06 August 2018

Bejeweled Close-Ups: The George IV Diamond Diadem

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

One of the most important historical jewels in the British royal vaults, the Diamond Diadem made for King George IV makes one significant outing each year. In the meantime, I've got some excellent views of the piece for you today, so you can enjoy its sparkle up close!




Bethany Clarke/Getty Images

George IV ordered the diadem from Rundell, Bridge, and Rundell in 1820, just before his coronation. The piece was made of silver, gold, diamonds, and pearls, and it was worn by the new king on his coronation day with a large velvet cap adorned with an ostrich feather. (Although it was made for a king, the diadem has since been worn only by British queens, both regnant and consort.)


Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Here's an excellent look at the diadem's central cross pattée, which features a pale yellow diamond set in its center.


TOBY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images

The crosses on the diadem alternate with elements made of a lovely floral design. These floral sections feature important national emblems from across the United Kingdom.


Eddie Mulholland/AFP/Getty Images

Here you can see the individual floral elements a bit better. You'll be able to pick out roses, shamrocks, thistles in the design -- emblems of England, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.


Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Here you get a close-up view of the diamond settings of the shamrocks and leaves in the floral elements of the diadem.


TOBY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images

From above, it's clear that the piece is a complete circlet, much more like a crown than a traditional tiara.


Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Here's a closer view of the natural pearls that line the base of the diadem, as well as the intricate design in diamonds sandwiched between them.


Eddie Mulholland/AFP/Getty Images

The diadem has gone on display to the public at Buckingham Palace more than once. It had a prominent position in the Diamond Jubilee exhibition held in 2012. But it's most often seen on the Queen herself, heading to and from the annual State Opening of Parliament ceremonies at the Houses of Parliament.