A guide to Queen Elizabeth II's jewellery collection

A guide to Queen Elizabeth II's jewellery collection

September 13, 2022

Queen Elizabeth II’s jewellery was a constant talking point.

From diamond brooches to her beloved pearl necklace, prior to her death aged 96 it was rare for the Queen to be pictured without such glamorous pieces.

She amassed quite a sizeable collection over her life – certainly not one that would squeeze into a single jewellery box. In fact, it’s said to include over 300 items.

Her jewellery collection comprised gifts from loved ones and dignitaries, heirlooms with sentimental value, and a number one-of-a-kind treasures made specially for the monarch.

And as well as her own personal collection, the Queen was also the owner of the Crown Jewels, which have been held at the Tower of London since the 1600s.

This collection of metalwork and jewellery is only used for the coronation of a monarch and a few other ceremonial occasions. The Queen was also shown wearing them in portraits, as they symbolise the opulence and continuity of the monarchy.

But the Queen wasn’t selfish with her diamonds and pearls, as it was common for her to lend pieces to other royals for special events, with Kate Middleton famously donning her Nizam of Hyderabad necklace, originally created by Cartier in the 1930s, at the National Portrait Gallery back in 2014.

The Princess of Wales also paid tribute to her husband William’s grandmother for her 95th birthday, borrowing her cherished pearl earrings for an outing to an air cadet centre.

Meghan Markle is additionally thought to have received a unique pair of earrings from Her Majesty to wear to their first joint engagement in June 2018.


One item that occupied a particular space in Her Majesty’s heart was a brooch given to her by her husband, Prince Phillip, in 1966. The Scarab Brooch was said to be one of her favourites, and she wore it on several public outings – including for her Christmas Day message in 2007.

In fact, many of the Queen’s brooches held special meaning, such as the True Lover’s Knot Brooch, which is in the shape of a large bow containing hundreds of tiny diamonds, with a bigger diamond in the centre.

Queen Elizabeth II dead: Latest updates

  • Queen Elizabeth dead at the age of 96 after 70-year rule of UK
  • What happens next following the death of the Queen?
  • Was the Queen the longest serving monarch in the world?
  • RIP Ma’am: Your heartfelt messages to her Majesty The Queen
  • Nationwide minute’s silence for The Queen at 8pm on Sunday

Follow Metro.co.uk’s live blog for the latest updates, and sign Metro.co.uk’s book of condolence to Her Majesty here.

This brooch dates to the 19th century and was given to Queen Elizabeth II by her grandmother, Queen Mary, who was also a lover of jewels, following her death in 1953.

Her Majesty donned breastpin at two royal weddings – that of her sister Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones in 1960, and the wedding of William and Kate in 2011.


A third brooch gifted to the Queen at a special time in her life was the Flower Basket Brooch, given to her by her parents when she gave birth to King Charles III in 1948.

The ruby and sapphire brooch is shaped into a basket of flowers, and was seen for the first time in an official photograph with the now-King, taken a month after he was born.

She continued to wear the brooch long after, including for her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.

Another piece of jewellery that is particularly well travelled is the Queen Mother’s maple leaf brooch. The diamond pin in the shape of Canada’s national emblem was presented to the Queen Mother on a visit to the country in 1939.

Then, when the Queen herself embarked on her first tour of Canada with her husband Prince Phillip, her mother lent the brooch to her. She proceeded to wear it several times over the decades, most recently to meet Canadian soldiers in 2021.

The monarch also lent it to Kate in 2011 when she and William went to Canada for their own tour.

When it comes to necklaces, there was one item arguably as synonymous with Her Majesty as Buckingham Palace itself – her three-strand pearl necklace, of course.

Despite supposedly owning 46 necklaces, 98 brooches, 37 bracelets, and 34 pairs of earrings, it was the pearl necklace she was rarely seen in public without. The statement piece was a gift from her father, King George VI, who died in 1952 when the Queen was just 25 years old.


Something you might not know, though, is the Queen actually owned three versions of her beloved pearls, all of which were incorporated into her ‘official uniform’ of a two-piece suit, structured hat, and leather Traviata handbag, over her 70-year reign.

Queen Elizabeth had a replica of the pearl necklace made because she loved it so much, and in 1953, a third three-strand pearl necklace joined her collection as a gift from the Emir of Qatar. The only slight difference was the gifted version had a diamond clasp.

Her Majesty loaned her original pearl necklace to her daughter, Princess Anne, to wear on Coronation Day.

Of her extensive collection, however, there was one set of jewels that were impossible to take your eyes off whenever they were worn in public; the Victorian Suite of Sapphire and Diamond Set.

The Queen’s diamond and sapphire necklace and earrings were made originally in 1850 and were a wedding present from her father. The Queen later had the matching tiara made in 1963, wearing the items several times throughout her long reign and even having alterations made to them.

