Whether it was one of her dazzling diamond tiaras or the simple pearl earrings she was almost always seen wearing, Queen Elizabeth II – who died at the age of 96 on September 8, 2022 – always made a regal style statement when it came to her jewelry .
While some of the pieces that come to mind when remembering the late Queen are part of the Crown Jewels, she also owned an extraordinary private collection of gems – and her royal jewelry box is worth millions.
In fact, one diamond piece – the Cullinan III and IV Brooch – is estimated at a whopping £ 50 million (approximately $ 58 million), as diamond expert Max Stone told the Daily Express.
Following her death at Balmoral Castle, many have wondered exactly what will happen to her iconic jewels – and who will wear them next – but the answer isn’t exactly as clear-cut as her diamonds.
“We don’t know every detail about the ownership of all of the royal jewels, and it’s likely that we won’t be privy to much detailed information about their inheritance now,” Lauren Kiehna of The Court Jeweler tells Page Six Style. “Royal wills are sealed, so we can’t look to those documents for guidance.”
However, the jewelry expert said we probably shouldn’t expect to see individual pieces given to various members of the royal family.
“I think it’s very likely that the Queen has followed in the footsteps of her grandmother, Queen Mary, and her mother, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and bequeathed all of her jewelry directly to the new monarch, King Charles III,” Kiehna says .
“There are both historical and taxation-related benefits to this method of inheritance,” she explains, referencing the hefty inheritance tax that would need to be paid on the jewels if they were gifted to individuals.
Read Page Six’s up-to-the-minute coverage of Queen Elizabeth’s passing:
Adding that Queen Elizabeth “often offered pieces from her collection as long-term loans” to family members (think the Lover’s Knot Tiara often sported by Princess Diana and Kate Middleton), Kiehna says she anticipates King Charles III “will likely follow the same pattern , loaning out various items to different family members but retaining them as a single collection. “
Here, we take a look at some of Queen Elizabeth II’s most iconic tiaras and jewels.
The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara
Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite and most-worn tiara was this glittering diamond piece, which she received from her grandmother Queen Mary as a wedding gift. According to The Court Jeweler, the late monarch fondly referred to the piece as “Granny’s tiara,” but its official name came from the committee of women who raised money to buy it for Princess Mary of Teck, aka Granny, in the 1800s.
As for whether we’ll see Elizabeth’s favorite tiara anytime soon, Kiehna says royal fans should expect to see “smaller jewels, like brooches” before the new Queen Consort, Camilla, or Kate Middleton – the newly named Princess of Wales – sports “the most significant pieces of jewelry. ”
The Vladimir Tiara
Another of the late Queen’s favorite tiaras has an incredible history, having been smuggled out of Russia following the country’s revolution. The piece was originally owned by the Grand Duchess Vladimir and later purchased by Queen Mary, who left it to her granddaughter di lei, Elizabeth, as she did with many other of her jewels di lei.
The tiara is also an extremely versatile piece, as it can be worn with pearl drops – as in the above photo – with emerald drops, or on its own with just the diamond loops.
Three-Strand Pearl Necklace and Queen Mary’s Button Earrings
When picturing Queen Elizabeth II, her iconic triple-strand pearl necklace and matching stud earrings immediately come to mind, and she was seen wearing them during almost every daytime engagement she attended.
She actually owned three extremely similar necklaces featuring triple strands of gleaming pearls – one was a gift from her grandfather, King George V, a second was an almost-identical necklace given to her by the Emir of Qatar and it’s said the late monarch had a third created for herself.
Her large pearl stud earrings, accented with a diamond chip at the top, were part of the collection she received from her grandmother, and the late Queen wore them on almost every engagement she attended.
The George IV Coronation Diadem
This stunning crown features 1,333 diamonds and 169 pearls, according to the Royal Collection Trust, and was made for the coronation of George IV in 1820. Since then, it’s been sported by every queen and queen consort, and the design features symbols of the United Kingdom such as roses, shamrocks and thistles.
Queen Elizabeth II has worn it on numerous royal occasions over the years, such as on her coronation day and at state openings of Parliament, and also wore the diadem in the portraits used for stamps and the currency of numerous Commonwealth countries.
If tradition continues, we should expect to see Queen Camilla wear the crown at her husband’s coronation.
The Cullinan III and IV Brooch
This whopper of a brooch is perhaps the most jaw-dropping piece of jewelry the Queen owned, comprised of two of the “smaller” third and fourth stones that were taken from the famous Cullinan Diamond that was discovered in 1905.
The brooch – which jewelry lover Queen Mary had made out of the two diamonds – was eventually passed down to her granddaughter Queen Elizabeth II.
According to the Royal Collection Trust, the top, square-shaped stone weighs 63.6 carats and the bottom pear-shaped diamond clocks in at a massive 94.4 carats – and the enormous brooch is thought to be the most expensive in the world, per the Daily Express.
The Edinburgh Wedding Bracelet
One of the monarch’s most meaningful pieces of jewelry was the sparkling diamond bracelet given to her by Prince Philip as a wedding gift. Known as the Edinburgh Wedding Bracelet, the chunky piece was made partly from Romanov diamonds that were taken from a dismantled tiara the prince’s mother gave to him.
Middleton is the only other person who has worn the bracelet in public; her late grandmother-in-law di lei loaned it to her for several formal occasions over the years, such as the BAFTAs and a state banquet.
Queen Victoria’s Pearl Drop Earrings
Another historically significant piece of jewelry worn by Queen Elizabeth II was a pair of pearl earrings once owned by Queen Victoria. The earrings were given to the Victorian queen by her husband di lei, Prince Albert, and feature two diamond studs suspended with large, teardrop-shaped pearls with diamond accents at the top.
After Queen Victoria died, the earrings were passed down to be used as “heirlooms of the crown,” according to The Court Jeweler, meaning they were designated for each queen or queen consort moving forward to wear.
Queen Elizabeth II often was seen in the precious earrings on occasions such as the state opening of Parliament or when attending formal banquets with world leaders – and moving forward, Queen Camilla would likely wear them for similar state events.