Wednesday, February 6, 2013

British Royal Jewels: Queen's Brazilian Aquamarine Parure and Tiara

The Brazilian Aquamarine Parure consists of one of the most modern jewels in the Queen’s collection. The first pieces of the parure are the earrings and the necklace; in 1953, the President and People of Brazil presented them to Elizabeth II on the occasion of her coronation.
Brazilian Aquamarine Parure
Brazilian Aquamarine and Diamond Parure (without the tiara)
It had reportedly taken the jewellers a whole year to find the perfectly matched aquamarines but it was worth the effort: the Queen liked the set so much she commissioned a matching tiara in 1957. A year later, the Brazilian Government presented Queen Elizabeth with the final elements of the parure – the bracelet and the brooch. 

The Queen has worn the parure, as well as separate elements of it, quite often. It’s not among her most worn pieces but the parure has made quite a respectable number of appearances. 

The tiara is not part of the Brazilian Aquamarine Parure but the Queen like the original demi-parure so much she asked Garrard & Co to create a tiara to complete the set. 
The Aquamarine and Diamond Tiara
When first made in 1957, the tiara was in the form of a bandeau and consisted of three upright rectangular aquamarines, mounted on a platinum band. The stones were detachable and could so worn as brooches. The large central stone was originally the pendant of the necklace presented by the President and People of Brazil in 1953. 
The original tiara and necklace (left) and the final versions (right)
In 1971, the tiara was adapted to take four scroll ornaments from an aquamarine and diamond jewel given to the Queen by the Governor of Sao Paulo in 1968. 

For many years, it was assumed to have been the Smaller Aquamarine Tiara; however, its recent reappearance on the Countess of Wessex proves the tiara had not been used to create the Aquamarine Tiara. This leaves an interesting question: parts of which jewel were used to create the final version of this tiara?

The necklace, along with a pair of earrings, was part of the original coronation gift to Her Majesty. The perfectly matched nine large square-cut aquamarines are in diamond and platinum setting. 
The Aquamarine and Diamond Necklace
The original detachable pendant was used as the centrepiece for the tiara. In its stead, a smaller pendant is used; it is also detachable. The new diamond cluster is slightly more decorative than the old one. 
The necklace worn with and without the pendant
Queen Elizabeth mostly wears this necklace together with the rest of the Aquamarine parure; however, she has paired it with another tiara (The Girls of Great Britain) on at least one occasion. 

The pair of aquamarine earrings were a gift to Queen Elizabeth from the President and People of Brazil on the occasion of her 1953 Coronation. 
The Aquamarine and Diamond Earrings
The aquamarines are in ornate diamond and platinum setting. Along with the necklace, the earrings were created by Mappin & Webb in Rio de Janeiro.

The aquamarine bracelet was one of the later additions, presented to the Queen by the Government of Brazil in 1958. 
The Aquamarine and Diamond Bracelet
The bracelet consists of seven oblong aquamarines set in a cluster of diamonds. It was later shortened to five aquamarines to make it easier for the Queen to wear the jewel.

The brooch was, along with the bracelet, the final part of the parure: Her Majesty got it five years after the original demi-parure. It consists of a single large aquamarine set in a decorative diamond cluster. 
The Aquamarine and Diamond Brooch

To read more about this piece, have a look at this post – The Brazilian Aquamarine Brooch

I know a lot of people dislike this parure (apart from the brooch - that's a universal favourite) but I'm among the few who actually like it. It's somewhat different to Her Majesty's other more classical pieces. In a way, it's like the Burmese Ruby Tiara: you either love it or hate it. 

Photo and source credit: @ Royal Collection, @ Elizabeth II, Leslie Field’s “The Queen’s Jewels”. 

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