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British RoyalsInsight

Sapphires for September: the British Royal Collection

Today we’re looking at some of the beautiful sapphire pieces in the British Royal Family’s collection.

The Belgian Sapphire Tiara

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Queen Elizabeth purchased a sapphire necklace from the collection of Princess Louise of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1963 to add to a set of sapphires she’d received as a wedding present in 1947 (that suite consisted of a necklace and earrings) and had it set on a frame that became the Belgian Sapphire Tiara. She wore it with regularity in the decades after she bought it, including at the State Banquet in honour of the President of China in 2015.

Queen Mary’s Russian Bandeau

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Queen Mary purchased this Russian sapphire bandeau tiara from the collection of Empress Marie Feodorovna at a Paris auction in 1921. It also came with a sapphire brooch. Queen Mary wore it with some regularity in her lifetime, but after her death, included it in the bequeathal to her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen has never publicly worn this tiara, and instead lent it to Princess Margaret throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s. The tiara has not been worn in public since Princess Margaret’s heyday.

Cartier Indian Tiara

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One of the tiaras at the disposal of The Duchess of Gloucester, the Cartier Indian Tiara is an intricate jewellery piece that features diamonds, sapphires and pearls in a traditional Indian design.

Originally owned by Princess Marie Louise, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, this tiara was created at the turn of the century in the 1900s by jewellers at Cartier. The most famous occasion Princess Marie Louise wore this spectacular creation was at Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953. Upon her death, her tiara collection was inherited by her godson, Prince Richard, later The Duke of Gloucester, and his wife, Birgitte, has worn it regularly, as has their daughter, Lady Rose Gillman, for an official portrait in 1981.

George VI Sapphire Necklace

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As mentioned above, with the Belgian Sapphire Tiara, Queen Elizabeth II received a sapphire necklace and earrings set from her father, King George VI on her wedding day in 1947. The set was created by Carrington & Co. and features a series of emerald-cut sapphires outlined in diamonds, set on a necklace with diamonds in between each. At the time she received the gift, there were 18 sapphires on the necklace, however, she had it shortened in the ‘50s to create additional jewellery pieces out of the set.

Dubai Looped Sapphire Earrings

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Queen Elizabeth II received a demi-parure set that included a sapphire and diamond necklace, a pair of sapphire earrings, and a sapphire ring during her 1979 visit to Dubai. From the necklace, which hung in an oval looped design with large oval sapphires, she had a new set of earrings made (the original earrings and ring were broken up and turned into a bracelet).

Sapphire & Diamond 18th Birthday Bracelet

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Aptly named, as it was an 18th birthday gift to Princess Elizabeth from her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, in 1944. Again, Cartier was the go-to jeweller, and they designed an intricate sapphire and diamond link bracelet that featured diamond loop embellishments.

Princess Elizabeth wore this delicate bracelet to the christening of Princess Anne in 1950 but hasn’t worn it with any regularity throughout the rest of her reign.

About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.