This month, we are marking the Bicentenary of the Birth of Queen Victoria by featuring her Top 20 Jewels, one for each decade since the Birth of 2nd-longest reigning British Monarch, in the 20 days leading up to the Anniversary itself, and today’s feature is the Kent Amethyst Parure-
A demi-parure including a necklace, a pair of earrings, three brooches, and a pair of hair combs featuring large faceted and cabochon amethysts, this Parure originally belonged the Duchess of Kent, mother of Queen Victoria, who wore the Brooch for a portrait and the Parure at the Wedding of her granddaughter, Victoria, Princess Royal, and Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia in 1858. After her death, the Parure passed to Queen Victoria who designated it an heirloom of the Crown to be passed from Queen to Queen.
Queen Alexandra wore elements of the necklace on her dress at the State Opening of Parliament in 1902 (found by British Royal Jewels). While she was not a fan of amethysts, the Queen Mother wore the version of the brooch with three pendants for a couple of occasions before during the Second World War. Amethyst is a stone of mourning, so the brooch has been used for funerals and memorial services.
The Duchess of Kent’s Amethyst Parure was inherited by the Queen in 1952, and she has only worn the necklace and earrings of the parure twice, including a State Visit to Portugal, while the brooch with three pendants has also been rarely worn, notable occasions including a State Visit to the United States in 1991 and her 40th Anniversary of Accession in 1992. The Queen also wore the suite for the ‘Dance of the Decades’ at Buckingham Palace in 1990.
However, the Brooch from the Duchess of Kent’s Amethyst Parure without the pendent, has been a favourite of the Queen for decades, and is regularly among her most worn yearly brooches, often with purple outfits. There is no doubt we will continue to see this brooch for years to come, and hopefully the full Parure will soon make a reappearance as well.