23 September 2018

The Carrington Feather Brooch

Queen Elizabeth II wears the brooch at the wedding of Lady Tamara Grosvenor and Edward van Cutsem, November 2004 (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom has an impressive collection of royal sapphires, but few of them have as unusual a color as the sapphire in today's piece, the Carrington Feather Brooch.




Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The gorgeous diamond and sapphire feather brooch was one of the wedding gifts received by the Queen in 1947, given to her by the firm that made it, Carrington. Rather than a deep royal blue, the sapphire is distinctly blue-violet in hue.


Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

The purple tones of the stone are emphasized when the Queen wears it against purple clothing, as you can see above.


Chris Jackson/Getty Images

But against bright blue clothing, the sapphire looks much bluer. Generally, the Queen only wears the brooch with blue or purple clothing, helping to emphasize the shifting color of the gemstone.


Queen Elizabeth II wears the brooch at the wedding of Lady Tamara Grosvenor and Edward van Cutsem, November 2004 (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Decades after she received it, the Queen still brings the brooch out of her jewelry box on occasion. On November 6, 2004, she wore it on a rather unusual occasion: a non-royal wedding. She rarely attends weddings that aren't family affairs, but that autumn, she was a guest at the wedding of Lady Tamara Grosvenor, daughter of the 6th Duke of Westminster, and Edward van Custem, whose parents are close friends of the Prince of Wales. The wedding took place at Chester Cathedral, and the Queen appropriately wore the brooch, one of her own wedding gifts, to witness the blessed event.


Queen Elizabeth II wears the brooch to celebrate the anniversary of the BBC's Royal Charter, April 2006 (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Two years later, the Queen wore the brooch with a cornflower blue coat for a visit to the BBC, where she helped celebrate the anniversary of the corporation's Royal Charter. The engagement took place one day before her own 80th birthday.


Queen Elizabeth II wears the brooch on Ladies' Day at Royal Ascot, June 2010 (Stuart Wilson/Getty Images)

The brooch's sapphire popped against the light blue coat the Queen paired it with for Ladies' Day at Ascot in 2010.


Queen Elizabeth II wears the brooch at a Buckingham Palace garden party, May 2014 (ANTHONY DEVLIN/AFP/Getty Images)

One of the brooch's most recent appearances came in 2014, when she wore it with a light purple ensemble for the first Buckingham Palace garden party of the season.