Saturday, 13 October 2012

Turquoise Parures of Queen Mary

 The Turquoise Parures of Queen Mary
Queen Mary wearing the original tiara

There were two turquoise parures assembled by Queen Mary; one was worn by Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon and the other was given to the late Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester.[1]



The Gloucester Parure

Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester
The Queen Mary turquoise parure was given to the young Princess Mary of Teck (Queen Mary) by her parents the Duke and Duchess of Teck when she became engaged to the future George V in 1893. The parure, later given to the Duchess of Gloucester, consisted of three 1850 turquoise brooches, a tiara, a necklace, and earrings.[1] Over the years another drop necklace was added and the Teck earrings worn as detachable pendant drops on the oval cluster earrings.[1]

The three brooches had been a gift to Mary's mother, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, upon her confirmation in December 1850.[1] Princess Mary of Cambridge wore the two brooches as part of a headdress and the corsage brooch pined to her bodice when she attended her first debutante at Buckingham Palace.[1]

The collection known as the “Gloucester Jewels” is mainly the collection of jewels given to Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester upon her marriage to Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, son of King George V and Queen Mary, in August 1935.[1] During the beginning of the 20th century turquoise was a very fashionable stone and Queen Mary was aware of the Duchess's fondness of them. The turquoise parure from Queen Mary consists of the tiara, a long chained necklace of twenty-six turquoise and diamond oval clusters, matching cluster earrings and ring, two bow brooches, a bow-shaped corsage brooch with a tassel, a bangle bracelet, and two four row turquoise bead bracelets.[1]

Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester
The tiara of turquoise and diamonds was arranged in rococo scrolls and a sunburst. The centre of the tiara contains the largest turquoise in the piece surrounds by a “burst” of diamonds and turquoise pear shaped stones, quite similar to the famous Persian tiaras of Empress Farah of Iran. Apparently Queen Mary found the composition too high, and it was lowered by E. Wolff & Co. in August 1912.

On 29 October 2004, after the death of Princess Alice, the collection was passed to the current Duchess of Gloucester, wife of Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Her Grace has worn every parure known to have been given to her late mother-in-law Princess Alice.



The Princess Margaret Parure

Princess Margaret wearing her turquoise parure
As a baby, Princess Margaret was given a string of turquoise and pearl beads.[1] In August 1951, upon her 21st birthday, Princess Margaret was given the antique parure of Persian turquoises set in diamonds.[1]

The parure had been given to her mother upon her marriage in 1923 to the Duke of York, later George VI.[1] This parure consisted of a long necklace with a number of graduated pendant drops, matching pendant earrings, hair ornaments, a large square brooch, and a high oval tiara.[1] A bow brooch and ring were added to the set.[1]

Bow brooch most likely added after; © Christie’s 2012

The string of turquoise and pearl beads given to Margaret at birth were eventually given to her daughter, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones.[1]

  1. Leslie Field. ''The Queen's Jewels,'' Henry N. Abrams, Times Mirror Books, 1987. pg 158.


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