A rare peek at Queen Elizabeth’s jewellery box. Platinum Jubilee.

May 18, 2022

This article A Rare Peek at Queen Elizabeth’s Jewellery Box was updated with new information on September 14, 2022

Attention, tiara and diamond lovers, this is for you. Queen Elizabeth II has opened her private jewellery box for her Jubilee. And, let me tell you, what a treat this rare peek at her breathtaking pieces is!

But now that Her Majesty has just passed away, taking another look at her jewellery collection is like opening one of the many chapters that lead into the story of her 70 years of reign. Of course, such a historical event must go with a bang. That is because she was the first British monarch to reign for such a long period. So, Queen Elizabeth has decided to loan several of her stunning diamond and precious gemstone pieces from her jewellery box to the Royal Collection Trust, which will display them to the public this summer. You’ll be able to admire close-up dazzling high jewellery like brooches, necklaces, and her famous Diamond Diadem and tiaras.

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Queen Elizabeth's first official portraits wearing a diamond tiara.
Queen Elizabeth’s first official portraits wearing the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara

So, here are the highlights of the exhibition. First, check the most beautiful jewellery pieces on display at various royal palaces for Queen Elizabeth’s year-long Platinum Jubilee celebrations. And now, a year-long remembering.

The Queen’s jewellery pieces at Buckingham Palace

The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace will be open from July 22 to October 2 2022. There, you can see what the longest-reigning British monarch wore to her Accession to the throne in February 1952. For example, Queen Elizabeth donned the stunning Diamond Diadem on that occasion.

1 – The Diamond Diadem

Queen Elizabeth and her most beautiful diadem.
The regal Diamond Diadem

It is one of the British monarch’s most important and historical jewellery pieces. The regal jewel with 1333 diamonds and 169 pearls was created for King George IV’s coronation in 1821. Then, Queen Victoria appears on stamps and coins wearing it. Like all royal jewellery, the diadem with national emblems of England, Scotland, and Ireland was passed down to several queens. Queen Elizabeth has worn it to the State Opening of the Parlament since the first year of her reign.

2 – The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara

A tiara from Queen Elizabeth's jewellery box that will go on display to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee.
The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara

Queen Mary’s Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara was made by Garrad in 1893 and was a wedding present to the Duchess of York, who was to become Queen Mary. In 1947, Queen Mary gave it to her granddaughter Elizabeth for her wedding to Prince Phillip. The tiara is a much-loved piece in Queen Elizabeth’s jewellery box as she has worn her regularly throughout the years.

Queen Elizabeth wore this tiara and the Diamond Diadem for her first official photo sitting. The photos taken by Dorothy Wilding became the official portrait of Her Majesty in every British embassy worldwide and the image on postage stamps. As a result, we all recognise the Diamond Diadem.

3 – The Delhi Durbar Tiara and Necklace

Queen Elizabeth's jewellery pieces that will go on display to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee.
Delhi Durbar diamond and emerald set

This head accessory is another remarkable piece in Queen Elizabeth’s collection. The Delhi Durbar Tiara, a stunning diamond jewel, initially had ten large emeralds that matched the suite of diamond and emerald jewellery Queen Mary wore in 1911 to a ceremony for King George V’s succession to King Emperor of India. Also, part of this setting was the Delhi Durbar Necklace with nine emeralds and the spectacular 8.8-carat diamond, the Cullinan VII Pendant. This pendant was cut from the Culling diamond, the largest diamond ever found.

Windsor Castle: Queen Elizabeth’s coronation and brooches

Windsor Castle will also celebrate the Platinum Jubilee by displaying Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation Dress and Robe. Additionally, you’ll see some of the brooches the royal famously wears to send non-verbal messages.

1 – The Maple-Leaf and the Flame-Lily Brooches

Two high-jewellery brooches from the British monarch.
Diamond brooches gifted to Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth wore the Canadian Maple-Leaf Brooch on her first visit to Canada in 1951. The British jewellery house Asprey and Co made this diamond and platinum pin representing the Commonwealth country in 1939. Camilla, the Queen Consort and Catherine Princess of Wales have also worn the Maple-Leaf brooch.

In the same vein, the Queen was wearing the Flame-Lily brooch representing Zimbabwe and Zambia’s national flower when she returned from Kenya in 1952.

2 – The Wattle and the Flame-Lily Brooches 

Colourful royal jewellery pieces.
Coloured brooches of the British monarch

Queen Elizabeth’s yellow and white diamond jewellery piece was a gift on her first visit to Australia during her Coronation tour in 1954. The jewel made in Melbourne by William Drummond & Co. represents sprays of golden wattle, Australia’s national flower. And it is one of the largest and most beautiful brooches in Queen Elizabeth’s jewellery box. She wears it often to special occasions such as King Charles III and Camilla’s wedding.

Finally, the most colourful piece on display is the Sri Lanka brooch. The bright-coloured jewellery that contains rubies, aquamarines, garnets, and sapphires was a gift to Queen Elizabeth in 1981.

Check here for dates and locations to visit the exhibitions.

Last but not least – What happens to the Queen’s private Jewelle after her death

The Queen died on September 8 and will be buried on the 19th of the same month. In these ten days intervals, the Queen’s possessions will already be divided among her relatives.
With a fortune valued at 370m Pounds, the Queen owns properties, objects of art, stamp collections, horses and her jewels. The latter are divided between Crown Jewellery and her private collection. The former is held in a trust, and the latter will most likely pass down through the Windsor family.
King Charles III will access both collections, as will Catherine, Princess of Wales. The Queen’s private collection contains approximately 300 pieces, including 98 brooches, 46 necklaces, 34 pairs of earrings, 15 rings, 14 watches and 5 pendants.

All images courtesy of the Royal Collection Trust.