Queen Mary’s jewelry box, at one point or another, seemed to contain jewels set with gems in every color of the rainbow. But one of her earliest, and perhaps most sentimental, complete jewelry suites was this turquoise parure.
The parure of turquoise and diamond jewels came together in stages. The tiara, made around 1850, originally belonged to Queen Mary’s mother, the Duchess of Teck. In its original form, it rose to a sharp peak at the center. It was part of a set that also included a necklace, a pair of earrings, and several brooches.
The Duke and Duchess of Teck gave the parure, to which other turquoise and diamond jewels were added over time, to their daughter as a wedding gift in 1893. The suite is featured in the illustration of her wedding gifts shown above. A young Mary, then the Duchess of York, wears the set in a portrait taken after her royal wedding.
Decades later, Mary passed the turquoises along to a new member of the family. By the 1930s, she had remodeled the tiara, removing the tall center point to form a more kokoshnik-like silhouette. In 1935, she presented the turquoises to her new daughter-in-law, Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott, who married Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester that November. The turquoises are shown above in a still from newsreel footage, with the tiara, bangle bracelet, brooches, necklace, bracelets, ring, and earrings displayed. Alice also often wore a shorter turquoise necklace with pendants that had also been worn previously by Queen Mary.
The turquoise suite became one of Alice’s most-worn sets of royal jewelry. For the next several decades, she sported the tiara and accompanying pieces often for public events. Here, in November 1937, she wears the jewels for the opening of the new Odeon Theatre in London.
Here, in November 1955, Alice wears the turquoises for a fashion show at the Dorchester Hotel in London. On this occasion, she wore two of the brooches from the suite like dress clips, fastened at the corners of her neckline.
And here, she wears the turquoises for a gala dinner during the Dutch state visit to the United Kingdom in April 1972. She’s pictured here beside her elder son, Prince William (who passed away tragically just a few months later) and the Queen Mother (who wears the Greville Tiara, the Greville Emerald Earrings, and the Greville Emerald Necklace with Queen Victoria’s Fringe Brooch).
Today, the turquoises are worn on occasion for gala events by Alice’s daughter-in-law, the current Duchess of Gloucester. Birgitte wears the turquoises here in 2015 for a Guildhall banquet held during a state visit from the President of Mexico.