01 April 2015

The Duchess of Cornwall's Everyday Pearl Pendant Earrings

The Duchess of Cornwall's Everyday Pearl Pendant Earrings
Currently The Duchess of Cornwall's favorite pick for day-to-day wear, these earrings feature a pierced round pearl pendant hanging from a detailed silver-toned disk. It appears there may be some type of stone in the top portion, but it's difficult to tell.
It's doubly difficult to see the details because in regular use, you can't see the top portion of the earrings anyway. They remain covered by The Duchess' signature hairstyle, and are primarily identifiable by the round pearls which just peek out from below her hair. These are currently her everyday earrings, worn to most engagements, but they're worn to some evening events too. They were also her pick for her civil wedding to The Prince of Wales on April 9, 2005.

Photos: via Getty Images

George III Project Launch

The Queen attended the launch of a project to make the letters of George III available to the public digitally at the Royal Library, Windsor Castle.
And here's Cullinan V, looking smashing in its fourth appearance for the year, and on its way to making the end of the year favorites list.

Photo: WPA Pool via Getty Images

30 March 2015

The Queen Mother's Pearl of the Dee Brooch

The Queen Mother's Pearl of the Dee Brooch
As a gift to mark her 100th birthday, the Salmon and Trout Association commissioned this brooch for Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother from goldsmith Rachel Jeffrey. The design is based on a salmon fly and it includes a blue gray pearl at the top, a body of solid 19 carat gold with a lattice work in sapphires, emeralds, and rubies, wings small touches of yellow and white diamonds, and a tail of 18 carat gold. It cost a reported £2500 to make, and the color scheme was a tip of the hat to the birthday girl's racing colors, according to the designer's site. Considering The Queen Mother loved to fish when in Scotland, I'm sure it made her smile. And it made a few other people smile too, with a limited edition production of 100 brooches that sold quickly.
Official engagement photo
I don't know if Queen Elizabeth had a chance to wear it publicly before she passed away, but it would get a significant debut a few years later, appearing in the engagement photo of Camilla Parker-Bowles and The Prince of Wales, which was taken at Birkhall (Queen Elizabeth's home on the Balmoral Estate, now used by the couple). The new Duchess of Cornwall would also wear the brooch for the first royal engagement after her wedding, in Scotland on the couple's honeymoon (shown below).
Knowing what we know now, the appearance of this brooch and that engagement ring were huge tips to what Camilla's jewel future held. They were just the first of many pieces from The Queen Mother's collection that we would see on The Duchess of Cornwall.
As for this brooch, it hasn't had many outings since these early ones. She has also worn it to the Braemar Gathering, so it seems the Scottish connection is strong. And there's another strong connection for The Duchess too: the designer set her business up with the help of a loan from The Prince's Trust, started by The Prince of Wales. (By the way, the Braemar appearance shown above seems to be the first time she wore it properly. The first two appearances? Worn upside down. Oops.)

Photos: Rachel Jeffrey, Clarence House, and via Getty Images

29 March 2015

The Duchess of Cornwall's Three Strand Pearl Choker with Amethyst Clasp

The Duchess of Cornwall's Three Strand Pearl Choker with Amethyst Clasp
One of several pearl necklaces in The Duchess of Cornwall's collection, this version has three longer strands of pearls. The small clasp features what is likely an amethyst at the center (it has a mainly purple color but can take other shades at times) surrounded by diamonds in a lozenge shape. This particular necklace has been in her collection since before her marriage, spotted since at least 2000.
You don't have to pay much attention to The Duchess of Cornwall's jewels to know that her collection is particularly rich in pearl chokers of varying sizes and with different decorative clasps. She's been a fan of the style for decades, and it was no surprise to see one around her neck the night her engagement to The Prince of Wales was announced (photo above).
Around the time of the wedding and for the first year or so of the couple's marriage, this particular necklace was a constant presence, but as her collection grew, it became less of a favorite. The Duchess continues to wear it primarily with the clasp at the front or to the side for decoration.

Photos: via Getty Images and By MooseyJake via Wikimedia Commons

27 March 2015

A New Addition to the Vault: The Jewels of The Duchess of Cornwall

I have an announcement! I'm pretty excited about it, and I hope you will be too:

We will now be covering the jewels worn by The Duchess of Cornwall,
in addition to The Queen's jewels!

We've covered three years of The Queen's gems here on the blog, detailing her current events and all the pieces she's worn in that time, plus some of the notable pieces she's worn outside of that blog period. Obviously we haven't covered her entire collection (not even close, and also not even possible) but the blog now includes much of what she wears on a regular basis.

