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RCIN 73131
A Celebration of Platinum

Works of art in the Royal Collection that use the precious metal

Platinum and Jewellery

Platinum has been popular as the setting for high quality jewellery since the late nineteenth century, reaching a height of popularity in the mid-twentieth. Several examples of royal jewellery and regalia rely upon the metal for their structure. The largest example of platinum used as a setting for gemstones is the crown made for Queen Elizabeth, consort of King George VI, for their joint coronation in 1937 (below).

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother's Crown | RCIN 31703©

Many of the stones used in this crown were already in royal ownership, but the platinum frame in which they are set was newly made by the crown jewellers Garrard & Co. The frame holds 2,800 diamonds, a typical combination with platinum where the white metal ‘disappears’ to the eye and the stones are shown to full effect. The front cross holds the Koh-i-nûr diamond, in its own detachable platinum setting.

Queen Elizabeth’s daughter Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth II, has also acquired several examples of platinum-set diamond jewellery. On the occasion of her twenty-first birthday she was undertaking a tour of South Africa with her parents and sister, Princess Margaret. A selection of diamonds were presented to Princess Elizabeth, which was first made into a necklace and later shortened to create an additional bracelet. These pieces (below) were set by the crown jewellers Garrard & Co. in platinum.

The Queen's South Africa Necklace and Bracelet | RCINs 200152 & 200153©

During the same tour of South Africa the children of Southern Rhodesia, which later became part of Zimbabwe, presented a brooch in the form of a Flame Lily (below), the country’s national emblem. This was the brooch worn by The Queen on her return to the United Kingdom following her father’s death in February 1952 and has continued to be worn throughout The Queen’s reign.

The Queen's Flame-Lily Brooch | RCIN 250033©

At the start of her reign, Queen Elizabeth II made several significant tours and visits to Commonwealth countries. In Canada she wore a platinum-set diamond brooch first worn by her mother, in the shape of a maple leaf, the country’s national emblem. Her first visits to New Zealand and Australia during a long tour of the Commonwealth in 1953 and 1954 were marked by the presentation of two new brooches, both diamonds set in platinum. The New Zealand brooch is in the shape of a fern frond, and the Australian brooch includes wattle and mimosa, all national emblems for their respective nations. All three brooches (below) have been worn regularly by Queen Elizabeth II throughout her reign for engagements in and relating to their respective nations, and on occasion are lent to other members of the Royal Family.

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.