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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Queen Elizabeth to celebrate Diamond Jubilee with Diamond Exhibition

The miniature crown worn by Queen Victoria for her official diamond jubilee portrait in 1897.

For those of you still brimming with joy from the pomp and majesty of the royal wedding there will be another royal celebration next year.

In February 2012, Queen Elizabeth II will become only the second sovereign in British history to have reigned for 60 years. To mark the occasion, Buckingham Palace will host an exhibit of the many ways in which diamonds have been used and worn by British monarchs over the past two centuries. The exhibition includes an unprecedented display of a number of the queen’s personal jewels—either inherited or acquired during her reign.

The exhibition titled, “Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration,” presented by The Royal Collection, will coincide with the 2012 summer opening of Buckingham Palace. It will be held in August and September of 2012. Final dates have yet to be confirmed. It is one of several exhibitions celebrating the queen’s diamond jubilee.

Queen Victoria is the only other British monarch to celebrate a diamond jubilee. The exhibition will include the coronation necklace and earrings created for Victoria and subsequently worn by Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, and the current queen at their coronations. The necklace is formed of 25 graduated cushion-shaped brilliant-cut diamonds and a central drop-shaped pendant of 22.48 cts.

Other items to be displayed include:

Queen Victoria’s fringe brooch, which was designed to be worn along the top of the fashionably low-cut bodices of the period. It consists of a large emerald-cut brilliant diamonds surrounded by twelve large brilliants, from which are suspended nine diamond chains. It was made in October 1856 by R & S Garrard, who remodeled an existing piece of jewelry and added the stones that had been presented to the Queen by the Sultan of Turkey, Abdul Mejid I, in May that year. It was left to King Edward VII and often worn by his consort, Queen Alexandra. The Queen Mother wore the brooch for the coronation in 1953.

The miniature crown worn by Queen Victoria for her official diamond jubilee portrait in 1897 (top picture), by R & S Garrard in 1870. It was designed to be worn over a veil, which the queen adopted following the death of Prince Albert. The crown’s 1,187 diamonds give it a grandeur that belies its tiny proportions (3.54 inches by 3.94 inches). Probably because of its physical lightness, Queen Victoria favored this crown over any other throughout the last 30 years of her life.

The “Girls of Great Britain Tiara,” a wedding present to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck (later Queen Mary) on behalf of the “Girls of Great Britain and Ireland.” The tiara was presented to the queen as a wedding present and is still frequently worn her.

The exhibition also includes a number of historic objects to show the skill and ingenuity with which diamonds have been used in different cultures and traditions. They include the 18th century bloodstone snuff 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.

For tickets and visitor information, go to www.royalcollection.org.uk or call +44 (0)20 7766 7300.

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