Photo credit: Ricardo Stuckert/PR (CC BY 3.0 br) via Wikimedia Commons
As the monarch, Queen Elizabeth II owns an extensive collection of jewels, however not all belong to her specifically. The collection is comprised of those belonging to the state – the Crown Jewels, and those belonging to her private collection. The Crown Jewels are held in trust by The Queen and are only worn on specific events like coronations and the annual opening of Parliament. During other events like banquets, state visits, and family events, The Queen wears pieces from her extensive private collection.
Many of the pieces in Her Majesty’s personal collection have been passed down through several generations. However, one of the most spectacular modern pieces came in 1953 as a gift from the President and people of Brazil on the occasion of her coronation. Made by Rio de Janeiro’s Mappin & Webb, the Brazilian Aquamarine Parure’s original set includes a necklace and matching pendant earrings comprised of multiple oblong pieces of Brazilian aquamarine set in diamond and platinum. The necklace consists of nine large oblong aquamarine stones with a larger drop pendant. Interestingly, additional perfectly matched pieces of aquamarine continued to be collected within Brazil, and in 1958, they were given to The Queen in the form of a similarly designed bracelet and brooch to add to her existing set.
Having been worn by Her Majesty many times since she received it, the set has been added to by The Queen herself, making it particularly unique as she has adjusted it over time to reflect her style. In 1957, she commissioned court jeweller, Garrard, to make a simple diamond and aquamarine tiara to accompany the set. As is the case with many tiaras, the upright aquamarines are detachable and can be worn as brooches. In 1968, Her Majesty was given additional jewels by the Governor of São Paulo, which she then utilised once again to add to her existing tiara. This time in 1971, she added four aquamarine and diamond scroll ornaments around the existing upright aquamarines making it recognisable as the tiara she still wears today.
This particular set has been worn on many significant occasions, and most recently in 2011, on The Queen’s trip to Australia. It is also not uncommon for Her Majesty to wear individual pieces of this set during the day, as she has many times with the Parure brooch.