Happy 75th Birthday to the Duchess of Cornwall! We’re joining in the celebrations today—and continuing our month-long royal ruby spotlight—with a look at two grand ruby demi-parures from Camilla’s jewelry collection.
Both of the modern ruby suites in the Duchess of Cornwall’s jewelry box are presumed to be foreign diplomatic gifts, offered during trips to the Middle East. In March 2006, the Saudi royal family gifted a trio of bejeweled parures to Charles and Camilla: one set with sapphires, one set with emeralds, and one set with rubies.
In February 2007, during a visit to the United States, Camilla wore an enormous ruby and diamond necklace and coordinating earrings for the first time, and most have guessed that this was part of the ruby suite given to her by the Saudi royals.
Camilla debuted the jewelry set in Philadelphia at a concert celebrating the 150th anniversary of the city’s academy of music. She wore the jewels with an evening gown made of dark red velvet.
The necklace is, in a word, astonishing. Some have even called it a breastplate, a reference to a large ornament worn for decoration or protection. Thirty-seven rubies are set in diamond clusters, arranged between geometric diamond spacer elements.
Here’s a look at the necklace from the side. It looks incredibly difficult to wear, so it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that it hasn’t been worn again in public since that original outing 15 years ago. But, after all, since it was likely a diplomatic gift, at least one courtesy public appearance in the jewelry is generally a good idea, even if it’s not easy to wear or particularly in line with personal taste.
Here’s one more look at the modern ruby suite from the 2007 appearance in Philadelphia. You can see one of the matching earrings peeking out from underneath the Duchess’s hair here.
In March 2013, Charles and Camilla made another visit to the Middle East. On that occasion, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia presented them with another suite of jewels. There’s never been any official description of that demi-parure, but most believe it’s this suite of ruby and diamond jewels, worn in February 2015 for the premiere of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in London.
She also wore these rubies with a dark red velvet evening gown (which I think is just a slightly reworked version of the gown she wore in Philadelphia). She carried a pink bag and wore a matching wrap.
Here’s a closer look at this large ruby necklace, which features pear-shaped rubies in a more floral, romantic diamond setting. The necklace shares a similar bib-style shape with the previous piece. It also has matching earrings.
Here’s one more view of the necklace and earrings, and I believe you’ll be able to spot a matching bracelet on Camilla’s left wrist as well. So far, this is the only time that she has worn this ruby suite as well. Which set would you like to see reappear on the Duchess first?