Tuesday, February 5, 2013

British Royal Jewels: The Queen's Boucheron Aquamarine Clips

The Boucheron Aquamarine Brooches are some of the Queen's favourite and most-worn pieces. 
Boucheron Aquamarine Clips
Boucheron Aquamarine Clips
The idea of clip brooches came to French jeweller Louis Cartier as he once observed a woman hanging out her washing with wooden clothes pegs. He popularized his idea in the 1930s by designing brooches so that they could be worn as a single brooch or as matching clips.

These Art Deco brooches were an 18th birthday present to Princess Elizabeth from her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (The Queen Mother) in 1944. They are made of aquamarine and diamonds, and in a typical 1940s design combine baguette, oval and round stones.
Cartier's Tiara in similar style (not in the Queen's collection)
It was generally assumed that the brooches were made by Cartier since it was their signature style. And indeed, there is a Cartier tiara from the period which is a near-perfect match to the Queen’s brooches (although the tiara is not in her collection). However, they were later correctly identified as Boucheron creations.
The Queen wearing the Aquamarine Clips
The Boucheron Aquamarine Clips are Her Majesty’s favourites; she has worn them numerous times throughout her reign both for everyday occasions and official events. In fact, this pair is probably among her most-worn brooches ever. 

The clips can be worn in a number of ways – as matching clips, on either shoulder or as a single brooch. The Queen usually wears them as separate clips, one above the other. One of the few times she wore the clips as a single brooch was during the 1965 Royal Ascot.

Sources and picture credits: Royal Collection, Leslie Field's "The Queen's Jewels", Suzy Menkes' "The Royal Jewels". 

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