02 June 2020

Tournament of Brooches: Scallop-Shell vs Crown Ruby

Two of the Queen Mother's favorite brooches face off in this contest...

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The Courtauld Thomson Scallop-Shell Brooch vs. The Crown Ruby Brooch

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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.

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This classic brooch, part of a larger suite of ruby and diamond jewels, was purchased by Queen Victoria from Garrard in 1854. The piece was originally set with opals, which were later replaced with these bright red rubies. The brooch was designated as an heirloom of the crown by Queen Victoria. It was a beloved piece of the Queen Mother, who continued to use it until her death. The present Queen made her public debut in the brooch at Royal Ascot in 2015.

A glittering necklace is next up today, and then even more brooches tomorrow!