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Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration

Buckingham Palace

Saturday, 30 June 2012 to Sunday, 07 October 2012

Diamond, the hardest natural material known, carries associations of endurance and longevity.  These qualities, allied to the purity, magnificence and value of the stones, have for centuries led rulers to deploy diamonds in regalia, jewellery and precious objects. Individual diamonds have achieved great renown, passing down the generations and between enemies or allies as potent symbols of sovereignty and as precious gifts.

This spectacular exhibition at Buckingham Palace will show the many ways in which diamonds have been used by British monarchs over the last 200 years. The exhibition includes an unprecedented display of a number of The Queen’s personal jewels – those inherited by Her Majesty or acquired during her reign.  The exhibition will reveal how many of these extraordinary stones have undergone a number of transformations, having been re-cut or incorporated into new settings during their fascinating history.

The collection will exhibit exquisite pieces like:

The Coronation Necklace

R. & S. Garrard & Co., 1858
Diamonds, silver, gold, platinum
38.1 cm long

This magnificent necklace was made for Queen Victoria by R. & S. Garrard & Co. in 1858. It has acquired its name from having been worn at the coronations of Queen Alexandra in 1901, Queen Mary in 1911, Queen Elizabeth in 1937 and Her Majesty The Queen in 1953.

Like almost all inherited royal jewellery, it has undergone complicated changes since it was originally made. It now consists of 25 graduated cushion-cut brilliant diamonds set in silver with gold links, and a large pendant diamond of 22.48 metric carats, known as the Lahore Diamond.

The Cullinan Diamond

The celebrated Cullinan Diamond is the largest diamond ever found. Weighing 3,106 metric carats in its rough state and measuring over 10cm in length, it is notable for both its size and for its extraordinary blue-white colour and exceptional purity.

It was discovered in January, 1905 at the Premier Mine in South Africa and named after the chairman of the mining company, Thomas Cullinan. In November, 1907 it was formally presented to King Edward VII as a token of loyalty.

The gift did not include the cost of cutting the stone and it was decided that this be entrusted to the celebrated firm of I.J. Asscher of Amsterdam.

A painstaking eight months of work on the diamond began in February 1908, when it was split by Joseph Asscher, the most skilful cleaver in the firm, and then cut, ground and polished by three polishers working 14 hour days. The result was nine principal numbered stones, 96 small brilliants and nine carats of unpolished fragments.

This exhibition reunites for the first time seven of the nine principal stones cut from the Cullinan Diamond. These seven stones are set in brooches, a ring and a necklace. The remaining two stones form part of the Crown Jewels.

Table Snuff Box of Frederick the Great of Prussia

Fabrique Royale [Berlin], c.1770-75
Bloodstone, vari-coloured gold, foiled diamonds
5.1 x 10.7 x 8.5 cm

The ingenuity of the pictorial setting of the diamonds on this bloodstone snuff box contributes to its spectacularly lavish design. It is encrusted with almost three thousand diamonds, backed with delicately coloured foils in shades of pink and yellow on each of its six sides; the diamonds almost completely obscure the sumptuous cartouche-shaped bloodstone box beneath.

The stones are rose and brilliant-cut and set in a combination of silver and gold rub-over settings in designs of flowers, foliage, musical trophies, insects and ribbons. The chased mounts, in vari-coloured gold, add to the flamboyance of the box.


Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration is part of a visit to the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace in 2012.

Source: Royalcollection.org.uk


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This entry was posted on June 8, 2012 by in Jewelry and tagged , .
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