At the beginning of her reign in 1952, she had the necklace shortened by removing the largest sapphire and a second smaller sapphire. Then in 1959, the larger sapphire was used to make a brooch.

The sapphire set was so eye-catching that it made lasting impressions on those who got to see it with their own eyes. In 1954, playwright and composer Sir Noël Coward saw the Queen wearing the necklace in its original longer length at the Royal Command Performance. He wrote in his diary afterwards: ‘The Queen looked luminously lovely and was wearing the largest sapphires I have ever seen.’

You might think that chokers weren’t a thing until the 2000s, but Her Majesty the Queen was wearing them long before they were made trendy by the Olsen twins – and very lavish ones at that.

Her Majesty commissioned a beautiful necklace to be made of fine pearls from within her own collection. The Four-Row Pearl Choker was worn by both Princess Diana, to a banquet at Hampton Court Palace in 1982, and Kate, who wore it to the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral in 2021.

As for tiaras, the Queen’s Alexandra’s Tiara was a real statement piece. Consisting of 61 platinum bars studded with at least 488 diamonds, it was truly a sight to behold. The Diamond and Amethyst Tiara was a gift to Queen Alexandra (then Princess of Wales) from her brother-in-law, Tsar Alexander III of Russia, and was worn by several monarchs throughout history.

Queen Elizabeth acquired the statement piece in the 1950s following her mother’s death, and notably wore it while visiting the White House in 1976 and during the South African state banquet in 2010.

As for earrings, the Queen acquired many pairs from the age of 21, when jewels started to really flood in as gifts from relatives. However, she didn’t actually get her ears pierced until the age of 25.

Prior to having her ears pierced, the Queen’s earrings were adapted into clip-ons, so she could still wear them – including pair of diamond earrings given to her as a 20th birthday present from her grandmother, which she wore on her wedding day in November 1947.

Following her wedding, the late monarch was gifted a stunning pair of Cartier earrings by her parents. The Greville Chandelier Earrings are made up of 16 diamonds of varying cuts, including pear-shaped, half-moon, and emerald-cut, and she wore them for her Coronation Day portrait.

You may have noticed that the Queen’s jewellery collection tends to consist of silver pieces, and she rarely wore gold. Silver or platinum tended to be her preference, but one special item of gold jewellery that never left her finger was her wedding ring.

The Welsh gold wedding ring took pride of place on her finger, alongside her engagement ring, which Prince Phillip himself designed. It was previously reported that the Queen used these rings to send a message to her staff, and she’d start twisting them when she was ready to retire from an event.

The Duke of Edinburgh is also thought to have had the inside of the Queen’s wedding band engraved, but only three people know exactly what it says.

If you’re wondering where the Queen stored all of her diamonds, most of it was kept at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle. The items she wore on a regular basis were meticulously arranged on trays depending on their stones.

As for what happens to her prized jewellery collection following her death, it’s likely much of it was acquired by King Charles, with Camilla as his Queen Consort. Worth millions of pounds, the extensive collection is expected to be passed down to other members of the Windsor family.

Timeline of Queen Elizabeth II’s life and reign

Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born at 2.40 am at her parent’s home in 17 Bruton Street, Mayfair, London. She was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

Elizabeth’s early years were spent between Piccadilly in London and at White Lodge in Richmond Park.

When Her Majesty was seven years old, her father King George VI brought home Dookie, a Pembrokeshire Welsh corgi.

She immediately fell in love with the breed, and is believed to have owned at least 30 corgis since then.

Elizabeth’s father becomes king when his older brother, King Edward VIII steps down. Princess Elizabeth becomes heiress presumptive.

Elizabeth made her first public engagement on her 16th birthday by inspecting the soldiers of the Grenadier Guards.

Elizabeth, aged 21 at the time, married Philip Mountbatten in Westminster Abbey – the couple stayed together for 73 years, until Philip’s death on April 9, 2021.

Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, Prince Charles, at Buckingham Palace. Prince Charles is first in line to the throne.

Princess Anne was born in Clarence House.

Following the death of her father the previous year, Elizabeth’s coronation took place in Westminster Abbey. She was crowned Queen Elizabeth II, at age 27.

Prince Andrew was born at Buckingham Palace.

At the age of 37, Queen Elizabeth gave birth to her fourth and final child, Prince Edward, at Buckingham Palace.

The Queen’s 10-day visit to the Federal Republic of Germany (or West Germany) was the first official visit there by a British royal since 1913. Her visit marked the 20-year anniversary of the end of World War II, helping to symbolise the reconciliation between the two countries.

During a royal tour of Australia and New Zealand, Queen Elizabeth rebelled against centuries of royal tradition when she took a casual stroll to greet crowds of people in person, rather than wave to them from a protected distance.

