01 August 2020

The Crystal Orchid Brooch

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The Queen's brooch collection is packed with jewels that feature floral designs and motifs. Among that group, today's brooch, the Crystal Orchid Brooch, manages to stand out thanks to its delicate materials.

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The unique brooch features a spray of orchids made of Waterford crystal, 66 diamonds, and rose gold. Close views of the brooch, like this one, show the intricacy of the carving of the crystal orchid petals, as well as the diamond accents on each of the four flowers. The brooch was given to the Queen in 2013 by Mappin and Webb as a gift to mark the 60th anniversary of her coronation. The jewel was a collaboration between Mappin and Webb and Waterford.

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Appropriately, as Waterford Crystal has its roots in Ireland, the Queen debuted the brooch during an important Irish occasion: the first official state visit of the Irish Republic's head of state to the United Kingdom. She wore the jewel to greet President Higgins during a ceremonial welcome at Windsor Castle in April 2014.

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Later the same day, she switched the brooch from her light blue coat to the paisley-printed dress beneath for events inside the castle. The crystal brooch virtually disappears against the printed garment, demonstrating how vital a bold but plain background is in allowing the brooch's details to shine.

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On most occasions, she has indeed chosen a vibrantly-colored, solid background for the jewel. In April 2015, she wore the brooch at Sheffield Cathedral for the annual Royal Maundy Service. On that occasion, the brooch stood out nicely against a deep turquoise coat.

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Here's one more image from the Royal Maundy appearance that gives you a view of the brooch from the side.

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And in February 2016, she wore the brooch for a visit to the Norfolk Hospice at Hillington near King's Lynn, again with a blue background. The brooch's most recent appearance came in December 2017, when she wore it with a dark purple dress for a Christmas staff luncheon at the Goring Hotel.