19 July 2018

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.




Queen Elizabeth II wears the earrings for an official portrait, June 1987 (AFP/Getty Images)

Queen Mary was fond of designing and redesigning her own jewels, but this pair of earrings wasn't made on her commission. In 1926, her husband, King George V, presented the earrings to her as a birthday gift. The earrings feature a large, faceted ruby surrounded by a cluster of nine diamond brilliants.


Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

According to Leslie Field, Mary offered the earrings to her granddaughter, the future Queen Elizabeth II, as a wedding present in 1947. The Queen has worn them throughout her reign, even though she has several other pairs of ruby earrings of a similar size and design. Above, the Queen wears the earrings for a banquet in Australia in 1954, pairing them with two more wedding gifts: the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara (without its base) and the Greville Ruby Necklace. (More on the tiara here and the necklace here!)


Queen Elizabeth II wears the earrings at the Order of the Garter service at St. George's Chapel, Windsor, 16 June 2008 (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

This pair has been appropriately reserved mostly for evening functions, but the Queen does occasionally wear them for daytime events that require more formal attire, like the annual Order of the Garter service at Windsor. (More Garter earrings here!)


Queen Elizabeth II wears the earrings for a gala at the Royal Opera House in London, 30 October 2012 (Anthony Devlin/AFP/Getty Images)

The earrings provide a classic but eye-catching pop of color when worn with the Queen's signature white evening gowns. Here, for a gala in 2012, she paired the earrings with luminous strands of heirloom pearls.


Queen Elizabeth II wears the earrings for a gala dinner in Slovenia, 21 October 2008 (SRDJAN ZIVULOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

The earrings are also often worn with various tiaras from the Queen's collection. In 2008, she paired them with the Burmese Ruby Tiara, the ruby diadem that she ordered herself from Garrard in the 1970s. On this occasion, she also wore another ruby jewel she acquired during her reign: the Baring Ruby Necklace. (More on the tiara here and the necklace here!)


Queen Elizabeth II wears the earrings for an official dinner during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London, 19 April 2018 (Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

More recently, the Queen wore the earrings for the official dinner during the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London. On this occasion, the Queen also reached for the same jewels she wore more than half a century before in Australia: the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara and the Greville Ruby Necklace. (More on the tiara here, and the necklace here!)