Nothing says royalty like famous, priceless jewels. The British royal family has been amassing jewels, precious stones and diamonds for centuries, literally. They have had crowns made, tiaras, necklaces, rings, brooches, bracelets, scepters, orbs, and those jewels are becoming more and more valuable through the generations of royal figures who have worn them.
Here are 15 of the most decadent, beautiful, sparkly jewels of the British monarchy.
1. Reinventing the brooch
For her wedding, Meghan Markle was able to visit Queen Elizabeth II’s vault of tiaras, in which she took this amazing tiara. The tiara originally belonged to Queen Mary, who had it made from a brooch given to her in 1893.
2. The (too) small coronation ring
This ring from 1838, with its rubies, sapphire and gold, was made for Queen Victoria’s coronation. Apparently, the jewelry makers thought it was for her little finger, when in fact it was for her ring finger. The Archbishop had to force it on her finger during the coronation ceremony, and word has it that the Queen had to soak her hand in ice water to remove it.
3. O Canada
King George VI bought this maple leaf-shaped brooch when he first visited Canada in 1939. In fact, it was a gift for his wife, Queen Elizabeth mother, who then bequeathed it to her daughter Queen Elizabeth II. To this day it’s one of the most popular jewels in the Queen’s collection, being often borrowed by the duchesses of Cornwall and of Cambridge.
4. The Lover’s Knot Tiara
Princess Diana loved this tiara, which was originally given to Queen Mary in 1914. It was lent to the princess on her wedding day, only to be returned when she obtained a divorce from Prince Charles.
5. The most well-known diadem
If this diadem seems familiar, it’s probably because Queen Elizabeth II is seen wearing it on many portraits and also on coins and bills across the world. This diadem was made for King George IV, although it is now only worn by queens.
6. The Aquamarine Tiara
Queen Elizabeth had this tiara made to match earrings and a necklace she received from Brazil for her coronation. Through the years, she kept adding more stones to it, as Brazil kept sending them.
7. The Most Impressive Crown
The Imperial State Crown was made for the coronation of George VI in 1937 and ‘only’ has 2,868 diamonds, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 269 pearls. Queen Elizabeth II is the last person to have worn the crown in 1953.
8. Magnificent emeralds
Yet again another jewel from Queen Mary, the Greville Kokoshnik tiara hadn’t been worn in almost a century until princess Eugenie borrowed it for her wedding day. Made in 1919, this tiara is in the kokoshnik style, which was popular in the Russian Imperial Court.
9. Wedding gift
This beautiful brooch was given to Queen Victoria on her wedding day by her fiancé, Prince Albert, and became one of her favorites. Nowadays, Queen Elizabeth II wears it frequently.
10. Meghan Markle’s Special Engagement Ring
Prince Harry himself designed this engagement ring for the love of his life, Meghan Markle. The diamond side stones were Harry’s mother, Princess Diana. Very special, therefore!
11. Duchess Catherine’s Wedding Tiara
When Kate Middleton married Prince William in 2011, she wore the Scroll Diamond tiara, this very fairy-tale like tiara. It was made in 1936 and gifted to Queen Elizabeth mother by her spouse, King George VI.
12. Decadent Orbs
In addition to being really old (the Sovereign’s Orb, on the left, dates back to 1661), these orbs are also extremely valuable. Made from solid gold and precious stones, they have been used during coronation ceremonies ever since Charles II started this tradition in the 17th century. The Sovereign’s Orb has more than 600 precious stones and pearls!
13. The Necklace That Became a Bracelet
This bracelet was first a necklace given to Queen Mary. Kate Middleton is the first person to wear it as a bracelet, and the effect is gorgeous.
14. The Royale Honeycomb
This honeycomb looking tiara was one of Queen Elizabeth mother’s favorite. Nowadays, the Duchess of Cornwall particularly loves it.
15. A Fabulous Birthday
This tiara was created in the early 20th century and was given to Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday. If you think it was much, just wait! Matching earrings, brooches, and a necklace were also part of the gift.