Monday, January 21, 2013

Focus on... Camilla's Jewels: Turquoise Demi-Parure

One of my favourite pieces from Camilla’s personal jewellery collection is her turquoise demi-parure.  consists only of a necklace and matching earrings but they are lovely and I like the word, so I am going to continue to refer to this set as the Duchess of Cornwall’s Turquoise Demi-Parure. 
The Turquoise Demi-Parure
The parure consists of a tiara and matching earrings. The necklace is made of turquoises set in diamond frames. From each turquoise, a pear-shaped stone is suspended, also in a diamond settings. Five rows of diamonds nest between each clasp. The earrings consist of an oval turquoise surrounded by diamonds, suspended from a smaller round turquoise. 

The style of the necklace was very popular in late Victorian and early Edwardian times so in all probability it (and presumably, the earrings as well) is a late 19th or early 20th century design. 
The set worn for a day event (left), an official dinner (middle), and with a tiara (right)
The provenance of the necklace and earrings is a bit obscure and, given the probable creation time, some suggested the Duchess had inherited the set from her great-grandmother, Alice Keppel. It was, however, later clarified that while the set is indeed a rarely-worn piece from Camilla’s family collection, it was not inherited through Alice's line.

One of the first occasions Camilla wore this necklace to was Prince Charles’ 50th birthday celebrations at Highgrove in 1998. Camilla wore the demi-parure with a velvet peacock gown by Antony Price that had been specially designed to showcase the magnificent jewellery. Since her wedding, the Duchess has worn the set on various occasions, from day to evening events, and even with a tiara.  
Princess Margaret wearing the Persian Turquoise Parure (left) and The Duchess of Gloucester in the Teck Turquoise Parure (right)
Turquoise is a popular stone in the British Royal Family; not one but two other royals counted very similar demi-parures in their collections – the Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Margaret. Until I found the provenance and history of those parures (as well as better pictures), I had a bit of a trouble in distinguishing the necklaces because they really do resemble each other (and Camilla’s) quite a lot. I’ll be covering those two parures soon, so stay tuned!

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