15 August 2020

The Double Swan Brooch

Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse

The Queen is a documented animal lover, with her beloved pack of dogs, but her brooch collection really contains relatively few examples of animal brooches. Today's jewel, the Double Swan Brooch, is one of these rare pieces.

Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

The Queen wore the brooch, which features a pair of swans a-swimming, on the first day of Royal Ascot in June 2014.

Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

The brooch features two birds, rendered in diamonds and pearls, swimming on curling diamond waves. This close-up also shows that dark details (sapphires, perhaps, or enamel) have been used for the swans' eyes, and their beaks are shiny gold. We know that the brooch was made by Collins and Sons, thanks to the announcers at Ascot, but we don't know any other provenance information about it. As it was part of the large group of new jewels she began wearing after her Diamond Jubilee and the 60th anniversary of her coronation, it's possible that the brooch may have been a gift to celebrate one of those occasions.

Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse

For its first outing at Royal Ascot, the Queen wore the brooch with a serene pale gray-blue ensemble.

Royal Family

The following year, in July 2015, she wore the brooch again during her annual Holyrood Week residence in Scotland. The brooch's details popped against her bright pink jacket as she helped celebrate the centenary of the Scottish Veterans Garden City Association.

John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images

We've only seen the brooch in public a handful of times since the Queen began wearing it. The most recent outing happened at Buckingham Palace, during an audience with the Australian High Commissioner in May 2018. On that occasion, she wore the brooch with a brightly patterned gown, and the piece's neutral, delicate details almost vanished entirely against the background.

Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse

Here's hoping we see this charming swan brooch again on HM. (It's actually the second swan brooch in her collection -- the other is a tiny single swan set with diamonds.) Maybe one of the royals will select the diamond and pearl swans for a future Swan Upping?