21 May 2020

Tournament of Brooches: London Lily vs Scallop-Shell

Two jewels inspired by nature are matched up in this contest...

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The City of London Lily Brooch vs. The Courtauld Thomson Scallop-Shell Brooch

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This classic diamond lily brooch was presented to the then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947 when she received the Freedom of the City of London. She's worn it regularly in the seven decades since, especially for spring occasions like garden parties, Easter Sunday, and Royal Ascot. The brooch also made a very prominent appearance in 2002, when the Queen wore it for the service of thanksgiving at St. Paul's in celebration of her Golden Jubilee.

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This masterful brooch, which features a shell motif in diamonds studded with a single round pearl, was made in 1919 in London by the Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Co., Ltd. It was designed in part by Sir Courtauld Thomson, who was the son of a famous Scottish inventor. His sister, the writer Winifred Hope Thomson, ended up with the piece, and she left it to the Queen Mother in 1944. She treasured the piece, even wearing it on her 100th birthday. Now, the present Queen loves and wears the brooch equally frequently.

Our last brooch contest of the week tips off this afternoon!