16 December 2018

The Sapphire Jubilee Snowflake Brooch

Governor-General David Johnston/Twitter

Winter is knocking on the door here in the Northern Hemisphere, and with the changing season, I wouldn't be surprised if we see today's brooch, the Sapphire Jubilee Snowflake, make another appearance soon.




STEFAN ROUSSEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom celebrated her Sapphire Jubilee in 2017, marking an astonishing 65 years on throne. But of course, the UK isn't the only country where she has reigned for so many decades; she's also monarch in several other realms. To mark her Sapphire Jubilee as Queen of Canada, Governor General David Johnston presented her with a gift on behalf of the nation: a lovely new diamond and sapphire brooch.


Governor-General David Johnston/Twitter

The brooch features diamonds and gorgeous pale blue sapphires in a snowflake-inspired design. (The scientifically-minded among us will undoubtedly note that it's not really a snowflake, as they feature six-fold symmetry, and the brooch does not.) The sapphires set in the brooch were part of a cache found in 2002 on Baffin Island by a pair of brothers, Seemeega and Nowdluk Aqpik.


STEFAN ROUSSEAU/AFP/Getty Images

The brooch was made by a Canadian firm, Hillberg and Berk, and was designed as a companion to one of the Queen's most famous Canadian-related brooches: the Diamond Maple Leaf Brooch. Appropriately, the Queen was wearing the Maple Leaf during her visit to Canada House in London to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation. During that visit, Johnston took the opportunity to present the Queen with the new snowflake brooch.


Andrew Matthews - WPA Pool/ Getty Images

We had to wait more than a year to see the brooch again. The Queen wore it publicly for the first time in July 2018, during an audience with King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians at Windsor Castle. (The event, unfortunately, prompted a whole lot of silly speculation online, which I addressed over here.)


Andrew Matthews - WPA Pool/ Getty Images

Here's a better look at the Queen from that occasion. Unfortunately, the brooch receded a bit into the colorful dress that HM wore for the day, making the sapphires almost disappear entirely. Here's hoping that we'll see her wear the piece again soon, and on a dress or coat that helps the brooch pop a bit more. The chilly weather will surely provide plenty of appropriate opportunities for a snowflake outing!