We’ve reached the top three of our Platinum Jubilee countdown of ten of the Queen’s most sparkling platinum jewels! Today’s piece, the Delhi Durbar Necklace, combines gleaming platinum with sparkling diamonds and May’s exquisite emerald birthstone.
The necklace is strikingly modern, but it’s more than a century old. The jewel was made in 1911 for Queen Mary to wear at the Delhi Durbar, a coronation celebration in India. It was part of a much larger parure of diamond and emerald jewels.
Here’s a closer look at the necklace, which combines platinum and gorgeous diamonds with gems from the Cambridge emerald collection, which comes from Queen Mary’s mother’s family. The piece has two removable negligee pendants: a polished emerald cabochon and a marquise-cut diamond, which is one of the Cullinans (the Cullinan VII, specifically).
Queen Mary wore the necklace with both the Delhi Durbar Tiara and the emerald setting of the Vladimir Tiara. In this portrait, you’ll note that she removed the pendants from the Delhi Durbar Necklace so that she could layer it with additional diamond necklaces.
The Queen inherited the necklace from her grandmother in 1953, and it’s been a major part of her gala jewelry collection ever since. Here, she wears the necklace with the Vladimir Tiara in a portrait taken by the great Dorothy Wilding in 1956. (Both this portrait and the necklace will be displayed in this year’s summer exhibition at Buckingham Palace!)
And here, she wears the same combination of jewels for the banquet at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta in 2015. Though the necklace was made to coordinate with the Delhi Durbar Tiara, the Queen has never worn them together, even after she inherited the tiara from her mother in 2002. (The tiara is now on long-term loan to the Duchess of Cornwall.)
The necklace has often been included in royal exhibitions, including the spectacular “Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration” exhibit at Buckingham Palace in the summer of 2012. Here, curator Caroline de Guitaut shows off the necklace and the Cullinan III & IV Brooch during the exhibition’s press preview. As I mentioned above, the necklace is going to be displayed again this summer at Buckingham Palace, so lucky royal jewel visitors in London will be able to see it up close and in person!