05 December 2020

Queen Mary's Diamond Thistle Brooch

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Queen Mary's jewelry collection was unparalleled, with examples to suit every location and situation. Today's piece, her diamond thistle brooch, was especially well suited for the family's annual residence at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.


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The brooch is designed as a long, stylized thistle set with diamonds and flanked by a pair of thistle leaves. The long stem of the thistle features a geometric diamond pattern, and the entire thing has something of an Art Deco sensibility to it.


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Here's one more close-up look at the brooch. I love the way that the triangular diamonds are used to mimic the real texture of thistle.


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The brooch belonged to Queen Mary, who liked to wear it on her coats and her hats. Here, in a charming photograph with King George V and a young Queen Elizabeth II, Mary wears it pinned to her hat. The photo was taken in August 1935, in the last summer of George V's reign, as the royal party was returning to Balmoral Castle from nearby Crathie Kirk.


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Today, the brooch belongs to the Queen, and she's worn it recently for occasions in Scotland. In September 2017, she wore the brooch for the official opening of the new Queensferry Crossing bridge over the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh.


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In June 2019, the Queen paired the brooch with a brilliant royal blue ensemble to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Scotland's Parliament.


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Here's one more photo of the Queen from that occasion. Doesn't the gorgeous blue color make the diamonds pop beautifully?