Remembering Queen Elizabeth II Through Her Jewelry Legacy

Posted by Monica Pichler on

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Commonwealth in her official portrait for the Platinum Jubilee 2022

Queen Elizabeth II in the Blue Room of Buckingham Palace in 2011. Her brooch is a fern that was a gift to her from the women of Auckland, New Zealand, in 1953. She is wearing Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara and the City of London Fringe Necklace. (Image credit: Photograph taken by Julian Calder for Governor-General of New Zealand, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

On Thursday, September 8, 2022, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II passed peacefully at her estate in Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Having reigned for 70 years, she was one of the world's longest-serving monarch and a historic figure who was deeply respected for her commitment to her duty to serve her subjects.

Throughout her lifetime she traveled the world, and received numerous world leaders (including 15 prime ministers) at her palaces across the United Kingdom. For nearly a century, Queen Elizabeth II was one of the most photographed and watched women in the world. As a result, her fashion came to define not only her own rule, but that of an entire era.

One thing the Queen was never photographed without was a stunning jewelry accessory. Whether it was a tiara and her classic strand of pearls worn for formal events, or a brooch tacked onto a colorful coat for more casual engagements, the Queen was never seen without one (or more) pieces of stunning jewelry. Below, let's take a look at some Queen Elizabeth II's notable pieces of jewelry.


Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and the Commonwealth on her wedding day with her husband, Prince Philip

Queen Elizabeth II on her wedding day on November 20, 1947. At the time she was still a princess, and would not ascend to the throne for a few years. Her engagement ring was crafted in platinum and included diamonds that had been taken from a tiara that belonged to Prince Philip's mother, Princess Alice of Battenberg.

Her wedding day jewels consisted of her grandmother Queen Mary's Fringe Tiara, which had been recrafted using parts of a tiara worn on her own wedding day in 1893. There was a near disaster just before the wedding when she was getting dressed, however. As the tiara was placed on her head, it snapped in half. It was repaired in time, but a small gap could be spotted in her wedding photos! Queen Elizabeth II's double pearl strand necklace was actually two separate strands worn together. One was believed to have been worn by Queen Anne in the early 1700s, and the other belonged to Caroline of Ansbach, wife of King George II. (Image courtesy Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.)

 Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, King George VI, and Queen Mary at the christening of Prince Charles, future King of England

In this photo, taken December 16, 1948, Queen Elizabeth II is surrounded by her husband, her mother, Queen Elizabeth, and her father, King George VI, after the baptism of her son Prince Charles. She wears the Dorset Bow Brooch, a diamond studded bow-shaped piece that was a gift from the people of Dorset to her grandmother, Queen Mary. It is a hugely sentimental piece, as much of Queen Elizabeth II's jewelry was family heirlooms. (Image courtesy Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.)

 Queen Elizabeth II arrives at a state banquet in Canberra, Australia, in 1954

One of Queen Elizabeth II's most-worn tiaras is pictured here, at her arrival for a state banquet in Brisbane, Australia, during one of her tours to the country in 1954. It is the "Girls of Great Britain and Ireland" tiara and is another piece inherited from her hugely stylish grandmother Queen Mary. It was a gift to her for her wedding in 1893 and was crafted by crown jewelers Garrard. It has been worn by the Queen on many occasions since she inherited it, particularly when receiving important guests, such as visiting presidents. (Image courtesy Queensland State Archives, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.)

Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Philip of England are met with a state dinner at the White House with President George Bush and Laura Bush in 2007

Here, again, the Queen wears her Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara to attend a state dinner at the White House in 2007 with then-President Bush and his wife Laura. The Queen wore some of her best diamonds to the event. Besides the tiara, she wore the glittering Diamond Festoon Necklace, which was a gift to her from her father King George VI in 1950. Her teardrop diamond earrings belonged to Queen Mary and are believed to have originally come from a brooch. The Queen's brooch is the Lover's Knot Brooch, another piece from Queen Mary and dates to the 1930s. (Image credit: Series: Photographs Related to the George W. Bush Administration, 1/20/2001 - 1/20/2009Collection: Records of the White House Photo Office (George W. Bush Administration), 1/20/2001 - 1/20/2009, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

 Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain at a reception for President Ronald Reagan

More dazzling diamonds! Queen Elizabeth II always went all-out for great occasions. Here, at a reception for President Ronald Reagan at Windsor Castle in 1982, she is crowned by the Grand Duchess Vladimir Tiara. This tiara was once owned by a member of the Russian royal family, the Romanovs, and its original owner was the last Romanov to escape after the country's revolution. Upon the Duchess's death, her jewelry was sold to support her family and this tiara was purchased by Queen Mary. She had it altered so either dangled emeralds or pearls could be worn amongst the diamonds. Here, Queen Elizabeth II wears it with its stunning pearls. (Image credit: Series: Reagan White House Photographs, 1/20/1981 - 1/20/1989Collection: White House Photographic Collection, 1/20/1981 - 1/20/1989, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.)

Queen Elizabeth II leaving parliament in 1965 wearing the Diamond Diadem
Queen Elizabeth II is pictured heading to the opening of British Parliament in November, 1965, wearing the Diamond Diadem, which she has worn to nearly every opening of Parliament. She also wore it on her coronation day, and in her official portraits taken to mark her ascendance to Queen. It was created in 1821 for the coronation of King George IV, and consists of 1,333 diamonds and 169 pearls. It includes the symbols of the United Kingdom in a spray of rose, shamrock, and thistle – to represent England, Ireland, and Scotland. (Image courtesy Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons)
Queen Elizabeth II in blue outfit with diamond brooch
As she got older, the Queen became known for her vibrantly colored matching wardrobe that was often accented with a special brooch. Here, the Queen attends an event in 2011 wearing the Jardine Star Brooch. It is a favorite of hers, with eight points radiating out from its diamond-encrusted center. It hails from the Victorian era and once belonged to a Lady Jardine. Little is known about the original owner of this now famous brooch. Queen Elizabeth II recently wore the brooch in 2021 to meet newly elected President Joe Biden and his wife Jill on their official visit to Great Britain. (Image credit: Wakefield_queen4.jpg: Runner1928derivative work: Jonathunder, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
an official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II
Formal portrait of Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Vladimir Tiara, the Queen Victoria Jubilee Necklace, the blue Garter Riband, Badge and Garter Star and the Royal Family Orders of King George V and King George VI. ( (Image credit: Unknown / Library and Archives Canada, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.)
Queen Elizabeth II represented a particularly 20th-century mode of style that was unmatched by her peers. Although her treasured heirlooms will undoubtedly be passed down to future generations of royals, they will always be best-remembered as being worn by her.

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