Friday, April 22, 2011

Countdown to the Royal Wedding - Coloured Stones

Welcome to the Gracie Jewellery countdown to the Royal Wedding- Part 8
7 Days to go.

The Godman Necklace
This necklace was purchased by Frederick DuCann Godman, the noted naturalist, expert on the zoology of Central America and a British Museum Trustee, while on holiday in Bavaria in the 1890's. He gave it to his two daughters and in 1965, long after his death the elderly spinster sisters wrote to the Lord Chamberlain saying that they believed they owned a piece of jewellery that had once belonged to the Empress Josephine of France and it might be of interest to Her Majesty. Sir Francis Watson, Surveyor of the Queen's Works of Art, inspected the necklace, but found it did not match the detailed description of an emerald necklace in the inventory of the Empress's jewels. Despite the lack of royal connection, the Misses Godman said that they would like to present the necklace to the Queen, only requesting that she wear it occasionally. Although it is very rare for a member of the royal family to accept a personal gift from someone they don't know, this was felt to be a special occasion and the Queen, greatly touched by such a generous gesture, was delighted to add the necklace to her collection. As a thank you the Queen invited the Misses Godman to Buckingham Palace for a private audience.

Here the Queen wears the Godman necklace with Queen Victoria's Fringe Earrings- emerald drops framed by a swinging diamond fringe.

Queen Mary's Cluster Earrings
For her 59th birthday, on May 26, 1926, King George V presented Queen Mary with these earrings - large oval rubies each set in a cluster of nine brilliant cut diamonds.

Queen Elizabeth received these earrings from her parents in 1947. Here she is wearing them with a V-shaped diamond and ruby floral bandeau collar ending in a drop diamond pendant. This is of victorian workmanship and the Queen's parents purchased this as a wedding gift to the Queen

The Cambridge and Delhi Durbar Parure
This is the most magnificent parure of jewellery in the Queen's possession, was created by Queen Mary using stones from four different sources, and endures as a tribute to her taste and majestic sense of style. In 1818 Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, 7th son of King George III, married Princess Augusta of Hesse. While they were visiting Frankfurt, a State lottery was held in aid of charity; the Duchess bought some tickets and won a small box containing some forty graduated cabochon emeralds. She used some of them to make a pair of drop earrings and a necklace. At her death in 1889 the earrings, necklace and remaining emeralds became the property of her youngest daughter, Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck. When the Duchess died intestate in 1897, her jewellery was divided among her four children. Her son, the unmarried Prince Francis got the emeralds. Less than 6 months later, he died suddenly at the age of forty. He had given his mother's emeralds to his mistress, but within days of his funeral his sister Queen Mary bravely sent an emissary to the lady asking her to return the jewels, which she did. Queen Mary then used some of the Cambridge Emeralds and some Cullinan cleavings to make a completely new set of jewellery.

The Queen inherited the jewels on her grandmother's death in 1953 and wears it here in 1957. The emerald drops within the diamond circles on her tiara are also part of the Cambridge Emeralds

The King George VI Victorian Suite
In 1947 King George gave Princess Elizabeth a long necklace of oblong sapphires surrounded by round diamonds and separated by diamond collets as a wedding gift. To match it there was a pair of free-swinging squares shaped sapphire earrings bordered with diamonds and hanging from 3 collet stones. The suite was made around 1850. In 1952 the Queen had the necklace shortened by removing the largest stone plus one of the smaller sapphires and in 1959 a pendant was made using the big stone.

Princess Eliabeth photographed in her drawing room at Clarence House before leaving for an official visit to Kenya in 1952. King George VI died while she was there, and this picture was withheld from distribution until after the end of Court mourning on June 1, 1952. The necklace is its original length. When Noel Coward saw her wearing the suite at the 1954 Royal Command Performance at the Palladium, he wrote: "After the show we lined up and were presented to the Queen, Prince Philip and Princess Margaret. The Queen looked luminously lovely and was wearing the largest sapphires I have ever seen."

Next time - Pink Saturday

from the book - The Queen's Jewels by Leslie Fielding

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