Wise women have always been excited about pearls because of their unique ability to light up the skin of the women who is wearing them. They may not reflect her or her partner’s wealth in the way that a fistful of diamonds and an ingot of gold will, but those don’t actually do anything for the wearer. In fact they wear the wearer.
Her Majesty The Queen knows this, which is why she is nearly always to be seen with the same pearls: the triple strand she was given in 1935 by her grandfather, King George V, to celebrate his Silver Jubilee. She was wearing this necklace when she recently addressed both Houses of Parliament on 20th March to mark her Diamond Jubilee.
This necklace is clearly her default day time necklace. While this clearly is a very special piece for her she has the pick of what is probably the finest collection of jewellery in the world but she goes back to these seemingly modest white rounds. It seems that while this is the favourite necklace there are three triple strand necklaces.
The second necklace was a Coronation gift from the Emir of Qatar. This necklace can be spotted because the three strands sit separately.
And finally, a necklace made shortly after she came to the throne from family pearls. Oddly, this necklace has two strands which sit snugly and then the shorter top one one sits away from the others so seems to get itself caught in necklines or simply looking disheveled. It seems to need another pearl in the inner strand. (NB: I am happy to do this, Ma’am.)
Her Majesty also has two single strand natural (wild) pearl necklaces which she wears regularly – sometimes both at once. The Queen Anne necklace was reputedly owned by Queen Anne who was the last monarch of the Stuart dynasty. It was given to her by Prince George and was among her finest jewels.
Queen Caroline had at least four fine pearl necklaces and picked the best 50 pearls to make one longer necklace. Both were given to the then Princess Elizabeth by her father when she married Prince Phillip in 1947.
I have to wonder what other pearl delights are hiding away in the Royal Family vaults – millions of pounds worth of natural pearls… possibly some even owned by the first Elizabeth who rivalled our own Queen as a lover of pearls.