05 April 2021

95 Years, 95 Jewels: Part 16 (March 2002)

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In March 2002, the Queen Mother died at the remarkable age of 101. She left behind an incredible legacy and an amazing jewelry collection, which was inherited by the Queen. Here's a look at five of the pieces that the Queen now wears from the Queen Mum's jewelry box!


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Inspired by Indian motifs he viewed at the Great Exhibition, Prince Albert designed this diamond circlet for Queen Victoria in 1853. The piece was originally studded with opals, and Albert purchased a coordinating suite of opal jewelry to go with the circlet the following year. When the British lost the Hanoverian claim, the circlet had to be remade with new diamonds; in the early 20th century, the entire suite was renovated again when Queen Alexandra had the opals replaced with rubies. The set was designated by Queen Victoria as an heirloom of the crown, and it accordingly passed from Alexandra to Queen Mary to the Queen Mother. However, when George VI died, the Queen Mum retained the suite. The Queen finally inherited the tiara and the accompanying ruby jewels from her mother in 2002; since then she has worn the tiara once (paired with the Baring Ruby Necklace) and the rubies occasionally.



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This elaborate diamond brooch, which is also sometimes called a "waterfall" brooch, was probably made using jewels that Queen Victoria had received from the Sultan of Turkey in 1856. The piece has been reworked occasionally over the years, and in 1901, Victoria decided to bequeath it personally to her eldest son, King Edward VII. Since then, the piece has been handed from Queen Alexandra to Queen Mary to the Queen Mother and then, in 2002, to the Queen.



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Only two monarchs in British history have celebrated a Diamond Jubilee: Queen Victoria in 1897 and Queen Elizabeth II in 2012. To mark Victoria's milestone, her Royal Household presented her with this Garrard diamond and pearl brooch. Victoria called the piece "beautiful" and designated it an heirloom of the crown. It subsequently passed to each queen consort, but the Queen Mother held on to the piece until her death in 2002. Since then, the Queen has worn the brooch for both day and evening engagements.



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The Queen first wore this diamond fringe tiara in 1947 on her wedding day, but back then it was just a loan. The tiara was made in 1919 for Queen Mary as a more modern, streamlined version of Queen Adelaide's more cumbersome diamond fringe; in 1936, she gave it to her daughter-in-law, Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother). She loaned it to her daughter (Queen Elizabeth II) and her granddaughter (Princess Anne) to wear at their weddings, and in 2002, she bequeathed the tiara to the Queen. Since then, the Queen has worn it occasionally for banquets and portraits. She also loaned it to her granddaughter, Princess Beatrice, for her wedding in 2020.



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This diamond and platinum brooch was made for the Queen Mother by Cartier in 1938. It features a palm-leaf design, although many have noted the visual resemblance to a paisley pattern. The Queen Mum wore the brooch throughout her life, and since inheriting it in 2002, the Queen has also made it a regular part of her brooch rotation.


We've got a gorgeous Nightly Necklace coming up next, and then more of HM's collection tomorrow!