Mobile menu
R & S Garrard & Co : Haymarket, London

The Coronation necklace 1858 - 1911

RCIN 100003

Your share link is...


Jewellery, diamonds in particular, played a central part in Queen Victoria’s conception of what a monarch, especially a female monarch, should wear on public and state occasions to uphold the dignity and splendour of the Crown. Diamonds conveyed the appropriate sense of magnificence, but her jewellery also needed to be of the appropriate scale to suit her unusually small stature (she was slightly under 5ft tall). With these considerations in mind, much of her inherited jewellery was remade in the early years of the reign under the direction and supervision of Prince Albert, in whose judgement and taste she had absolute trust. Winterhalter’s portrait of the Queen in 1856 shows some of her most splendid diamonds: the Regal Circlet (remade for her by Garrards in 1853 with some of her grandmother Queen Charlotte’s diamonds); the re-cut Koh-i-nûr, set as a brooch; and Queen Charlotte’s diamond rivière necklace. A year later, to the Queen’s very great dismay, the commission investigating the claim of the King of Hanover to Queen Charlotte’s jewels ruled against her; and in 1858 a substantial portion of her jewellery (including the Circlet and the Oriental Tiara) had to be dismantled so that all the Hanoverian stones capable of identification could be returned. For this extensive work, which included the supply of a considerable number of additional stones, Garrards charged £8,851 1s. The replacement for Queen Charlotte’s necklace was made at a cost of £65, using twenty-eight stones (three of which were subsequently removed) taken from two of the Queen’s Garter badges and a sword hilt. At the same time, the central pendant of the Timur Ruby Necklace, known as the Lahore Diamond, was made detachable so that it could be used on the new necklace; and the two side drops from the Timur Necklace (originally the side stones in the Indian setting of the Koh-i-nûr) were made into a pair of earrings at a cost of £23 10s. In 1859 Winterhalter painted the Queen in Robes of State wearing the new necklace and earrings; these were among the relatively small number of jewels the Queen allowed herself to wear in her long widowhood. The ‘Coronation’ sobriquet derives from the wearing of the necklace at the 1902, 1911, 1937 and 1953 coronations. Text adapted from Victoria & Albert: Art & Love, London, 2010