03 April 2021

95 Years, 95 Jewels: Part 12 (1950s-1960s)

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During the first decade of the Queen's reign, she received presents from around the world, and even purchased some jewels of her own. Here's a look at five pieces acquired during the early years of her remarkable tenure as monarch!


Communicate New Zealand/National Archives/Wikimedia Commons



The women of Auckland raised money to buy this diamond and platinum brooch for the Queen. The brooch is shaped like the frond of a tree fern, which is one of the national symbols of New Zealand. It was presented to her on Christmas Day 1953 during her post-coronation tour of the Commonwealth. The Queen was the first reigning monarch to visit New Zealand, and she has often worn the brooch at events related to the country throughout her reign. She also lent the brooch to the Duchess of Cambridge for her visit to New Zealand in 2014.



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On the same Commonwealth tour, the Queen was presented with a diamond and platinum brooch in Australia. The wattle is Australia's national flower, and it was presented to Elizabeth by the country's prime minister. (Her visit to Australia was also a first for a reigning monarch.) The brooch includes diamonds in shades of white and yellow, and it's an absolutely eye-catching piece. She continues to wear it regularly today.



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The Queen's impressive diamond and aquamarine parure came together in pieces. In 1953, the necklace and earrings were presented to her as coronation gifts by the people of Brazil. Four years later, she had a tiara made to match the earrings and necklace. In 1958, the Brazilian government added two additional pieces to the set: a bracelet and a brooch. And in 1971, the Queen decided to make some changes to the tiara and had it supplemented with additional elements, transforming it into the tiara she still wears today.



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In 1963, the Queen decided to add an additional tiara to her arsenal, turning the sapphire suite she received as a wedding gift from her father into a more complete parure. The piece she purchased was a converted necklace, and it had a royal legacy -- it had previously belonged to Princess Louise of Belgium, a daughter of King Leopold II (and a distant cousin of the Queen through the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha family). She wore the tiara regularly for decades, and it still shows up occasionally today.



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The Queen purchased this diamond and ruby necklace in 1964; it was an easier-to-wear ruby option for gala events than the Boucheron necklace she had received from her parents in 1947. (She should have had the crown rubies in her jewelry box at this point, but as we'll see later, they were elsewhere.) The Queen still wears this triple-pendant necklace occasionally today.


More earrings and jewels are coming up next!