That focus is not going to change - we'll still cover Her Majesty's current events and her jewels, plus flashbacks. And now we're adding features on the jewels of The Duchess of Cornwall.

This is an addition I've been contemplating for quite a while. Why? For starters, Camilla has a fantastic jewel collection. She has a nice set of jewels that she personally owns (including things from her own family and gifts from Charles), she's building a nice set of jewels picked up on official business, and she has the use of a tremendous amount of jewelry from the collection of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The Queen Mother's pieces are on loan to Camilla, so they're technically part of The Queen's jewel vault anyway. She has this fantastic collection, but it doesn't get enough attention, in my opinion. So let's see what we can do about that.

Here are the details on our new Camilla coverage:
    • Unlike QEII coverage, I won't be covering all of The Duchess' daily events - she has an awful lot of events where nothing other than her "daily" stuff is present, anyway - but may cover her for special events. This will be mainly jewel features.
    • You'll be able to find all the jewels we cover on the new tabs up above, under the banner, just like you can for QEII's gems. We've already covered a few of the pieces she wears.
    • There's a lot of speculation involved with the history of her jewels, especially those that are part of her personal collection. As always, if you have more information on any given piece, I would love to hear from you! 
    We are fast approaching the 10th wedding anniversary of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, so it's the perfect time to get started. We're going to kick things off with a look at the first jewels we saw in her royal life, from her engagement to her wedding.

    And the fun has already begun...keep scrolling or click here for a feature on her engagement and wedding rings!

    Photo: Pool via Getty Images

    The Duchess of Cornwall's Engagement and Wedding Rings

    The Duchess of Cornwall's Engagement and Wedding Rings
    The engagement of The Prince of Wales and Camilla Parker Bowles was announced on February 10, 2005, after reportedly settling the details with The Queen over the Christmas holiday, and slightly earlier than planned since details had been leaked to the media. The happy couple appeared at a charity gala at Windsor Castle that night and met the press beforehand, the bride-to-be stating that she was "just coming down to earth" and reporting that Charles had gotten down on one knee to pop the question. ("Of course," she said. "What else?")
    Video: The night the engagement was announced
    Camilla proudly showed off her large engagement ring, a design (according to multiple reports at the time) of a central square-cut diamond flanked on either side by three diamond baguettes and set in platinum. It was confirmed to be a royal heirloom, and was later shown to have been in the collection of the late Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Charles' grandmother.
    Queen Elizabeth wears the ring
    Exactly how the ring came to be in Queen Elizabeth's collection is a matter of speculation. Various reports have dated the piece from the 1920s or 1930s; some have said it was a gift from her husband to celebrate the birth of their first child (Princess Elizabeth, the current queen), while others have placed it as part of the Greville bequest (the jewels inherited by Queen Elizabeth from Mrs. Ronald Greville in 1942). Like the rest of The Queen Mother's jewels, it most likely was inherited by The Queen in 2002 and then given to Charles after that.
    The ring is now worn daily by Camilla alongside her gold wedding band. The rings exchanged by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall are made from Welsh gold, as is the royal family's tradition, and were created by Wartski jewelers (appropriately, a firm with roots in Wales).
    This is one of the larger engagement rings in the main royal family, and it is often cited as one of (if not the) most valuable one, using purely speculative figures, of course. But despite the large stones, it doesn't feel overpowering; the simple Art Deco design makes for the perfect showcase for these diamonds (and makes it one of my personal favorite royal engagement rings).

    Photos: via Getty Images

    26 March 2015

    Visit to Kent

    The Queen, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, visited Capel-le-Ferne and Canterbury Cathedral, Kent. She opened a new Battle of Britain visitor center and at Canterbury Cathedral, the couple attended a service and unveiled statues of themselves created for the Diamond Jubilee.

    For more: BBC article, KentOnline video, Zimbio gallery.
    She wore one of Queen Victoria's brooches on the day the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 goes into effect, giving women an equal spot in the line of succession. It's one of her regulars anyway, obviously, but I prefer to consider it a cheeky sovereign queen high five.
    And speaking of the line of succession, Prince Michael of Kent was there to greet her (in the first photo). He's one of the people who have been freshly reinstated in the line thanks to the act removing the ban on marriage to Catholics. (And he's also Patron of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust, hence the appearance.)

    Also, about those statues...well, I believe we have the George IV State Diadem, the Coronation Earrings, and the Mantle and Collar of the Order of the Garter here. So that part's recognizable. (Not that I should be critiquing, I mean, if you gave me a block of stone and asked me to carve you something, you'd get the same block of stone back with a couple chicken scratches on it. If you were lucky.)

    Photos:via Getty Images and KentOnline video