With tonight’s royal Christmas concert coming up, my mind’s been on the spectacular earrings that the then-Duchess of Cambridge wore for last year’s concert: the Queen Mother’s Sapphire and Diamond Fringe Earrings.
As the name suggests, the charming earrings belonged to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. She wore them mostly for black-tie (read: non-tiara) gala occasions. Here, she pairs them with a triple strand of pearls and the Russian Sapphire Cluster Brooch for a theater performance in November 1986.
Here’s a closer look at the earrings. The fringe detail, plus the combination of round and baguette diamonds, suggests an Art Deco-era creation date to me. The faceted sapphire set in the center of each earring is a gorgeous deep blue color.
Here’s another view of the Queen Mother wearing the earrings, in a photograph taken during a 50th birthday reception for the Prince of Wales (now King Charles III) at Buckingham Palace in November 1998. She also wore a triple-stranded pearl necklace and the Duchess of Teck’s Flower Brooch.
In recent years, the earrings have popped up on the Princess of Wales, who began wearing them when she was still the Duchess of Cambridge. Her debut appearance in the earrings took place at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London in October 2015.
In June 2019, she wore the earrings for a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, pairing them with Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara, her own Oak Leaf Brooch, and Queen Elizabeth II’s Four-Stranded Pearl Bracelet (which coordinates with the similar pearl choker necklace).
Last year, in December 2021, we saw Catherine choose the earrings for her “Together at Christmas” community carol service at Westminster Abbey.
She wore the earrings with a festive outfit in bright Christmas red—a rather unexpected combination, when she might have been expected to complete the holiday color scheme by wearing gold or green jewels.
Here’s one more look at the earrings from last year’s carol service. We’ll be covering the jewels from this year’s concert as well, in a post I expect to have published later this evening. Stay tuned! (Any jewels you’re hoping to see on Kate or Camilla at tonight’s service?)