06 October 2019

The Australian Opal Spray Brooch

Heathcliff O'Malley - WPA Pool/Getty Images

A few weeks ago, I received a reader email inquiring about this brooch from the Queen's collection. Because it's set with October's birthstone, I decided to wait until this week to feature it. Here's some background information on the Australian Opal Spray Brooch.

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The brooch was one of the Queen's wedding gifts. It was presented to her in 1947 by the Returned Sailors', Soldiers', and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia, an organization devoted to supporting former service members after they have returned home. The brooch reflected Australia in both its design and materials: the golden setting represents a spray of flowering gum, and the piece is set with Australian black opals and diamonds.

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The brooch isn't one of the Queen's most-worn pieces, but in recent years, it's made a few prominent appearances. The Queen chose it for a parliamentary reception at Buckingham Palace in October 2013. On this occasion, she paired the brooch with a tweed jacket, and the gold setting was the most visible part of the piece in many images.

Heathcliff O'Malley - WPA Pool/Getty Images

In July 2015, however, the Queen pinned the brooch to a light blue jacket, letting the design and the opals really shine. On this occasion, she chose the brooch for a visit to the Chadwell Heath Community Centre.

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She also wore the brooch with a blue ensemble for a very appropriate occasion in March 2016: the annual Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey.

Thanks to Jennifer for sending the email that inspired this post! Have a question about a piece of royal jewelry? Drop me a line at lauren@thecourtjeweller.com!