01 April 2021

95 Years, 95 Jewels: Part 7 (February 1952)

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Our celebration of the Queen's milestone April birthday continues today with even more of Queen Victoria's heirlooms of the crown, which arrived in Elizabeth II's collection in February 1952.

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Queen Victoria designated this necklace and earrings as heirlooms of the crown; they were made in 1858 by Garrard to replace jewels that had been lost in the Hanoverian claim. The pendant of the necklace is the Lahore Diamond, which alone weighs more than 22 carats. The drops of the earrings are also Indian diamonds; they were originally a part of the armlet setting of the Koh-i-Noor diamond. Queen Alexandra wore the necklace at her coronation; Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Elizabeth II wore both the necklace and the earrings at theirs. Above, the Queen wears the necklace and earrings in Australia in 1954.

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This set of three diamond bow-shaped brooches was also created in 1858 to replace jewels lost to the King of Hanover. Because they are heirlooms of the crown, they passed from Victoria to Alexandra to Mary to Elizabeth to Elizabeth II, arriving in the Queen's jewelry box in 1952. She still wears them today, though generally only one at a time. (Queen Mary, being Queen Mary, liked to wear all three together.) Above, the Queen wears one of the brooches at the Epsom Derby in 1958.


These classic earrings feature diamond studs with long pearl drops connected by another small diamond brilliant. They were a gift from Prince Albert to Queen Victoria in 1847. She designated them as heirlooms of the crown, and they have passed down through the main line of the family in the years since. Above, the Queen wears them in Ottawa in October 1957.

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This elaborate diamond and pearl necklace was made by Carrington and Co. in 1888 to mark the 50th anniversary of Queen Victoria's reign; it was commissioned in a very complicated, political process by a committee of aristocratic women. It became one of Victoria's favorite pieces, so it's no surprise that she designated it as an heirloom of the crown. The Queen wore it for her first opening of parliament in 1952, and it's been a staple of her gala jewelry ever since. In the picture above, she wears it for a state banquet in Copenhagen in 1957.

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This classic diamond and sapphire brooch was Prince Albert's wedding gift to Queen Victoria; he presented it to her on the day before their wedding in February 1840, and she was smitten with the piece immediately. She wore the brooch at her wedding, and she later designated it as an heirloom of the crown; it has been worn by all subsequent queens, and it remains a major favorite of the Queen today. Above, she wears the brooch—a rare occasion when she pinned it vertically—at Royal Ascot in 1963.

Stay tuned for more of the Queen's jewels later today!