When Queen Elizabeth II was coronated in 1953, the president and people of Brazil presented her with a necklace and matching pendant earrings that glistened with aquamarines and diamonds.
The Queen was so enamored of the gifts that the parure soon grew to include a bracelet, brooch and tiara. Today, the Queen’s aquamarine jewelry is the world’s most famous ensemble featuring March’s official birthstone.
Legend states that it took the Brazilians one full year to collect the nine perfectly matched square-cut aquamarines and larger aquamarine drop pendant that made up the platinum necklace gifted to the Queen in 1953.
Her Majesty loved the gift so much that she commissioned the royal jeweler Garrard to create a matching tiara in 1957. The tiara’s three large aquamarines were each detachable and could double as brooches. The large central stone of the tiara was originally the pendant that dangled from the necklace gift of 1953.
One year later, the Brazilian government further delighted the British monarch with an add-on gift that included a lavish bracelet featuring seven large aquamarines set in a cluster of diamonds, and a square aquamarine brooch accented with diamonds.
The tiara underwent a transformation in 1971 when it was redesigned to include four aquamarine-adorned scroll ornaments that were given to the Queen by the Governor of São Paulo in 1968.
According to a web site that reports on the Queen’s style, Elizabeth II has worn the aquamarine parure — both the full ensemble and elements of it — “quite often.”
In September, Elizabeth II will become the longest reigning monarch in British history, surpassing the record held by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.
Images: Royal Collection