By the early 1960s, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom had already been on the throne for a decade. That’s a decade’s worth of experience in white-tie banquets, state visits, and overseas tours, all of which required the coordination of gowns, order sashes, and jewels. It’s not a coincidence that this is also the point when she began acquiring a few pieces of jewelry of her own, filling in holes in her collection. Today’s jewel, the Baring Ruby Necklace, was one of those additions.
In 1964, the Queen owned at least one major ruby necklace—the Greville Ruby Necklace, given to her by her parents as a wedding gift.. She should have had the majestic Crown Rubies in her jewelry box, but those stayed with her mother until 2002. An easier-to-wear ruby necklace was apparently on the Queen’s shopping list, because that year, she purchased the Baring Ruby Necklace.
The necklace is made of diamonds and flat-cut rubies. It has three distinctive pendant stones, which the Royal Collection states were probably originally made as earrings. Above, the Queen wears the necklace with Queen Alexandra’s Kokoshnik and Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Brooch at the British Embassy in Paris in May 1972.
The Queen has worn the necklace for a range of occasions since acquiring it more than five decades ago, including state banquets and State Openings of Parliament. Above, she wears the necklace with the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara and Queen Mary’s Ruby Cluster Earrings for a banquet in China in October 1986.
Eventually, after the Burmese Ruby Tiara was made in the 1970s, the piece became a frequent companion of the Baring necklace. She wears that combination of jewels, along with the Cornwall Rose of York Bracelet during a state visit from the President of Korea to Buckingham Palace in December 2004.
She’s also worn the necklace with two tiaras that were favorites of her late mother: Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara and Queen Victoria’s Indian Circlet. Here, she wears the necklace with the Indian Circlet and Queen Mary’s Ruby Cluster Earrings in Malta in November 2005.
And here, she wears it with the Ruby Cluster Earrings and the Burmese Ruby Tiara for a state dinner in Slovenia in October 2008. The necklace was tucked beneath the neckline of her gown on this occasion. The necklace is worn more rarely these days, in part because the Queen’s collection now includes numerous other similar jewelry options, including the Qatari Rubies and the Crown Rubies, as well as the Greville Ruby Necklace.