Purple may be the traditional color of royalty, but the Queen’s jewelry collection has relatively few pieces set with purple amethysts. One of the major exceptions is this diamond and amethyst brooch, part of an heirloom collection that dates to the days of Queen Victoria.
The Kent Amethyst Brooch features a hexagonal-shaped amethyst in a gorgeous shade of deep purple. It’s surrounded by a complicated design set with diamonds. The top portion of the brooch features diamond scrolls and round brilliants, while the bottom portion features diamonds in a radiant pattern. The complete brooch also has three diamond and amethyst pendants, which attach to the bales visible on the lower border of the brooch.
The first documented owner of the brooch was Princess Viktoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. After her first husband, the Prince of Leiningen, died, Viktoria married the Duke of Kent, the fourth son of King George III of the United Kingdom. The Duke and Duchess of Kent had one child together, the future Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, before the Duke’s untimely death in 1820.
According to the Royal Collection, in the image of the Duchess of Kent shown above (which is based on a miniature portrait from the 1830s), the brooch pinned to her bodice is a part of her amethyst demi-parure. Note the shape of the brooch, as well as the three pendants. After the Duchess’s death in 1861, the set was left to Queen Victoria, who in turn designated the amethysts as heirlooms of the crown.
The present wearer of the amethyst demi-parure, which also includes earrings and a large necklace, is Queen Elizabeth II. She usually wears the brooch alone without its pendants, but occasionally she wears the complete piece. Above, in 1991, she wears the brooch with its pendants at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia during her visit to Washington, D.C.
As you might expect, the Queen most often wears the brooch with clothes in various shades of purple. Here, she wears the brooch in October 2012 to unveil the Diamond Jubilee monument in Windsor.
In June 2013, she wore the brooch on a light purple coat for Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot. Her horse, Estimate, won the Gold Cup that day.
She also sometimes wears the brooch with other colors, including blue and pink. Here, in October 2006, she wears the brooch with a royal blue outfit for a visit to the Science Museum in London. I’m fascinated by the way the amethyst picks up the blue tones of the clothing in the photograph.
And here, in July 2010, she wears the brooch with a purple-pink tweed coat for the Ceremony of the Keys at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.
More recently, the Queen has chosen to wear the brooch with dark purple outfits. Above, she wears the jewel for the annual Commonwealth Day Service at Westminster Abbey in March 2019.
And here, in November 2019, she wears the brooch with a hat and coat in a gorgeous shade of violet for a visit to the Royal British Legion Industries village in Aylesford.