Our month-long birthstone celebration of the gleaming turquoise continues today with a look at a rare demi-parure of British royal jewels set with the stone: the Jordanian Turquoise Suite.
In the summer of 1966, King Hussein of Jordan made a state visit to the United Kingdom. Above, he’s greeting Prime Minister Harold Wilson outside 10 Downing Street during the trip.
During the 1966 visit, the King presented Queen Elizabeth II with a lovely suite of turquoise jewels. Here’s a fairly good close-up view of the necklace from the set, showing its intricate design. The demi-parure also includes a matching pair of earrings. In The Queen’s Jewels, Leslie Field describes the pieces as “a cluster-and-drop necklace and matching earrings of turquoises, with diamonds and sapphires.”
Though the Queen’s jewelry collection is enormous—so large that we really don’t have a full idea of the extent of it—this does seem to be the only major set of turquoise jewels in the vault. The two biggest British royal parures of turquoise jewelry were inherited by others: the Teck Turquoises belong to the Gloucesters, and Princess Margaret received the Persian Turquoises that belonged to the Queen Mother. I’m one of the many who hope that the latter suite has found its way back into the Buckingham Palace vaults, but we don’t have confirmation of that. As far as turquoises go, the Jordanian Suite and Queen Mary’s Turquoise Brooch are pretty much the only major pieces worn by the Queen.
The Queen wore King Hussein’s turquoise gift for the first time in March 1984, when she and the Duke of Edinburgh made a state visit to Jordan. She debuted the turquoise demi-parure during a state banquet in Amman.
Here’s a closer view of the jewels from the banquet in Jordan. For the occasion, the Queen paired the turquoises with other diamond jewels, including the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara and Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Brooch.
Almost a decade later, the Queen wore the turquoises again in public. This time, she brought them with her on a royal visit to Germany in October 1992. She wore them with a striking orange gown, decorated with gold and turquoise beads, at the Berlin Tattoo.
A month later, in November 1992, she made a third outing in the demi-parure. She wore the necklace and earrings with another beaded gown, this time in shades of blue and purple, to see the Oslo Philharmonic give a concert at the Barbican in London.