Queen Elizabeth II’s Iconic Jewelry – And Who Will Inherit Them?

Whether it was one of her dazzling diamond tiaras or the simple pearl earrings she almost always wore, Queen Elizabeth II — who died on September 8, 2022 at age 96 — always made a royal style statement when it came to her jewelry.

While some of the pieces that come to mind in the memory of the late Queen are part of the Crown Jewels, she also possessed an extraordinary private collection of gems – and her royal jewel box is worth millions.

In fact, one diamond piece – the Cullinan III and IV Brooch – is valued at a whopping £50 million (about $58 million), as diamond expert Max Stone told the Daily Express.

After her death in Balmoral Castle, many have wondered what exactly will happen to her iconic jewelry – and who will wear them next – but the answer isn’t as clear-cut as her diamonds.

“We don’t know every detail about the ownership of all royal jewels, and it’s likely we won’t get much detailed information about their legacy now,” Lauren Kiehna of The Court Jeweler told Vidak For Congress Style. “Royal wills are sealed, so we can’t look to those documents for guidance.”

However, the jewelry expert said we probably shouldn’t expect individual pieces to be given to different members of the royal family.

“I think it is very probable that the Queen followed in the footsteps of her grandmother, Queen Mary, and her mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and left all her jewelry directly to the new monarch, King Charles III.” , says Kiehna. .

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
Queen Elizabeth has always graced formal events, including her 1957 visit to Canada for the opening of Parliament in Ottawa.

“There are both historical and tax advantages to this way of inheriting,” she explains, referring to the hefty inheritance taxes that would have to be paid on the jewelry if it were donated to private individuals.

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Adding that Queen Elizabeth “often offered pieces from her collection as long-term loans” to relatives (think the Lover’s Knot Tiara often worn by Princess Diana and Kate Middleton), Kiehna says she expects King Charles III “to probably follow the same pattern.” , lending different items to different family members, but keeping them as one collection.”

Here we take a look at some of Queen Elizabeth II’s most iconic tiaras and jewelry.

The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II wore the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara at the Royal Film Performance in 1952.
Popper photo via Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite and most worn tiara was this glittering diamond piece, which she received as a wedding gift from her grandmother Queen Mary. According to The Court Jeweler, the late monarch fondly referred to the piece as “Granny’s tiara,” but the official name came from the committee of women who raised money to buy it for Princess Mary of Teck, aka Grandma, in the 1800s.

As for whether we’ll be seeing Elizabeth’s favorite tiara anytime soon, Kiehna says royal fans should expect “smaller jewels, like brooches” before the new Queen Consort, Camilla or Kate Middleton – the newly named Princess of Wales – sports “the main jewelry.”

The Vladimir Tiara

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II paired the Vladimir Tiara with a diamond necklace that belonged to Queen Victoria for a state visit to Germany in 1978.
Tim Graham Photo Library via Get

Another favorite tiara of the late Queen has an incredible history, having been smuggled out of Russia after the country’s revolution. The piece was originally owned by the Grand Duchess Vladimir and later purchased by Queen Mary, who bequeathed it to her granddaughter, Elizabeth, as she did many other of her jewels.

The tiara is also an extremely versatile piece, as it can be worn with pearl drops – as in the photo above – with emerald drops, or with just the diamond loops alone.

Queen Mary Three Strand Pearl Necklace and Button Earrings

Queen Elizabeth II
The late monarch wore her favorite pearl necklace and earrings on a visit to Scotland in June 2022.
Getty Images

When imagining Queen Elizabeth II, her iconic three-strand pearl necklace and matching stud earrings immediately come to mind, and she wore them during nearly every daytime engagement she attended.

She actually owned three extremely similar necklaces with triple strands of shiny pearls – one was a gift from her grandfather, King George V, a second was an almost identical necklace given to her by the Emir of Qatar and it is said that the late monarch was a third made for himself.

Her large pearl-eared earrings, accented with a diamond chip at the top, were part of the collection she received from her grandmother, and the late Queen wore them at almost every engagement she attended.

George IV’s Coronation Diadem

Queen Elizabeth II
The Queen wore this historically significant piece in her official coronation photos.
Popper photo via Getty Images

This beautiful crown features 1,333 diamonds and 169 pearls, according to the Royal Collection Trust, and was created for George IV’s coronation in 1820. Since then, it has been worn by every queen and queen consort, and the design incorporates symbols of the United Kingdom such as roses, clovers and thistles.

Queen Elizabeth II has worn it on numerous royal occasions over the years, such as on her coronation day and at state openings of parliament, and also wore the diadem in the portraits used for stamps and the currency of numerous Commonwealth countries.

If the tradition continues, we can expect Queen Camilla to wear the crown at her husband’s coronation.

The Cullinan III and IV Brooch

The Cullinan III and IV Brooch
The Cullinan III and IV brooch, as shown at a 2015 exhibition at Buckingham Palace.
Getty Images

This whopper of a brooch is arguably the most breathtaking piece of jewelry the Queen owned, consisting of two of the “smaller” third and fourth stones taken from the famous Cullinan diamond discovered in 1905.

The brooch — which jewelry lover Queen Mary made from the two diamonds — was eventually passed on to her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II.

According to the Royal Collection Trust, the top, square stone weighs 63.6 carats and the bottom pear-shaped diamond clocks in at a whopping 94.4 carats — and the huge brooch is considered the most expensive in the world, according to the Daily Emphasis.

The Edinburgh Wedding Bracelet

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip
Before she became queen, Princess Elizabeth showed off her wedding bracelet during a 1951 outing with Prince Philip.
Popper photo via Getty Images

One of the monarch’s most significant pieces of jewelry was the sparkling diamond bracelet Prince Philip had given her as a wedding gift. Known as the Edinburgh Wedding Bracelet, the chunky piece is made in part from Romanov diamonds that came from a dismantled tiara given to him by the prince’s mother.

Middleton is the only other person to have worn the bracelet in public; her late mother-in-law lent it to her over the years for various formal occasions, such as the BAFTAs and a state banquet.

Pearl earrings from Queen Victoria

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
The Queen wore the huge pearl drops in a 1954 portrait of Prince Philip.

Another historically significant piece of jewelry worn by Queen Elizabeth II was a pair of pearl earrings once owned by Queen Victoria. The earrings were given to the Victorian Queen by her husband, Prince Albert, and feature two diamond studs suspended with large, teardrop-shaped pearls with diamond accents at the top.

After Queen Victoria died, the earrings were passed on to be used as “heirlooms of the crown,” according to The Court Jeweler, meaning they were designated for any queen or queen consort who came forward to wear.

Queen Elizabeth II could often be seen in the precious earrings on occasions such as the opening of parliament or when attending formal banquets with world leaders – and in the future, Queen Camilla would probably wear them to similar state events.

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