Jewel of the Day: The Delhi Durbar Emerald Necklace

  July 5, 2012 at 2:28 pm by

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The ceremonies like Order of Thistle or Garter aren’t the most jewellery-friendly since most of the decorations consist of order insignia. Nevertheless, for today’s Thistle service Her Majesty found a way to please jewellery-watchers by donning a beautiful emerald necklace.

Unfortunately, it is not the magnificent Delhi Durbar Emerald Necklace – the hero of today’s entry, but still a beauty in her own right.

First the “main course” – the Delhi Durbar Necklace. It was a gift from the Maharanis of India, the consorts of the Maharajahs; the Maharani of Patiala presented it to Queen Mary on behalf of the Ladies of India to mark the first visit to India by a British Queen-Empress.

At the Queen’s suggestion, it was designed to match her other emerald jewellery created for the Delhi Durbar. In 1912, Garrards slightly altered the necklace, making the existing emerald pendant detachable and adding a second detachable diamond pendant. The cost of mounting the parure and the new stones required was met by King George V as a 44th birthday present for Queen Mary.

The necklace incorporates nine of the celebrated Cambridge emeralds as well as one of the Cullinan stones – Cullinan VII. The diamond is detachable and can be used with the Cullinan VIII brooch as an alternative to Cullinan VI. The cabochon emeralds are surrounded by diamonds, set in two chains of small diamonds, with a single big diamond between each emerald. Emeralds of similar size and shape are placed in symmetrical positions on the necklace. Originally, a detachable pendant with a pear-shaped emerald was attached to the cushion-shaped emerald centrepiece of the necklace. Later, Queen Mary added the Cullinan VII to the pendant.

The Gold and Emerald Set paired with the Vladimir Tiara

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Along with the rest of the Delhi Durbar parure (and most of Queen Mary’s jewellery), the necklace was inherited by The Queen from her grandmother in 1953. Since then, it has become one of Her Majesty’s favourite pieces and was worn to numerous occasions.

And going back to the necklace the Queen wore today – it’s the Emerald and Gold necklace.

Teardrop emeralds have been set in the knot diamond encrusted yellow gold necklace with matching earrings (which Her Majesty wore today as well).

Little is known about this necklace or its provenance; however, Queen Elizabeth has a very similar necklace with sapphires, again with matching earrings. It is possible both demi-parures were a gift from one of the foreign royal families, most probably, the Arab ones.

If you’d like to read more about the Queen’s necklaces, tiaras and other jewellery, have a look at this thread – Queen Elizabeth II: Tiaras, Necklaces.

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