Jubilee diamonds: Spectacular gems from the Queen's private collection go on display at Buckingham Palace
23:08 GMT, 28 June 2012
It is the most valuable – and glittering – exhibition ever created at Buckingham Palace.
Ten thousand priceless diamonds on display, many for the first time ever, to mark the Queen’s Jubilee.
From the diminutive diamond crown worn by Queen Victoria throughout her widowhood, to the breath-taking Coronation Necklace, featuring a staggering 22.48 carat pendant, the exhibition features some of the most spectacular pieces from the monarch’s private collection.
Diamond Jubilee: A Jubilee Celebration exhibition which forms part of the summer opening of Buckingham Palace includes more than 10,000 diamonds set in works acquired by six monarchs over three centuries
Sparkling: The Diamond Diadem Tiara, worn by The Queen on British and Commonwealth stamps, which also features on some issues of coinage and bank notes
Queen Victoria's Fringe Brooch is hung at the Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace
I'm a fan: A diamond-set Coronation Fan, made for Queen Alexandra at the time of the coronation in 1902, part of the 'Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration' exhibition
Each of the 21 hand-picked items on display also has a fascinating history behind it, such as the iconic diadem worn by the Queen for the state opening of parliament and on our postage stamps.
Set with 1,333 brilliant-cut diamonds, including a four-carat pale yellow brilliant, the piece was actually made for the famously extravagant coronation of George IV in 1821.
It cost the king an eye-watering 8,000 – more than 815,000 today (although the provenance of the items means it will be worth many times more) – but in the event could not even be seen over his gaudy plumed hat.
Although created for a man, its feminine appearance so much appealed to his wife, Queen Adelaide, that she borrowed it on a rather more permanent basis.
Royal collection: Caroline de Guitaut, Curator of Royal Collections, holds the Delhi Durbar Tiara, which was loaned to the Duchess of Cornwall in 2005
What a gem: Many items from the Queen's personal collection join those chosen for their artistic significance and historical importance for the exhibition
Impressive: A vitrine containing Queen Mary's Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara at Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace in London
Diamond encrusted: A table snuff box owned by Frederick the Great of Prussia, incorporating nearly 3,000 diamonds, which was purchased by Queen Mary in 1932
Coronation: The Coronation Necklace is among the pieces set to go on display at Buckingham Palace as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations
As a result it was handed down female
members of the family from Queen Victoria to Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary
and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and then to our present Queen
who wore it on the journey to and from her own coronation.
Queen Victoria’s dazzling Fringe
Brooch, which has never been displayed in public before, includes two
impressive jewels presented to the Queen by the Sultan of Turkey.
contains a large, emerald-cut central stone and nine graduated pave-set
chains suspended from an outer row of 12 large, brilliant-cut diamonds
and was last seen being worn by the Queen, appropriately, for a state
banquet in honour of the President of Turkey last year.
The Dehli Durbar Tiara was made in 1911 for Queen Mary to wear to a spectacular ceremonial gathering in India in 1911, paying homage to the new King George V. It was referred to by the king as ‘May’s best tiara’.
This, too, has never been displayed in public before and feature an exquisite tall circlet of lyres and s-scrolls linked by festoons of rose and brilliant-cut diamonds.
In 2005 the queen loaned it to her new daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cambridge, who has worn it in public numerous times since.
But perhaps the most charming item on display is the exquisite miniature crown measuring just under four inches across and weighing five ounces to wear that Queen Victoria had made in 1870 while in mourning for her beloved husband, Albert.
Due to her grief she found it impossible to wear her favourite coloured jewels that she so associated with happier times.
The crown, although still beautiful, was considered ‘modest’ but perfect for formal occasions and was usually worn over her famous veil of Honiton lace.
The monarch recorded her first wearing of it to the state opening of parliament on February 9 1871, saying; ‘Wore a dress trimmed with ermine & my new small diamond crown over a veil, on my head.’
The crown was also placed on her coffin as her body was transported from Osborne on the Isle of Wight to London for her state funeral in February 1901.
Curator Caroline de Guitaut, said; ‘Diamonds have always been associated with longevity and endurance which make them a fitting tribute to the Queen in her jubilee 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.’
Diamonds: A Jubilee celebration runs at Buckingham Palace from Saturday until October 7. For further details and ticket see www.royalcollection.org
Spectacular: The hand of a gallery worker is seen behind The Queen's Williamson Diamond Brooch one of the array of diamonds worn by the Queen and other monarchs over the past 200 years
On display: A view of the Cullinan VII (Delhi Durbar Durbar Necklace and Cullinan Pendant) displayed at the Queens gallery
Impressive: the Diamond Diadem contains some of the 10,000 diamonds set to go on display at Buckingham Palace
A Jaipur Sword and Scabbard, set with 719 diamonds weighing a total of 2,000 carats, originally presented to King Edward VII for his coronation in 1902