01 September 2019

Queen Mary's Russian Brooch

Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

September is here, which means it's officially Sapphire Season, everyone! We're kicking things off today with a magnificent royal sapphire jewel: Queen Mary's Russian Brooch.

Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

The brooch, made at the end of the nineteenth century, features a large diamond and a large sugarloaf sapphire set in an unusual geometric scroll design.

Empress Marie Feodorovna, ca. 1892; Queen Mary on her wedding day, July 1893 (Wikimedia Commons)

The brooch was a wedding gift to Mary of Teck from Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia. The empress, who was born a Danish princess, was an aunt of Mary's new husband, the future King George V of the United Kingdom.


The brooch was one of the many pieces of jewelry that Queen Mary bequeathed to her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II, when she died in 1953. The Queen has worn the jewel throughout her entire reign.


As she often does with sapphires, the Queen generally wears the brooch on clothing in shades of blue, echoing the vibrant blue hue of the gemstone.


One of my favorite recent outings of the brooch, though, came at Royal Ascot in 2018, when she pinned the brooch to a bright yellow outfit. The contrast created by the pairing of the sunny coat and the deep blue sapphire was visually delightful.