In honor of my inglorious return from the East (aka visiting my parents in New York) let’s have a theme week and–yes–name it Attack of Brooches! The inspiration? Old issues of People magazine my mom hasn’t recycled yet. (Mom only bought People when Princess Di or the Duchesss of York graced the cover. *Exhale nostalgia here*) I found one of those collector’s jobs chock full of glossies. Although I wasn’t blogging, I was scanning and cropping for you, my beloved readership!
We’re going to kick Attack of the Brooches week off with the Cullinan V Heart. I was naturally inspired by whatever supernova radiated from her Majesty’s lapel during the opening ceremonies. (Be it the lighting, production value, whatever, I failed to discern which crown jewel it was. I’m sure five dozen other bloggers pin-pointed it so why pretend and reiterate? We’re not that kind of blog.) I do know this broach is one of the Queen’s favorites; she’s worn it quite a bit over the years.
Yes, the Windsor family has so many diamonds that they find themselves obliged to number their Cullinans. The name Cullinan V refers to the 18.8 carat dazzler at the brooch’s center. The only other information mom’s People divulged was the year 1911 in parenthesis. Alas, I set to sift through the Internet to find the truth about diamonds. (God forgive me for that reference as I can’t forgive myself.)
The brooch was set for Queen Mary in 1910. Set into platinum the brooch was also designed as the detachable center stone for a spectacular diamond-and-emerald stomacher Queen Mary donned for the Delhi Durbar in 1911.
Later Mary used this as a replacement stone in her famous crown upon gifting the Koh-i-Noor to her daughter Queen Elizabeth (aka the Queen Mum) for the 1937 Coronation. As we know from before the Koh-i-Noor was set into Elizabeth’s coronation crown.
We’re discussing the fifth largest stone out of the nine that originally made up the largest gem-quality diamond ever found: near flawless, 3,106 carats (1 1/3 lbs.!) Unearthed in 1905 in the Premier Mine in the British Colony of Transvaal (South Africa) the largest diamond in history was named after the mine’s founder & owner Sir Thomas Cullinan. (Isn’t that always the way? History fails to remember the exhausted soul who heaved it from the dirt. Yet somehow we know supervisor on duty was Frederik Wells.) Two years later the Transvaal Colonial government gave the record-breaking stone to Edward VII in honor of his 66th birthday.
Fun Fact: Rather than wrapping paper, this behemoth of bling was hidden in a teapot; the well-publicized gift transported in the public eye was a decoy. The size of teapot required, much like the name of the man who found the hefty Cullinan, is not mentioned.
I’d like to know where the Teapot of Transport is today.