We'd like to take this opportunity to pay our own tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We were all deeply saddened by her passing here at We Love Diamonds and we are enormously grateful for her service, loyalty and steadfastness over her 70 year reign as our beloved monarch.
One thing we'd like to remember is that Her Majesty was the greatest diamantaire of us all. As the most recognised woman in the world with arguably the greatest personal diamond collection on Earth, the Queen was certainly the pre-eminent poster-girl for diamonds. We can fondly state that while diamonds may sparkle and dazzle, nothing did so more than the Queen's wonderful smile or indeed the constant and sparkling glint in her eye. We are exceptionally thankful to have lived under her reign and we wish to pay our deepest condolences to her family and also to celebrate the ascension of King Charles III to the throne. Symmetrical to the nature of our own business; the Queen enjoyed Silver, Golden, Sapphire, Diamond and Platinum Jubilee's which we were fortunate to have witnessed. Queen Elizabeth II also possessed some of the world's finest jewellery and precious metals, much of it priceless and bestowed to her from generations passed before. Whether it was her many crowns, necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings or brooches; Her Majesty was rarely seen without something from her diamond jewellery collection and we wanted to talk about some of the most famous pieces from the Crown Jewellery Collection that she was blessed to wear during her lifetime. The Crown Jewels are held in trust by the monarch for the nation and are comprised of more than 100 objects and contain over 23,000 gemstones. They are of course the UK's most precious and priceless items of jewellery and they have incalculable cultural, historical, and symbolic value to our nation. Given the scope and depth of the collection then we can only really scratch the surface by talking about just some of the most well known items that rank among our own favourites.
The centrepiece of this collection is the Coronation Regalia, last used during the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. This crown contains some of the world's most famous jewels and gemstones including the Stuart Sapphire, The Black Prince's Ruby and The Cullinan II Diamond. The 3,106 Carat Cullinan Diamond was gifted to King Edward VII in 1907 and cut by the Asscher brothers. "Asscher Cut Diamonds" (also known as Square Emerald Cut diamonds) are square shaped diamonds with cut corners for light to better enter and look very art deco. The rough stone that was cut for the crown also produced many other valuable diamonds including the 530.40 carat Cullinan I (or Great Star of Africa) which is the diamond that is mounted on the head of the Queen’s Sceptre with Cross. Seven other diamonds cut from this enormous rough diamond were also privately owned by Her Majesty having inherited them from Queen Mary, her grandmother.
One of the most stunning pieces in the Queen's Collection is the necklace in this picture which was gifted to her on the day of her wedding to Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh. The Nizam (ruler) of Hyderabad had left instructions with Cartier in London that Princess Elizabeth, as she was then known, should select a wedding gift of her choice herself. It was this glorious platinum necklace set with approximately 300 diamonds that she chose. It is today worth well over £100m and is the crown that she subsequently wore for her first official photograph (later displayed on stamps, official portraits and various other regalia). The new Princess of Wales, Catherine, is the only person in the Royal Family to have ever been lucky enough to wear this necklace outside of the Queen. You can go and see this magnificent piece for yourself on public display at Buckingham Palace.
Reportedly, the Queen's own favourite diadem was "The Girls of Great Britain & Ireland Tiara" which was originally gifted to Queen Mary on the day of her own wedding and then later passed to Queen Elizabeth II. This beautiful tiara takes its name from a female committee that was led by Lady Eva Greville, who raised the money to create and buy it. The tiara features festoon and fleur-de-lis designs from Garrard in1893 and is made of mostly pavé-set brilliant round cut diamonds set in silver and gold. The original 1893 piece was topped with fourteen pearls and came with a second frame that enabled it to also be worn as a coronet. What's fascinating to us is that it could be taken off its frame to also be worn as a necklace making it incredibly versatile.
The George IV State Diadem (officially known as the Diamond Diadem) is a diamond crown made in 1820 for King George IV. It has been worn by many queens and queens consorts during their processions to State Openings of Parliament and to Coronations including her own procession to her coronation in 1953.
This diadem was one of the Queen's favourite pieces of diamond jewellery and is decorated with 1,333 diamonds weighing a total of 320 carats. It features a four-carat yellow diamond in the front cross pattée with two strings of pearls on the base. This diadem also features floral emblems of all the nations that are represented by our monarchy including English roses, Welsh daffodils, Scottish thistles and Irish shamrocks.
This is clearly just a very small snapshot of the collection worn by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during her lifetime and, as diamantaire's ourselves, there are just so many other items that we'd love nothing more than to discuss but others have already done that better than us. If you do want to see and learn more then we can recommend an excellent book by Hugh Roberts (Former Director of the Royal Collection and Surveyor of The Queen's Works of Art) called "The Queen's Diamonds". This fabulous book is the authorised account that details the history and the elaborate story of the magnificent royal diamonds from the time of Queen Adelaide in the 1830's right up to to the present day. You can buy this spectacular book on Amazon here for around £90 to £100 but for all purchases of £1,500 or more placed with We Love Diamonds by the 30th November 2022 we'll be happy to send you a complimentary, gift-wrapped copy*.
Once again, we'd like to offer our love and thanks to Queen Elizabeth II who we grieve deeply and would like to pay our heartfelt sympathy to King Charles III and his family. God Save The King. *Please add the words "The Queen's Diamonds" to the notes section at checkout to qualify for this offer. This item/book is subject to limited availability but should the item not be available for any qualifying customer then, at your own preference, we will instead discount/refund £90 from your purchase or send you the book when it again becomes available (as long as that period is no longer than 3 months). In all scenarios, the book will likely be delivered separately to your diamond jewellery purchase. One book per customer only.