Buckingham Palace honours Queen's 60-year reign with Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration

Ruth Hazard | 29 June 2012
Queen Elizabeth wears the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, on display at the Palace this summer
© The Royal Collection (c) 2012, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Exhibition: Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration, Buckingham Palace, London, 30 June - 8 July and 31 July- 7 October 2012

If you had the time or inclination to count, you would apparently discover that over 10,000 diamonds make up this display of power and Royal affluence at Buckingham Palace, which features pieces from The Queen’s personal hoard of jewels as well as historical items from the Royal Collection.

Queen Victoria wears the coronation necklace and earrings and the small diamond crown for her Jubilee portrait in 1890
© The Royal Collection (c) 2012, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Hogging 1,333 amidst this extravagant diamond count is the Diadem made for the lavish coronation of George IV in 1821 and worn by The Queen to and from every State Opening of Parliament during her reign.

One of the most widely recognised pieces of Royal jewellery, it also appears atop the Queen’s head on British and Commonwealth stamps and certain issues of banknotes and coinage.

The exhibition also includes jewellery made from the world’s largest diamond, the Cullinan, which weighed 3,106 carats as an uncut stone.

Pieces containing seven of the nine principal stones cut from the original have been reunited, including the Cullinan III and IV Brooch worn by The Queen for the National Service of Thanksgiving for her 2012 Jubilee at St Paul’s Cathedral in June.

Also on display is the miniature crown worn by Queen Victoria for her official Diamond Jubilee portrait in 1897. The crown’s 1,187 diamonds belie its tiny proportions – it measures just 9 x 10cm.

The Williamson brooch was given to the Queen as a wedding gift and contains what is considered to be the finest pink diamond ever discovered
© The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Elsewhere in this opulent display is the Williamson Brooch. Made from what is considered to be the finest pink diamond ever discovered, it was found in Tanzania in 1947 by the Canadian geologist Dr JT Williamson, who gave the uncut stone to Princess Elizabeth for her wedding in November that year.

“The exhibition shows how over the past three centuries monarchs have used diamonds to display magnificence, whether in personal adornment or as a statement of power,” says exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut.

“Diamonds have of course long been associated with endurance and longevity, so this is a very fitting way to mark Her Majesty’s 60 years on the throne.”

  • Open 9.45am- 6.30pm
    Admission: (Included in ticket to the State Rooms) Adult  £18, Over 60/ Student £16.50, Under 17  £10.25, Under 5 Free

More pictures:

The Queen, pictured with Prince Charles and Princess Anne, wears the Williamson Brooch (above) in November 1954
© The Royal Collection (c) 2012, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
The Diamond Diadem was created 1820 and is made up of 1,333 gems
© The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
The snuff box made for King Frederick the Great of Prussia, c.1770-75 is on display at the exhibition in London
© The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
The South Africa Necklace, given to the Queen on her 21st Birthday
© The Royal Collection (c) 2012, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Victoria wore the Small Diamond Crown for her Jubilee picture in 1870. It contains 1,187 diamonds, despite measuring just 9x10cm
© The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
The Cullinan IX Ring is made from the world’s largest diamond which weighed 3,106 carats as an uncut stone
© The Royal Collection (c) 2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

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