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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Regina

Queen Victoria’s Turkish diamond suite

The Turkish diamond set is immortalised in Queen Victoria’s wedding portrait © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

In 1838, Queen Victoria received a generous quantity of diamonds from Sultan II of Turkey on the occasion of her Coronation. Victoria commissioned Rundell and Bridge to create a new suite out of these diamonds.


Rundell and Bridge created a beautiful necklace with matching earrings in the design of rosette motifs. The necklace features three diamond rosettes which are connected by three strands of diamonds which migrate into two strands. The clasp itself featured a massive diamond in a frame of smaller stones. The earrings both featured two small rosettes connected to each other with three rows of diamonds.


When Victoria married Prince Albert in February 1840 she wore the Turkish necklace and earrings with her new sapphire brooch which Albert had given her the night before her wedding. Victoria was fond of this set and chose to wear pieces from the Turkish suite for other sentimental family occasions. Such as wearing them at the christenings and weddings of her children. She often paired the necklace with court attire, as seen in this image of Queen Victoria in court dress 1854


Queen Victoria in court dress 1854 © Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

The Turkish diamond suite features in various portraits and photographs through the early and mid part of her reign. Victoria often favoured this necklace for official occasions and portraits, she also wore it for her offical portrait in Garter robes by Franz Winterhalter and a beautiful painting by John Phillip of the marriage of Victoria Princess Royal in 1858.


© Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

After Prince Albert’s death, Victoria retired many of her elaborate pieces of jewelry, it is often said she stopped wearing the Turkish suite once Albert died but there is depictions of her wearing it in 1885 -


© Royal Collection Trust / HM King Charles III

Upon her death Queen Victoria left the necklace to her third and favourite son, the Duke of Connaught. The set was worn by his wife, the Duchess of Connaught, who wore them at the Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia in 1896, the Coronation of Edward VII in 1902 and the Coronation of George V in 1911. After the Duchess died in 1917, the jewels were inherited by her only son, Prince Arthur of Connaught although his wife Alexandra Duchess of Fife was never pictured wearing the suite.


Duchess Louise Margaret of Connaught wearing the necklace in 1911 at the Coronation of King George V © 2024 Getty Images.

They suite was later inherited by the 3rd Duke of Fife in 1959 but they were auctioned off as part of the “collection of His Grace The Duke of Fife” in July of 1970 at Sotheby's. The magnificent necklace was sold for £23,000 (between £350,000 and £450,000 in today’s money). Its current owner and whereabouts are unknown.


A replica set of this suite © Juliette Designs 2024

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