Queen ‘changed’ original use of Williamson Diamond so pink jewel wouldn’t ‘lose its glory’

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Queen Elizabeth’s jewellery collection features some of the world’s most eye-catching jewels; from huge, flawless diamonds to magnificent rubies, sapphires, and pearls. While earrings and necklaces normally take centre stage, the Queen is most famously known for wearing a variety of beautiful brooches. It’s thought that she owns over 98 incredible brooches which are not only extremely high value but also have special meanings behind them. Express.co.uk spoke to Steven Stone jewellers who took a closer look at 25 of the most iconic brooches from her collection, including the Williamson Diamond brooch. 

Leading diamond expert Maxwell Stone said: “Queen Elizabeth has some of the most incredible jewels I’ve ever seen. 

“Whilst it’s difficult to put a price on them, as they come with so much history and legacy, after analysing 25 of her most iconic brooches, I’d estimate them to be collectively worth over £90million. 

“The biggest and most expensive of all Queen Elizabeth’s brooches is the Cullinan III and IV brooch. 

“This is because it features two large stones cut from the Cullinan diamond – the world’s largest diamond ever found. 

“This one brooch alone is worth £50million.”

The second most expensive brooch is the Williamson diamond brooch. 

The jewellers put a price tag of £25million on it. 

It features one of the rarest flawless pink diamonds in the world. 

Mined in Tanzania at the Williamson mine by Canadian geologist, John Thoburn Williamson, the uncut 54.5 carat pink diamond was given to Princess Elizabeth as a wedding gift.

In 1953, the rough gem was cut and polished to a weight of 23.6 carats. 

It was used to feature in this platinum brooch by Cartier alongside another 203 white diamonds, including brilliants, marquises, and baguettes.

And while the brooch is a beautiful piece, the pink jewel at its centre wasn’t always destined to be a lapel pin. 

Newspapers reported in October 1949 the royal was having trouble deciding how the diamond should be used: “At first the Princess thought it might be fitted into her personal crown, but experts considered it might lose its glory among so many other jewels.” 

Some suggested it would look best as a pendant on a necklace. 

As for where the Williamson Diamond brooch has been worn, most notably, her Majesty chose it for the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles to Princess Diana. 

And, in 1999, she chose it for the wedding of her youngest son, the Earl of Wessex, and Sophie Rhys-Jones.

The third most expensive brooch is the Prince Albert brooch and it’s worth £8million. 

This brooch dates back to the 1800s. 

The jewellers explained: “In 1840, Prince Albert secretly commissioned Garrard to make a sapphire and diamond brooch for his bride to be, Queen Victoria. 

“He gave her the brooch on the night of their wedding, and was so adored by Victoria, that she wore it frequently.” 

Max added: “The ring contains a large oval or cushion-shaped sapphire, which is at least 40cts. 

“The breath-taking gem is also surrounded by 12 large diamonds, which look to be around 12cts.”

“Due to the clarity and intense colour of the sapphire, it was possible sourced from Burma. If it was to be sold today, it would be worth around £8million thanks to its historic legacy.”

After being passed down to Queen Elizabeth II, it became a staple accessory, featuring in many of her most iconic outfits.

Not only that but the brooch is said to have inspired the design for Kate Middleton’s engagement ring, which was originally given to Princess Diana by Prince Charles.

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