12 January 2020

The Pearl Trefoil Brooch

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Some royal brooches are very event or outfit specific, while others can be worn for a wide range of occasions and with lots of different ensembles. Today's brooch, the Pearl Trefoil, definitely falls into the second category.

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We don't know much about the provenance of the brooch. It likely entered the Queen's jewelry collection some time in the 1980s, as that's when she began wearing it in public. Leslie Field describes the brooch as "a large diamond quatrefoil set with pearls having a pearl and diamond cluster in the centre," but the brooch is definitely a trefoil, with two ribbon scrolls at the base. Above, you'll see an early appearance of the brooch during Anzac Day ceremonies in Hobart in April 1988.

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The brooch's design is intricate and delicate, making it easy to pair with lots of colors and styles. Unfortunately, that also meant that it disappears against the busy background of many of the Queen's printed dresses from the '80s and '90s, as you'll see in the photo above, taken at the closing ceremony of the 14th Commonwealth Games in Auckland in February 1990.

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The brooch looks much smarter against a solid background, like the pink coat worn for by the Queen for a visit to the Blois city hall during her June 1992 visit to France.


The brooch quickly became a staple in the Queen's daytime jewelry wardrobe, worn for a variety of occasions. In March 1995, she wore it while delivering remarks during a speech at Vista University in the New Brighton township of Port Elizabeth.


The brooch has also made numerous high profile foreign and Commonwealth visits. During her state visit to India in October 1997, she wore the brooch for a ceremonial welcome at the Presidential Palace in New Delhi.

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And in March 2006, she chose the brooch for her arrival at Melbourne Airport during a five-day visit to Australia.

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During the last twenty years, the brooch has become one of the Queen's very favorite daytime jewels. Here, in March 2001, she wears it for a visit to Pimlico Library in London.

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And in February 2002, she wore the brooch for an engagement, a visit to the Norfolk Police Head Quarters in Wymondham, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of her accession to the throne.

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The design of the brooch really popped against the vibrant blue ensemble she wore for a tour of Sheridan College during her Golden Jubilee tour of Canada in October 2002.

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The brooch has also been one of the Queen's frequent choices for holiday celebrations, including Easter at Windsor (including the 2003 service, pictured above) and several Christmas broadcasts.

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In July 2005, the Queen chose the brooch for Cartier International Day at Guards Polo Club in Windsor Great Park.

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The brooch also often accompanies the Queen to one of her favorite outings: visits to the races. In June 2007, she wore the brooch to present the Ascot Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

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In April 2007, she wore it for a very rainy day at Newbury racecourse.

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These days, the Queen often wears the brooch for regular daytime engagements, usually pinned to a brightly-colored coat that shows off the brooch's details. This sky blue jacket was an especially pleasant background for the brooch as the Queen opened the new BBC Broadcasting House in London in July 2013.

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The brooch gleamed against an ensemble the color of orange sherbet during the naming ceremony for the cruise ship Britannia at Ocean Cruise Terminal in Southampton in March 2015.

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I expect that we'll continue to see this brooch regularly for the forseeable future, as the Queen often wears it lately for events like audiences at the palace and outings to church.