Jewel of the Day: Brooches Worn at Ascot

  June 27, 2012 at 8:36 pm by

Whenever the Queen attends Ascot races, we are certain to be treated to five different outfits (with bookies placing bets on the colour of Her Majesty’s hat every day) and five different brooches. Queen Elizabeth didn’t disappoint this year as well, wearing some of her beautiful pieces – each meticulously chosen to match her ensemble of the day. Some of the brooches were the among those we see quite often, while some make far rarer appearances.

Day 1 – The Aquamarine and Diamond Brooch

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This breathtaking brooch is part of the Brazilian Aquamarine parure. While opinions on the parure itself, and especially the tiara, are divided, most people agree that the brooch is just a masterpiece. It features a huge aquamarine, surrounded by diamonds, with a diamond floral detailing on the top.

The brooch was not part of the original demi-parure which the President and People of Brazil presented to Her Majesty in 1953, on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation; the original set consisted only of a necklace and matching earrings of aquamarines and diamonds, set in platinum. However, five years later, the Brazilian Government presented the Queen two additional pieces – a matching brooch and bracelet. The final gift from Brazil – from people of Sao Paulo, to be more precise – was a small tiara of aquamarines and diamonds.

Even though the most recognisable piece of the Aquamarine parure is undoubtedly the tiara, it was not actually part of the gift; rather, Queen Elizabeth incorporated the small tiara from people of Sao Paulo into an aquamarine tiara that she already possessed.

Day 2 – The Centenary Rose Brooch

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This brooch holds a special symbolic importance for the Queen. It was originally a present from the Queen to her mother on the occasion of the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s 100th birthday in 2002.

Queen Elizabeth commissioned G. Collins & Sons jewellers to create a brooch with rose motives. The result was this brooch: a Queen Elizabeth rose hand-painted and carved in intaglio in rock crystal set, with the frame made of 100 diamonds.

The Queen Mother didn’t have the chance to wear this brooch on many occasions, but Queen Elizabeth has since worn it fair few times, including her Christmas Speech in 2002.

Day 3 – The Teck Pearl Corsage Brooch

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Jewellery watchers were momentarily unable to identify the brooch Queen Elizabeth chose for Day 3, not because it is an unknown piece, but because it was worn in an unusual manner. Her Majesty was wearing the gorgeous Teck Pearl Corsage Brooch – but in its simplified form.

The brooch consists of a large pearl set in a circle of diamonds which are enclosed in a diamond plaited scroll frame. Twelve collet stones are set around the edge. The complete brooch includes a chain of large collet diamonds with three pendant drops, but Her Majesty chose not to include the chain this time, thereby creating the slight confusion.

The elegant creation originally belonged to Mary of Teck (hence the name), who gave it as a wedding present to Princess Elizabeth in 1947.

Day 4 – The Amethyst Bouquet Brooch

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This brooch is one of the Queen’s favourites and she usually chooses it if she’s wearing a purple or lavender outfit. It was purple for Day 4, and so the Amethyst brooch made yet another appearance.

The brooch consists of 7 amethyst buds, white and yellow ferns and grasses, as well as 12 freshwater pearls from the River Tay. It was presented to Her Majesty in 1960, after she opened the Queen’s Bridge in Scotland. Since then, it has become one of her favourites and she’s worn it on numerous occasions, mainly with purple outfits.

Because the pearls are somewhat small (certainly not on par with the pearls on, for instance, the Teck Pearl Corsage Brooch), they are often mistaken for small diamonds, creating a doubt about the identity of the brooch.

Day 5 – The Rhodesian Flame Lily Brooch

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In 1947, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret accompanied their parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, on a tour of southern Africa. During the tour, the future Queen celebrated her 21st birthday and was presented with this diamond and platinum brooch in the form of a flame lily Gloriosa Superba from the Children of Southern Rhodesia.

To create the brooch, over 42,000 children in Southern Rhodesia were asked to donate part of their pocket money; the result was a stunning creation in the shape of flame lily (Rhodesia’s national flower), containing 301 diamonds.

The brooch entered into history books because it was the first piece of jewellery worn by Queen Elizabeth when she first arrived back in Britain as a Monarch 1952: the young Queen wore the brooch on her black outfit as she returned from Kenya following the death of her father.

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