‘Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration’, running from 30 June to 8 July and 31 July to 7 October, will feature a number of the Queen’s personal jewels and works from the Royal Collection – chosen for their artistic and historic significance.
Several pieces, including the Delhi Durbar Tiara and Queen Victoria’s Fringe Brooch, will be on display for the very first time during the exhibition.
The exhibition will also include jewellery made from the Cullinan Diamond, the world’s largest, which weighed 3,106 carats as an uncut stone. Of the nine pieces cut from the diamond, seven will be on display, including the Cullinan III and IV brooch – worn by the Queen for the National Service of Thanksgiving for Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee at St Paul’s Cathedral on 5 June 2012.
Many of the diamonds on show have undergone a number of transformations to account for changing tastes and fashions throughout their time.
Several pieces commissioned by Queen Victoria will be on display, including the Coronation Necklace created for her and subsequently worn by Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) and Her Majesty the Queen at their coronations.
Queen Victoria is the only other British monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee. In commemoration, the miniature crown she wore for her official Diamond Jubilee portrait in 1897, containing 1,187 diamonds and measuring just nine by ten centimetres, will also be on display at the exhibition.
One of the most notable pieces exhibited will be the Diamond Diadem, made for George IV’s coronation in 1821, which has been worn by the Queen to and from the State Opening of Parliament since the first of her reign and appears on stamps and a number of banknotes and coinage.
Exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut said: “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. Each piece demonstrates breath-taking workmanship and extraordinary ingenuity in design. 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.”
Image: The Coronation Necklace. (Image courtesy of The Royal Collection ©2011, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II)