25 April 2012

The Cullinans, Part 4: The Pendant Brooch

Next up in our review of what’s become of the Cullinan Diamond is a brooch that packs a double Cullinan punch.
The Cullinan VI and VIII Brooch
The top part of this brooch includes Cullinan VIII, an emerald-cut 6.8 carat diamond. One of the South African government's gifts to Queen Mary, she set it in a diamond surround very much like that of the Cullinan V - and just like its heart-shaped friend, Cullinan VIII was also a part of Mary's emerald stomacher.
Mary's emerald stomacher, with Cullinan VIII - the emeralds above and below form a brooch on their own when not in this stomacher
For a purely diamond version, Mary suspended a marquise-cut diamond below. This, of course, was yet another Cullinan chip.
Queen Mary with the diamond version - sometimes forming a mini-stomacher along with the Cullinan V Brooch
According to the Royal Collection, who have exhibited this brooch in the past, the diamond pendant is Cullinan VI. Some sources say it was Cullinan VII instead, which is a slightly smaller marquise diamond. Mary did indeed use Cullinan VII occasionally as the pendant to Cullinan VI. (More on VII here.)
Queen Alexandra with Cullinan VI set in her circlet
At any rate, Cullinan VI is the one Cullinan  piece that King Edward VII bought from Asscher's as a personal gift for his wife, Queen Alexandra. She set the 11.5 carat marquise diamond in the front cross of her Regal Circlet. This too ended up with Queen Mary and the rest of the Cullinans.
Queen Elizabeth
And now, as with the rest, it is with Queen Elizabeth, who inherited the brooch on Mary's death in 1953. She doesn't wear it too often, but every time she does I can't help but think it's much smaller in real life than I expect it to be.

Photos: Royal Collection/Queen Elizabeth II/Leslie Field/Corbis