The Personal Jewel Collection of Elizabeth II - The Gloucester Turquoise Parure

The Gloucester Turquoise Parure

The Queen Mary turquoise parure was given to the young Princess Mary of Teck (Queen Mary) by her parents the Duke and Duchess of Teck when she became engaged to the future George V in 1893. The parure, later given to the Duchess of Gloucester, consisted of three 1850 turquoise brooches, a tiara, a necklace, and earrings. Over the years another drop necklace was added and the Teck earrings worn as detachable pendant drops on the oval cluster earrings.

The three brooches had been a gift to Mary's mother, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, upon her confirmation in December 1850. Princess Mary of Cambridge wore the two brooches as part of a headdress and the corsage brooch pined to her bodice when she attended her first debutante at Buckingham Palace.

The collection known as the “Gloucester Jewels” is mainly the collection of jewels given to Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester upon her marriage to Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, son of King George V and Queen Mary, in 1935. During the beginning of the 20th century turquoise was a very fashionable stone and Queen Mary was aware of the Duchess's fondness of them. The turquoise parure from Queen Mary consists of the tiara, a long chained necklace of twenty-six turquoise and diamond oval clusters, matching cluster earrings and ring, two bow brooches, a bow-shaped corsage brooch with a tassel, a bangle bracelet, and two four row turquoise bead bracelets.

The tiara of turquoise and diamonds was arranged in rococo scrolls and a sunburst. The centre of the tiara contains the largest turquoise in the piece surrounded by a “burst” of diamonds and turquoise pear shaped stones, quite similar to the famous Persian tiaras of Empress Farah of Iran. Apparently Queen Mary found the composition too high, and it was lowered by E. Wolff & Co. in August 1912.

On 29 October 2004, after the death of Princess Alice, the collection was passed to the current Duchess of Gloucester, wife of Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Her Royal Highness has worn every piece in the parure known to have been given to her late mother-in-law Princess Alice.

Not much is known about other pieces given to the Duchess of Gloucester; most likely they are pieces commissioned by her husband:

  • a diamond and turquoise and gold bangle
  • two alternate diamond and turquoise collets

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