A history of royal jewellery

The royal jewellery of the British Monarchy is often associated with being a collection of family heirlooms that have stayed in the monarchy for centuries, and are passed down from one generation to the next. With a deep-rooted history, the collection is made up of inherited pieces that are often loaned out by Queen Elizabeth II to various family members. These historic royal jewels have long been the inspiration of jewellers and include many pieces we find ourselves wanting to replicate in our jewellery boxes. Below are our favourite, and most famous, royal jewels that capture the essence of the history of what royal jewellery embodies. Garrard was appointed by Queen Victoria as the monarchy's Crown Jeweller in 1843, but you'll find that some of the below favourite pieces of the royals, were gifts from other countries and jewellers. 

Crowns and tiaras 

While many of us will never wear either of these items, they are ingrained in the history of the British Monarchy. George IV State Diadem was first created in 1821 for the coronation of King George IV, but Queen Elizabeth II wore the crown for her coronation in 1953. She has since worn this adornment every year for the State Opening of Parliament.

The Queen Mary Fringe Tiara boasts an all-diamond design and is historic because it marks the first time a royal bride wore a tiara, that was first worn by a different royal bride for her wedding. Queen Elizabeth II was unable to wear this tiara, which was first created for Queen Mary, her grandmother, in 1919, because it broke on her wedding day. The tiara has since been worn by Princess Anne and Prince Beatrice of York on their wedding days. The Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara is a diamond and pearl tiara created for Queen Mary in 1913 to replicate a headpiece that was owned by her grandmother. Queen Elizabeth II inherited this piece and gave the tiara to Princess Diana for her wedding to Prince Charles. After their divorce, the tiara was returned to the Queen and presently, the Duchess of Cambridge has been known to borrow the item. The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara is what Queen Elizabeth II most frequently adorns and is photographed wearing. This tiara was a wedding gift from her grandmother, who first received this as a wedding gift from the girls of Great Britain, and Ireland when she married the Duke of York in 1893. The Spencer Tiara is a historic headpiece because instead of borrowing a tiara from the Queen for her wedding day, Princess Diana wore this 1930's tiara that came from her family's collection. 

Engagement rings 

Many of us want to model our engagement rings after the royal ones we see. The Duchess of Cambridge's Engagement Ring was the same ring that Prince Charles proposed to the late Princess Diana with. Princess Diana chose the 12-carat, 14 diamond, oval sapphire ring herself and she continued to wear this after her divorce. The ring was controversial for it not being an original piece and instead of being ordered from Garrard's catalogue!

The Duchess of Sussex's Engagement Ring was made by a company outside of Garrard, Cleave & Company, and was untraditional with an ethically sourced centre stone from Botswana, where Prince Harry and the Duchess first vacationed together. Prince Harry still incorporated two diamonds from his late mother, Princess Diana's brooch, to give the ring another personal touch. 


The most recognizable brooch is "Granny's Chips" which was cut in 1905 and is made up of two diamonds amounting to 158 carats. Queen Elizabeth II inherited this from Queen Mary and wore this to her Diamond Jubilee church service. Another notable piece is the Prince Albert Broochwhich Queen Victoria received from her husband-to-be Prince Albert the day before her wedding. She wore it on her wedding day and in her will she directed that all future queens should wear it –and all four queens since have. Princess Anne even wears a copy of the brooch! A more whimsical design, the Maple Leaf Broochwas inspired to pay tribute to the Commonwealth country. Queen Elizabeth II has lent the brooch to Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duchess of Cambridge for their trips to Canada. 


The four-row pearl choker was designed to hold a fifth string of pearls in case Queen Elizabeth II ever wanted to add to the choker. She has notably lent it to Princess Diana and the Duchess of Cambridge. The Delhi Durbar Necklaceis an unusual sighting to see on Queen Elizabeth II because instead of her usual white gold settings, this is pure gold. The Brazilian Aquamarine Parure necklace was gifted to the queen in 1953 by the people and President of Brazil, made by Mappin & Webb. Typically, the Queen wears heirlooms, but this piece reflects her style. And, finally, Queen Mary's Diamond Bar Choker Bracelet was not seen after Queen Mary's death until 1975 when Queen Elizabeth II wore it for her 75th birthday portrait. Since then, the Duchess of Cambridge has had it on loan from the Queen and like many other generations, she often wears it as a bracelet instead of a necklace. You'll find many of our pieces at Cuttings Jeweller & Pawnbroker are inspired by the classic designs of the royal family's historic jewellery collection! Get in touch with us [hyperlink "get in touch with us"]to let us help you track down the jewellery piece of your dreams! 

Get in touch

Here at Cuttings, we are a family-run independent jeweller owned by the Kirkland family for over 50 years and we are here to help you with your jewellery investment. Whether you are looking to purchase a timeless gold or diamond piece, or if you are looking to get your jewellery valued with our pawnbroking team, we are here to help. We have expert knowledge and provide expert advice so please get in touch with us here.

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