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April 10, 2016 2:45 pm  #1

TBF-QM-83 The Cambridge Sapphire Parure

83. The Cambridge Sapphire Parure

   This sapphire and diamond parure dates from the early nineteenth century, as it originally belonged to Queen Mary’s maternal grandmother, Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge.[1] It was presented as a wedding present to Queen Mary’s aunt Augusta, the Grand-Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, who was painted wearing the tiara of this parure in a miniature by Hermann Hanstein in 1861,[2] and photographed wearing the necklace.[3]

   This parure was bequeathed to Queen Mary upon the death of her aunt in 1916, and she was photographed wearing the adaptable pieces in a number of different ways.[4] It was later presented to Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent by Queen Mary as a wedding gift in 1934, and the illustrations of it in the Illustrated London News, shows that it consisted of a tiara “set with seven upright motifs”, a cluster necklace with pendant drops, a V-shaped corsage brooch, a pair of pendant earrings, two cluster brooches and a pair of bracelets.[5]

   Princess Marina was pictured often wearing the parure,[6] and it was later bequeathed to the present Duke of Kent. However, in the 1990s the tiara from the parure was sold, and a new tiara was fashioned from the largest clusters of the necklace.[7]

1. Field, The Queen’s Jewels, p. 146
2. Royal Collection: Hermann Hanstein, Princess Augusta, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (RCIN 420300 [Accessed 10 June 2012]
3. Field, The Queen’s Jewels, p. 114; Munn, Tiaras, pl. 172
4. Munn, Tiaras, pl. 171; Field, The Queen’s Jewels, p. 65
5. Illustrated London News, 1 December 1934
6. Munn, Tiaras, pl. 169
7. Ibid., pl. 170


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