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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

Queen Victoria's diamond fringe brooch

Updated: Jan 1

In October 1856 Queen Victoria commissioned the royal jeweller Garrad to remodel The diamond fringe brooch, originally made up of diamonds which once belonged to a much larger corsage. The brooch features diamonds presented to Queen Victoria by Sultan Abdul Mejid I of Turkey for Britain's support during the Crimean war. Victoria wrote in her diary the diamonds were 'very magnificent' noting that she could wear one 'as a very large brooch, & the other will have to be reset' Victoria first commissioned a chaine de corsage attached to both sides of the main brooch. in 1859 Queen Victoria wore this magnificent piece for her new official portrait by Franz Winterhalter

Queen Victoria in her Robes Of State wearing the chaine de corsage ( Franz Winterhalter 1859) Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2023

After Prince Alberts death in 1861, the grieving widow deemed the brooch to be too flamboyant to wear with her mourning attire. Victoria had the chaine de corsage partially dismantled with the fringes of either side of the large diamond removed thus leaving it as the much smaller brooch we see today. The diamonds dismantled from the chain de corsage were most likely used to create a substantial amount of her widowhood jewellery including her well known small diamond crown she wore upon her widows cap.

As this was a personal jewel and not left as a heirloom, the brooch was handed down to Queen Victoria's son Edward VII. Queen Alexandra wore the brooch on many occasions until her death in 1925. Queen Mary inherited the brooch from Alexandra and in 1936 she handed this brooch down with various of her other jewels to Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother. She wore it often in various portraits, photographs and even to her daughters coronation. Upon her death in 2002, Queen Elizabeth II inherited the piece.

Queen Victoria wearing the fringe brooch on her Diamond Jubilee 1897 Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2023

The larger diamonds set into this brooch probably include some presented to Queen Victoria by the Sultan of Turkey in 1856. Nine chains pave-set with brilliant-cut diamonds are suspended from the lower part of the brooch. The Queen inherited this brooch from Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 2002.

Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2023

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