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The Queen’s 10 Best Diamond Jewels & The Story Behind Them

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Image credit Government of Alberta licensed under CC

In honour of The Platinum Jubilee, here is our dazzling list of the Queen’s 10 best diamond jewels. Queen Elizabeth II is now the longest-reigning queen of all time, as well as the longest-reigning British monarch.

We take a look at The Queen’s most regal diamond pieces and reveal the fascinating story behind each jewel…

1. The Diamond Encrusted Imperial State Crown

The Imperial State Crown is the Queen’s most important Crown Jewel because it symbolises the sovereignty of the monarch. It is almost 600 years old.

The crown had to be specially remodelled for Queen Elizabeth II for her coronation in 1953.

Its arches were lowered by 1 inch, apparently to make it look more “feminine”.

The Imperial State Crown is extravagantly adorned with 2,901 precious stones. However, the one that really stands out is the enormous Cullinan II diamond.

You can admire its massive size in the above video at 0:59 seconds. You’ll see it on the far right, just beneath the large, red ruby.

2. The Coronation Necklace

Queen Elizabeth II owns many breathtaking diamond necklaces, but the most regal one is the Coronation Necklace.

What’s more, it has quite a story…

In 1858, Queen Victoria had to hand over her favourite necklace, The Queen Charlotte Necklace, to the King of Hanover. This was because he had successfully claimed it as his, in a long Royal inheritance dispute.

Victoria was not happy about losing her best necklace. However, it led her to commission a magnificent replacement necklace with 26 large diamonds which you can see in the picture above.

Did you know? It is called The Coronation Necklace because 4 generations of female monarchs since Queen Victoria have now worn it for their coronations!

3. Queen Victoria’s Fringe Brooch

This showstopping piece is called Queen Victoria’s Fringe Brooch. It’s famous because, in the centre, it features an enormous emerald cut diamond gifted to Queen Victoria by the Sultan of Turkey in 1856.

Surrounding the centre stone are 12 solitaire diamonds. Additionally, 9 strings of princess cut diamonds hang below it.

This brooch has been worn by 5 British queens: Victoria, Alexandra, Mary, Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and finally, Queen Elizabeth II.

4. The Cullinan Diamond

At this point, we must talk about the Cullinan Diamond. Weighing a staggering 3,106 carats, it is the largest rough diamond ever found.

It was mined in Cullinan, South Africa in 1905. Then, two years later, it was presented as a gift to King Edward VII of the United Kingdom.

He had it cut into 9 large gems, numbered with Roman numerals from I to IX.

The largest one is the Cullinan I, or the Great Star of Africa. You can see it on the head of the Sovereign’s Sceptre in the picture above.

The second-largest one is the Cullinan II, called the Second Star of Africa, set in the Imperial State Crown, which we saw at number 1.

The remaining gems are privately owned by the Queen. Some are set into her jewellery (like the “Granny’s Chips” Brooch below) and some remain as loose diamonds.

Today, the Cullinan diamonds are valued at £350 million.

5. The Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara

Among the most dazzling and important diamond tiaras that the Queen owns is the Queen Mary’s Fringe Tiara.

This tiara is the one that Elizabeth II chose to wear for her wedding. But did you know that Her Majesty broke the tiara on her wedding day?

Just moments before the ceremony, as she was handling it, the frame snapped and Garrard & Co. Jewellers had to repair it hastily on the spot.

6. Diamond Wedding Gift Bracelet

Since we’re talking about the Queen’s wedding, we should mention this stunning bracelet that her husband, Prince Philip, gave her as a wedding gift.

This piece has definitely earned its place on the Queen’s 10 best diamond jewels list.

Prince Philip used diamonds from his mother’s dismantled tiara to design an engagement ring for his wife-to-be. With some gems left over, he also had this bracelet made for her.

Queen Elizabeth II wears her wedding gift bracelet often. Now, it is a lovely, poignant reminder of her late husband who sadly passed away in 2021.

7. The Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara

The Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara is encrusted with lavish, dazzling diamonds and 19 hanging pearls. It is yet another heirloom the Queen inherited from her grandmother, Queen Mary.

However, the Queen herself has worn it little. In fact, in 1981, she gave it on loan to Princess Diana and it became her daughter-in-law’s favourite tiara.

Following Diana’s tragic death in 1997, the tiara did not appear in public again until 2015, when Kate Middleton wore it at a reception at Buckingham Palace.

8. “Granny’s Chips” Brooch

The grand Cullinan Diamond makes a reappearance once more on our list of the Queen’s 10 best diamond jewels.

This time, in the photograph above, you’ll see a brooch with two enormous diamonds.

These two gems are none other than Cullinan III and Cullinan IV, cut out of the giant rough Cullinan Diamond which we talked about above.

The Queen revealed, during a 1958 state visit to Holland, that her family playfully calls the two large diamonds in the brooch “Granny’s Chips”!

9. The Diamond Diadem

The Diamond Diadem originally belonged to Mary of Modena, the Royal consort of King James II. She wore it at his 1685 coronation.

Queen Elizabeth II famously wore the diadem during her 1953 coronation procession. Every year, she also wears it on her way to and from the State Opening of Parliament.

It showcases 1,333 diamonds that weigh a total of 320 carats and its value is more than £20 million.

10. The Queen’s Engagement Ring

Prince Philip Mountbatten, Prince of Greece and Denmark, proposed to Elizabeth II in 1947.

According to Royal records, he took an active part in designing the Queen’s engagement ring.

The 3-carat centre diamond, and the smaller diamonds around it, are very meaningful because they came from his mother’s tiara.

Prince Philip and the Queen’s marriage lasted 73 years, until he sadly passed away in April 2021.

Out of all the Queen’s magnificent diamond jewellery, this piece may the smallest. But we are sure it is the one she holds the dearest.

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