Jewel of the Day: The Duchess of Cambridge Pearl Pendant

  July 25, 2012 at 9:57 am by

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I guess we need to clarify one thing first: today’s jewel has nothing to do with the present Duchess of Cambridge. It was name so after Princess Augusta of Hesse-Kassel who married Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had three children together; the youngest of them was Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck – mother of Mary of Teck (George V’s Consort).

Princes Augusta was known for her love of pearls and had quite an extensive collection of pearl jewellery, including this pendant brooch. Upon her death, most her jewellery was divided between her two daughters, Augusta and Mary Adelaide; among other pieces, Mary Adelaide inherited this brooch, as well the magnificent Cambridge Emeralds. Incidentally, this Duchess of Cambridge is also purported to have been the inspiration for the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara.

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When the Duchess of Teck died in 1897, she left no will and so her jewellery collection was divided among her four surviving children, this brooch being part of Princess Mary of Teck’s share. When she married the future George V, it made its way into British Royal jewellery collection.

Queen Mary loved this brooch; she usually wore it with her Ladies of Devonshire pearl and diamond earrings (one of her wedding gifts). Notable occasions to which she wore it included the christenings of Princess Elizabeth of York (future Elizabeth II) and Prince Charles.

When Queen Mary died in 1953, most of her extensive jewellery collection was inherited by her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth.

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The Queen appears to share her grandmother’s fondness for the brooch since its one of her most-worn pieces; like Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth usually wears it paired with the Ladies of Devonshire earrings (which she received as a wedding gift from Mary in 1947). While Queen Mary – always an original with her jewellery – wore it in various ways, including as a pendant suspended from a ribbon, Queen Elizabeth has worn it exclusively as a brooch.

The devotion of the two Queens to this pendant brooch is understandable; it is a timeless, classic piece which can be worn with virtually anything. The brooch features a baroque pearl in a diamond set, hanging from a diamond pendant below a large round pearl framed by fourteen brilliant cut diamonds.

Filed under Historical Royals, The United Kingdom
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2 Responses to Jewel of the Day: The Duchess of Cambridge Pearl Pendant

  1. chris says:

    what a wonderful and exceptionally well written article!

  2. glorisabel says:

    I think it’s a beautiful brooch! Another royal who really loved pearls was Alexandra, the last Tsarina of Russia. She used to wear them every day. Heaven knows where those pearls are now!

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