [2] differed in one important respect from previous "gala" representations held in the same building. Hitherto, or at any rate during the past thirty years, these "Command" performances have taken place only on the visit of some foreign potentate, such as the late Czar, the German Emperor, or the Shah. The event of last evening, when the large majority of the illustrious company in the Royal box were connected by ties of kinship with our own Royal family, was, on the other hand, essentially a national and almost a domestic gathering -- a compliment paid by London Society to the English Prince and Princess whose wedding will be celebrated tomorrow.

Not that the splendour of the scene was diminished a whit on this account. It may indeed be said, without the slightest fear of contradiction, that a more brilliant spectacle has never before been witnessed at Covent Garden. As to the galleries, which were crammed to their last seats, the crowds had been waiting outside the doors from one o'clock in the afternoon. The floor of the house and the boxes were filled by the flower of the English aristocracy, the ladies resplendent in costly costumes and rare diamonds, while the gentlemen, although Court dress was not unduly insisted upon, were almost without exception clad in either levee dress or uniform.

04 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Seven Emeralds Tiara

Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

Farah Pahlavi, the last Empress of Iran, wears the Seven Emeralds Tiara for a state dinner with President and Mrs. Kennedy in Washington, D.C., 11 April 1962; the tiara is now on display in Tehran with the rest of the nation's crown jewels

The Grima Bicentennial Brooch

The Grima Bicentennial Brooch (Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library/Wikimedia Commons)

Happy Independence Day, fellow American magpies! I'm taking the day off to enjoy parades, barbecue, and fireworks with my family, but before I go, I've got an intriguing bit of American bling to share with you: the Grima Bicentennial Brooch.

03 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Pearl Sunburst Tiara

Image licensed to The Court Jeweller; do not reproduce

Crown Princess (now Empress) Michiko of Japan wears the Pearl Sunburst Tiara and jewels from its accompanying suite for a state dinner with President and Mrs. Eisenhower in Washington, D.C., 27 September 1960; learn more about the parure here!

Princess Ayako's Engagement Jewels


Another Japanese princess is hanging up her jewels for love! Princess Ayako of Takamado announced her engagement on Monday, and we've got a look at her understated jewels from the official press conference.

02 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) of the United Kingdom wears the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara for a dinner with President Truman at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., 1950; read more about the tiara over here!

The Bay Tree Egg

The Bay Tree Egg is displayed at Sotheby's in New York ahead of its auction, 8 January 2004 (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Most of the jewels we focus on here on the blog are wearable pieces of art, but in imperial Russia, some of the most fabulous bejeweled pieces were objects -- more specifically, Fabergé eggs. The presentation of jewel-encrusted eggs was an Easter tradition for the last two Russian emperors. Today we're looking at one of my very favorite imperial Easter eggs: the Bay Leaf Egg.

01 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: Queen Mary's Russian Bandeau

Image licensed to The Court Jeweller; do not reproduce

Queen Mary of the United Kingdom (far right) wears her Russian bandeau at the Royal Command Performance at the London Palladium, 11 April 1931; see a closer view of the tiara over here!

The Russian Sapphire Cluster Brooch

Queen Elizabeth II wears the Russian Sapphire Cluster Brooch at the Vatican in 2014 (Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

A hundred years ago this month, the last Emperor and Empress of Russia lost their lives in Yekaterinburg. Appropriately, we're devoting the month of July to Romanov jewels, both pieces that still exist and those that have vanished into history. Today, we're starting with one of my very favorite British royal brooches: the Russian Sapphire Cluster Brooch.