June 29, 2012

Queen's 10,000 diamonds on display at Buckingham Palace

More than 10,000 diamonds set in works worn by British monarchs for over 250 years will go on show at London's Buckingham Palace this summer to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee.

More than 10,000 diamonds owned by six British monarchs will go on display at Buckingham Palace on Saturday to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

The special exhibition, Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration, will include a number of the Queen's personal jewels and pieces from the Royal Collection.

Some of the items included will be shown in public for the first time.

The exhibition forms part of the summer opening of the palace and runs until 8 July and from 31 July to 7 October.

Many of the jewels being put on show have been used and worn on state occasions by different British monarchs over the last three centuries.

The collection includes pieces made from the Cullinan Diamond - the world's largest - which weighed 3,106 carats as an uncut stone.

Jewellery containing seven of the nine principal stones cut from the diamond are reunited for the first time.

They include the Cullinan III and IV Brooch, worn by the Queen at the National Service of Thanksgiving for her 60 year reign, at St Paul's Cathedral, in June.

Several of the jewels on display have not been exhibited to the public before, such as the Delhi Durbar Tiara and the Kokoshnik Tiara.

Jewellery commissioned by Queen Victoria - the only other monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee - will also be on show during the exhibition, including her coronation necklace.

The necklace was also worn by Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and Queen Elizabeth II at their coronations.

Several gems cut from the huge Cullinan diamond will be on show
State occasion

The collection includes a number of other pieces used by British monarchs for state and ceremonial occasions, including the Diamond Diadem - a type of crown - made for the coronation of George IV in 1821.
The diadem has been worn by the current Queen to and from the State Opening of Parliament since the start of her reign, and appears on stamps and certain banknotes and coinage.

Exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut poses with the Cullinan III and IV brooch at the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace, London May 15, 2012.
Jewels marking important events in the Queen's life will also be displayed, including the South Africa Necklace presented to the then Princess Elizabeth on her 21st birthday in 1947.

The exhibition's curator Caroline de Guitaut said: "Over the past three centuries monarchs have used diamonds to display magnificence, whether in personal adornment or as a statement of power.

"Each piece demonstrates breathtaking workmanship and extraordinary ingenuity in design."

Exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut poses with the Cullinan VII necklace at the Queen's Gallery in Buckingham Palace, London May 15, 2012. 

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