|Queen Victoria wears the Coronation Necklace and Earrings and the small diamond crown in an 1890 portrait by Heinrich von Angeli. Photo Credit: The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II|
The yearlong celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee will hit a crescendo with the special exhibition, “Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration,” which will mark the annual summer opening of the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace.
|Queen Mary's Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara Photo Credit: The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II|
More than 10,000 diamonds set in works acquired by six British monarchs over three centuries go on display to mark the queen’s 60-year reign. The exhibition runs from June 30 – July 8 and July 31 – October 7 at Buckingham Palace. It includes a number of the queen’s personal jewels and works from the Royal Collection, the art collection of the British Royal Family.
|Queen Victoria wears the Coronation Necklace and Earrings and the Small Diamond Crown in an 1890 portrait by Heinrich von Angeli. Photo Credit: The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II|
The items for the exhibition were chosen for their artistic significance and their historic importance, and for the supreme skill in diamond cutting and mounting they embody, said Caroline de Guitaut, exhibition curator.
|Queen Victoria's Small Diamond Crown Photo Credit: The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II|
“The exhibition shows how over the past three centuries monarchs have used diamonds to display magnificence, whether in personal adornment or as a statement of power,” de Guitaut said. “Each piece demonstrates breathtaking workmanship and extraordinary ingenuity in design.”
|Coronation Necklace and Earrings Photo Credit: The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II|
Several jewelry pieces—such as the Delhi Durbar Tiara, Queen Victoria’s Fringe Brooch and the Kokoshnik Tiara—are on display for the first time. The exhibition also includes jewelry made from the world’s largest diamond, the Cullinan Diamond, which weighed 3,106 carats as an uncut stone. Pieces containing seven of the nine principal stones cut from the Cullinan Diamond are reunited for the first time. They include the Cullinan III and IV Brooch, worn by the queen for the National Service of Thanksgiving for Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, at St Paul’s Cathedral, June 5, 2012.
|Queen Victoria's Fringe Brooch Photo Credit: The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II|
The exhibition contains several pieces commissioned by Queen Victoria, the only other monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee. They include the Coronation Necklace created for her and subsequently worn by Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth (The Queen Mother) and Queen Elizabeth. Also on display is the miniature crown worn by Queen Victoria for her official Diamond Jubilee portrait in 1897. The crown’s 1,187 diamonds give it a grandeur that belies its tiny proportions – it measures just 9 x 10cm (3.5 x 4 inches).
|Williamson Diamond Brooch Photo Credit: The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II|
Diamonds acquired by previous monarchs continue to play an important role on State and ceremonial occasions. The Diamond Diadem, made for the famously extravagant coronation of George IV in 1821, has been worn by the queen to and from the State Opening of Parliament throughout her reign. Set with 1,333 brilliant-cut diamonds, it is one of Her Majesty’s most widely recognized pieces of jewelry, appearing on British and Commonwealth stamps and also on certain issues of banknotes and coinage.
|South Africa Necklace and Bracelet Photo Credit: The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II|
Among items of the queen’s personal jewelry are a number of pieces marking important events in her life. The South Africa Necklace was presented to the then Princess Elizabeth on her 21st birthday in 1947. The Williamson Brooch incorporates at its center what is considered to be the finest pink diamond ever discovered. The diamond was found in Tanzania in 1947 by the Canadian geologist Dr JT Williamson, who gave the uncut stone to Princess Elizabeth for her wedding in November that year.
To learn more about the jewelry in the pictures follow this link to visit the slide show.
You can also follow this link for a more detailed explanation of the jewelry.
The exhibition also includes historic objects that show the skill and ingenuity with which diamonds have been used in different cultures and traditions. They include the exquisite 18th-century bloodstone box made for King Frederick the Great of Prussia. The box incorporates nearly 3,000 diamonds arranged pictorially to represent flowers, insects and musical instruments. The Jaipur Sword was presented to King Edward VII for his coronation in 1902 by the Maharajah of Jaipur. It is set with 719 diamonds, weighing a total of 2,000 carats.