Queen Elizabeth exits state coach during 1953 coronation
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The Queen is rarely seen without a brooch on her lapel, usually worn to complement her strikingly bright outfits. But Her Majesty’s brooches are more than just pieces of beautiful jewellery: they symbolise deeper meanings and reveal significant aspects of the Queen’s life.
Her Majesty not only has a vast brooch collection, but it is also one of the most impressive selections in the world.
It is thought that the monarch has up to around 100 brooches, with special ones on regular rotation.
Charlotte White, Head of Design at 77 Diamonds, Europe’s largest online jeweller, commented on the Queen’s much-loved jewels.
She said: “The Queen’s spectacular and extensive collection of brooches spans world-record breaking, historical and sentimental pieces.
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“There are several priceless brooches owned by the Queen that are steeped in history and you could say these jewels attest to the sheer wealth and power of the British monarchy.”
Many of Her Majesty’s brooches date back to before Elizabeth was born, and one of these includes the Prince Albert brooch.
Featuring a large sapphire set in gold and surrounded by smaller diamonds, the brooch was given to Queen Victoria by Prince Albert the day before their wedding in 1840.
According to The Court Jeweller, Victoria wrote in her diary that Albert had given her “a splendid brooch, a large sapphire set round with diamonds, which is really quite beautiful”.
The maker of the brooch is not known as it could have been created in either England or Germany.
But some jewellery experts believe that Albert commissioned London-based jeweller Garrard to make the jewel.
Victoria loved the brooch so much that she decided to wear it on her wedding day, pinned to her ivory-coloured dress.
The Queen wore the brooch regularly before passing it down to Princess Alexandra of Denmark, the wife of her son King Edward VII.
When Alexandra and Edward’s son George V became king, his wife Mary of Teck wore the brooch.
Next, the brooch was worn by the Queen Mother, wife of King George VI, before then finally reaching Queen Elizabeth II.
This means that the Prince Albert brooch has been worn by five generations of the British royal family, making it a very special jewel.
Max Stone, diamond expert at online jewellery retailer Steven Stone, thinks that the brooch could have a value of almost £1million.
He said: “The ring contains a large oval or cushion shaped sapphire, which is at least 40cts. The breath-taking gem is also surrounded by 12 large diamonds, which look to be around 12cts.
“Due to the clarity and intense colour of the sapphire it was possible sourced from Burma.
“If it was to be sold today, it would be worth around £8,000,000 to £9,000,000, thanks to its historic legacy.”
Interestingly, the Duchess of Cambridge’s sapphire and diamond engagement ring, which previously belonged to Diana, looks similar to the Prince Albert brooch.
It is thought that the brooch inspired the design for the ring.
Queen Elizabeth has worn the brooch many times in the past, often pairing it with blue outfits.
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