As Day Two of Attack of the Brooches week nears an end, We are relieved to learn that some pieces in HRM’s jewellery box do not come with a lengthy back story which mandate abridgement, resulting in my inevitable convenant for a coda, pledge for a postlude. When I decided to write about jewellery, I didn’t anticipate such a deluge of information.
So let us give thanks for the Williamson Diamond Brooch and its relatively short history. Let’s get a close-up of this beauty, shall we? Oh that center stone!
Perplexing though it may seem, the brooch is named for its center-stone! The Williamson Diamond, 23.6-carats and a cotton candy shade of pink was found in Tanganyika (Tanzania) in 1947. This blushing brilliant was originally 54.5 carats (10.9 grams) when pulled from the ground uncut and was named for (brace yourself) Dr. John Williamson, the Canadian geologist who owned the mine. Dr. Williamson gave the rough stone to Princess Elizabeth for her wedding to Prince Phillip in November of the same year.
In 1948, diamond-cutters Briefel and Lemer of London crafted the round, brilliant-cut stone we see above and Cartier was commissioned to create a setting for the largest of the final cuts, now weighing 4.7 grams.
What we see above is the 1952 masterwork of Frederick Mew, round white diamonds form the petals while white baguettes form the stem.
It’s been called the “most spectacular pink diamond ever” but in order to make a fair assessment, a side-by-side comparison with the Noor-ol-Ain and its mega-brooch brother, the 182-carat Darya-i-Noor.
Similarly, both the Darya-i-Noor and the Williamson Diamond have been cited as the inspiration for the 1962 movie The Pink Panther.
- Largest pink diamond ever discovered goes on display (mining.com)
- The Brooch Queen Elizabeth Wore At London Olympics Opening Ceremony (forbes.com)
- Airport sells off Duchess’s lost diamond tiara (telegraph.co.uk)
- Scottish News: Airport flogged Duchess’s £100,000 jewels for next to nothing (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- Attack of the Brooches! Day Four gets Floral (tiarasandtrianon.wordpress.com)
- Attack of the Brooches! the Cullinan V Heart (tiarasandtrianon.wordpress.com)