When I was in the QUEEN’S GALLERY at Buckingham Palace in early January, one of the guards was talking to visitors about the Queen’s jewels which are currently on display. While he was talking, a French visitor asked the guard about the Queen’s emeralds. He first referred the visitor to a book on the Queen’s jewels which was offered in the gift shop, but then he started to tell the story of the CAMBRIDGE AND DELHI EMERALD PARURE. When the conversation and visit was over, I purchased the book which I have really enjoyed. I then found a history of the Delhi Durbar which was very interesting. What struck me was how the Queen’s jewels are so intertwined with the the country’s history. So, let me tell you about the emerald parure.
In 1811, the Duke of Cambridge–son of King George III– won a collection of fabulous emeralds in a raffle. His wife, Queen Mary’s Aunt Augusta, had these magnificent stones all her life until they came into the collection of Queen Mary in the early years of the 1900′s. At the time these emeralds were inherited by Queen Mary, King George V was preparing for the Delhi Durbar in India. As Emperor of India, George V decided to go to India to wear the new Emperor’s crown and be crowned Emperor. At the same time, the capital of India was moved to Delhi from Calcutta.
In anticipation of this great event, new pieces of jewelry were made for Queen Mary. The Maharajahes’s wives presented the Queen with splendid emeralds which were sent to Garrards, the Crown Jeweler in London, to make a splendid necklace/stomacher, a fabuous brooch, earrings, and a choker. The Queen’s Delhi tiara was made with diamonds from the royal collection. But the spikes on the top of the tiara were from another source.
Queen Mary used her Cambridge Emeralds throughout the new Indian parure. Her tiara used some of the Cambridge emeralds. A fabulous choker was created by Garrards out of the Cambridge Emeralds. (Later given as a wedding present to Princess Diana by the Queen).
After the Durbar in India, the Queen had added a fabulous suite of jewelry to the Queen’s personal collection of jewels: a tiara, choker (later worn by Diana, Princess of Wales) , earrings, necklace, stomacher (made up of several broaches which could all be worn separately), broach (which Elizabeth II has never worn).
In later years, Queen Mary added one of the Culinan diamonds to the Delhi necklace. She also purchased the Grand Duchess Vladimir’s incredible tiara after the Russian Revolution in 1918. She took the remaining Cambridge emeralds as a an option to the original natural baroque pearls. The Queen wears this tiara often.
The Queen has an immense sense of history. She wears her historic jewels on all State occasions. They all have historic significance. Of course they are fabulously valuable, but for the Queen, they are symbolic of the country’s history.
I have seen many of the Queen’s jewels in different exhibitions over the years. I will tell you about them from time to time. The jewels are beautiful, but the history to which the jewels are connected is very interesting.
I hope you enjoy this small history of the Cambridge and Delhi Emerald Parure. I am attaching an amazing black and white photo of Queen Mary wearing her full emerald parure. I am also attaching two images of Queen Elizabeth II at different periods of her life wearing parts of the emeralds. Fabulous photos.
Thomas Moore email: TMooreSr@me.com Telephone: 801.791.9918