A ‘walkabout’ is now a regular practice for British royals.

The Queen’s 25 years on the throne was celebrated with Commonwealth visits and a public holiday.

Prince William was born to Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales. Although William is the Queen’s third grandchild, the line of succession means that he is second in line to the throne after his father.

A fire wrecks part of the Queen’s home at Windsor Castle. It destroyed 115 rooms, including nine State Rooms. The castle was not restored until 1997.

The Queen’s daughter-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales, died on August 31 from the injuries she sustained in a car crash in Paris.

Tensions between the Royal Family and Diana were already tense following her controversial interview with Martin Bashir, and so the Queen was under close scrutiny following he death.

The Queen’s speech about Diana’s passing was broadcast live on September 5: ‘We have all felt those emotions in these last few days. So what I say to you now as your Queen and as a grandmother, I say from the heart.

‘I want to pay tribute to Diana, myself. She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, to inspire others with her warmth and kindness.

‘I admired and respected her for her energy and commitment to others, especially for her devotion to her two boys.’

Prince Harry recently opened up about the death of his mother and the toll it took on his mental health in the Apple TV+ documentary The Me You Can’t See.

The Queen and Prince Philip celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary with a special garden party at Buckingham Palace for couples also celebrating their Golden Wedding.

The Queen’s younger sister, Margaret, died from complications of a stroke on February 9, 2002. The Queen Mother also passed just over a month later, on March 30, aged 101.

To celebrate her Golden Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth traveled more than 40,000 miles in 2002, including visits to the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. She also visited 70 cities and towns in 50 counties in the United Kingdom. 

Queen Elizabeth II becomes the oldest-ever reigning British monarch, overtaking a record set by her great great grandmother, Queen Victoria.

Queen Elizabeth II visits Dublin in the first state visit to the Republic of Ireland by a reigning British monarch.

Elizabeth’s visit, during which she expressed her ‘sincere thoughts and deep sympathy’ for the victims of the troubled Anglo-Irish past, was widely celebrated as the beginning of a new era of friendship.

The Queen made a cameo alongside Daniel Craig as James Bond for the opening of the London 2012 Olympics.

In a short parody film, Bond actor Daniel Craig entered Buckingham Palace wearing his trademark tuxedo.

After a pause, Her Majesty turns from her writing desk and says simply: ‘Good evening, Mr. Bond.’

The Queen’s great grandson Prince George was born to Prince William and Kate Middleton. George is third in line to the throne.

His birth marked the first time since Victoria’s reign that three generations of direct heirs to the British throne were alive at the same time.

The Queen became the longest-reigning monarch in British history (more than 63 years), surpassing her great-grandmother Queen Victoria.

At the time the record was broken, Queen Elizabeth had reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours, and 30 minutes.

Queen Elizabeth celebrated her 90th birthday. The milestone was marked by a national service of thanksgiving, and a street party of 10,000 people along the Mall hosted by the Queen herself.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their intention to step away from royal duties.

Their decision to step back from their roles came as a shock to everyone, including the Queen who was said to be ‘hurt’ by the choice.

The couple then moved to Canada before setting up a home in the United States.

Queen Elizabeth delivered a special broadcast in relation to the coronavirus outbreak.

In a rare speech, she acknowledged the grief and financial hardships Britons faced during the coronavirus pandemic.

Echoing the words of the Vera Lynn wartime song, she said that ‘we will meet again’.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey aired on March 7 in the United States, and the following day in the UK.

The couple didn’t hold back as they lifted the lid on life inside the Royal Family.

The Royals faced allegations of racism after Harry and Meghan claimed an unnamed member of the family made a comment about how dark their son Archie’s skin tone would be.

A source told The Sun that the Queen was ‘sad, not angry’ about the interview.

The Queen’s loving husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, died aged 99.

A statement from Buckingham Palace read: ‘It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

‘His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.’

Philip’s death certificate declared the cause of his passing as old age.

The Queen’s milestone birthday marked the first without late husband Prince Philip by her side in seven decades.

Celebrations were significantly smaller amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the recent passing of the Duke.

30 guests including the Queen attended Prince Philip’s funeral in St George’s Chapel, in line with coronavirus guidelines.

The Queen sat alone as Covid-19 restrictions dictated that attendees had to socially distance from those outside their household.

The nation held a minute’s silence at 3pm to remember the late Duke of Edinburgh.

The Royal Family were reunited with Prince Harry for the first time since his interview with Oprah.

Harry and William were originally expected to walk shoulder-to-shoulder, but they were separated by their cousin Peter Phillips.

Plans for the Platinum Jubilee were announced, revealing that there will be a four-day weekend in 2022 to celebrate the landmark occasion.

