06 March 2020

Jewels in Motion: Queen Victoria's Sapphire Coronet

Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

Now that Queen Victoria's Sapphire Coronet is part of the collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, we're finally getting a good look at the piece up close. Today, I've got a look at the piece sparkling in motion.

These GIFs come from footage made by the Victoria and Albert Museum, showing the way that the small coronet can be manipulated.

The piece is articulated to allow it to be worn as a closed coronet or more open, like a small tiara.

The entire surface of the coronet is encrusted with diamonds, and sapphires are set in the main band of the piece as well.

This view of the inside of the coronet shows that the sapphires are set so that the light shines directly through them, adding significantly to the luminosity and sparkle of the piece.

The coronet was designed by Prince Albert and made by Joseph Kitching in 1842. Queen Victoria wore it throughout her life; it was one of the only tiaras with colored gems that she wore during her long widowhood.

Victoria famously sat for a Winterhalter portrait wearing the closed coronet version on the back of her head. Here, you can see how the piece would have fit closely around her hair.

Here, the coronet is held before a portrait of Victoria wearing the piece after Albert's death.

The piece was one of the smallest diadems in Queen Victoria's collection, but it sparkles mightily, especially in the right lighting.

In this image, the lighting is shifted to show how the diamonds throw off flashes and fire.

Have you gotten to see this tiny royal tiara in person at the Victoria and Albert yet?