Day Five features the most modern stones in Queen Elizabeth IIs collection. Like many an innocent lapel pin before it, this oblong aquamarine garnished with the almost obligatory diamonds is not a solo piece. Like the Cambridge/Delhi Durbar Emeralds, there’s an entire parure-cum-back story for the Brazilian Aquamarine broach as well.
Firstly, the cut is so impossibly flawless and squared that (1) a person could image serving dinner off it and (2) the aquamarine’s superb facets cause particular reflections making it completely unphotogenic. Searches for pictures turned up the same as my own, the depth of the clarity and brilliance can make a photo of the Brazilian Aquamarine brooch look almost pixelated.
In 1958, the Brazilian Government gave the brooch and this matching bracelet to the Queen as compliments to her 1953 Coronation gifts, rounding out the parure, so to speak.
I think it’s a sweet gesture, really. “We gave her a garland necklace the size of a Christmas wreath and a tiara five years ago…can’t leave a girl without the matching brooch and arm-candy!” Those brasileiros so fashion conscious!
When I said that these pieces represented the most modern jewels in her collection, I wasn’t kidding! That’s the entire history of the Brazilian Aquamarine Brooch and Bracelet. No Empress Josephine giving it to Josephine 2, future Queen of Sweden and Norway, no deconstruction and reassignment of stones…just an outrageously flamboyant and expensive set of gift given from one country to another in five-year’s diplomacy.
Her Coronation gifts, the grand lavalliere, whose ten perfectly matched stones took a year to find and matching drop earrings kicked off the aquamarine theme and inspired her majesty to commission a matching tiara, which has evolved over the years, like so many of it’s circlet sisters.
Above we see the original tiara in 1957, the young queen sporting it with the earrings and necklace. Now, depending on which website you visit, the Brazilian Aquamarine Tiara came to it’s final form by combining it with a second, smaller aquamarine tiara, a gift from the governor of São Paulo in 1968. (See below.)
For desambiguation purposes, we can call this one the the tiara pequeno (literally “little tiara” in Portuguese) or even more fun the “ tiarinha.” (I love the Portuguese diminutives…the Ronaldinho of tiaras. Sure. Why not? Are we off the deep end yet?) Strangely, other websites have used this same picture as illustration for the original 1957 tiara made by Garrads & Co. This, of course, makes little sense upon closer inspection.
First, the Queen is clearly older in the Tiarinha photo…golly, I’d say eleven years or so? Second, a look at the final product, the 1971 “merger” of both the 1957 and ’68 tiaras, below, clearly shows the use of both sets of stones. It features both the staunch geometry of the oblong stones seen in the original Garrads tiara and the smaller rounded rocks found in the tiarinha gift.
Still not following my logic? That large center stone was not only original on the first 1957 tiara, it was the center drop pendant on the 1953 coronation necklace from the Brazilian people. Elizabeth had the necklace converted to be worn with or without the drop pendant, perhaps should the need arise to pop it into a tiara I suppose.
Well, look at that, kids! A mere entry for Attack of the Brooches theme week turned into a bonus Tiara Time! Everybody loves a two-fer and if you’ll pardon my mixing sports metaphors like a Cusinart it turned into a triple-double as the bonus Tiara Time gave us three tiaras to ogle instead of the standard one.
Was this a subliminal need to get as far away from brooches as possible? Perhaps. (Don’t fret! Still two more days left, don’t you all cry out in despair at once now!)
I dunno dear readership, which of the three do you prefer? Personally, I’d take the Tiarinha, not for the least of reasons ‘cos it is fun to say.