The celebration marking the Queen’s 70 years on the throne promises to be the ‘largest ever’ in Britain.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle name their baby daughter after Queen Elizabeth.

Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor will be known as Lili for short, after the royals’ family nickname for the Queen.

Lili’s middle name, Diana, was chosen to honour her late grandmother.

The Queen politely turned down the ‘Oldie of the Year’ award, organised by chairman Gyles Brandreth for The Oldie magazine.

According to an aide, the monarch believes ‘you are as old as you feel’ and thinks she does not meet the ‘relevant criteria’ for the trophy.

Her Majesty sent a message back to the organisers of the prizes with her ‘warmest best wishes’, saying she ‘hopes you will find a more worthy recipient.’

The Queen hosted a major Global Investment summit at Windsor Castle ahead of the COP26 UN climate change conference.

Her Majesty called on nations to work together to beat climate change, saying it is the greatest challenge facing the world.

Queen Elizabeth had to cancel a trip to Northern Ireland at the last minute following advice from her doctors, who told her to ‘rest for a few days.’

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: ‘Her Majesty is in good spirits and is disappointed that she will no longer be able to visit Northern Ireland, where she had been due to undertake a series of engagements today and tomorrow.

‘The Queen sends her warmest good wishes to the people of Northern Ireland, and looks forward to visiting in the future.’

Her Majesty stayed overnight in  London’s private King Edward VII Hospital.

The Queen was said to be ‘in good spirits’ when she left on the morning of October 21.

The Queen spoke warmly about Prince Philip on her first Christmas without him in seven decades, saying there was ‘one familiar laugh missing’ in her home.

6 February, 2022 marked 70 years since Princess Elizabeth ascended to the throne, becoming Queen Elizabeth II.

Plans to celebrate Her Majesty’s historic reign – which is tipped to be even bigger than the celebrations for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and could be watched by over a billion people worldwide – include a four-day bank holiday in the summer.

On the eve of her historic Jubilee, the Queen released a message to the public, thanking them and also stating her intentions for the future of the Crown.

She said in the written message: ‘I would like to express my thanks to you all for your support. I remain eternally grateful for, and humbled by, the loyalty and affection that you continue to give me.

‘And when, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.’

Bucking years of tradition, Her Majesty decided to leave Buckingham Palace for good and make a permanent move to Windsor Castle.

Sources say the Queen enjoyed life with Prince Philip there during the pandemic and the couple ‘rediscovered the happiness of their early years together’ during this time.

It is believed Her Majesty came to prefer life in Windsor.

At the memorial for Prince Philip, the Queen showed public support for disgraced son, Prince Andrew.

It is the first time the Duke of York has appeared alongside the Queen since he settled his US sex abuse case, paying accuser Virginia Roberts a reported £12million.

Part of the plea deal was the agreement that no formal admission of liability or an apology was owed by the Duke of York.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle visited the Queen in secret, before going to the Invictus Games.

It marked the first time all three were together since 2020.

Her Majesty marked her 96th birthday at Wood Farm, the farmhouse where Prince Philip lived after his retirement on the Sandringham Estate.

She celebrated her birthday privately, in the wake of her health issues over the previous few months.

Thousands of people descended onto the Mall as four days of  Platinum Jubilee celebrations kicked off with the Trooping the Colour.

Royal superfans dressed up in red, white and blue to watch the Queen’s historic birthday parade, which ended in a spectacular flypast over Buckingham Palace, watched by the Queen and royals from the balcony.

More than 3,500 beacons were lit around the UK and Commonwealth in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The 96-year-old monarch started the process when she pressed an orb-like button – The Commonwealth of Nations Globe – placed on a cushion in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

 The celebrations continued with a star-studded concert in Queen Elizabeth II’s honour outside Buckingham Palace boasting performers from Queen to Eurovision’s Sam Ryder.

However, the Queen was the undisputed star of the show when the concert began, starring in a pre-recorded skit with none other than Paddington Bear.

The Queen travelled to Scotland with other members of the Royal Family ahead a week of traditional events.

Her appearance north of the border had been unconfirmed due to concerns about her health.

The 96-year-old had cut back on public engagements, including Platinum Jubilee celebrations, due to mobility issues.

The Queen braved the heatwave sun to make a surprise visit to a hospice with the Princess Royal to open its new centre 

Liz Truss officially became the UK’s new prime minister after being invited to form a new government by the Queen.

Her Majesty was pictured shaking hands with the new Tory leader at Balmoral in Scotland.

The Queen was placed under medical supervision at Balmoral after doctors became concerned for her health, Buckingham Palace said.

Her Majesty died with the now King Charles and Princess Anne by her side, bringing an end to her 70 years on the throne.

Keep up with all the latest here.

Do you have a story to share?

Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

Source: Read Full Article