Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne at a very young age, which also meant she inherited a significant collection of jewels, crowns, tiaras, and diadems. Most of them haven't seen the light of day, but we're given a glimpse of her precious possessions when the Queen wears her favorites to state occassions. Below, we gathered 11 of the crowns and tiaras included in her regular rotation.
1. Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik tiara
A silver wedding anniversary gift to the Prince and Princess of Wales–then future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra–the Kokoshnik tiara, a variation of the Russian fringe tiara, was made by Garrard and included 61 platinum bars containing 488 diamonds, the largest two weighing in at 3.25 carats apiece. Queen Mary acquired the said diamond tiara and bequeathed it to Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
2. Modern Sapphire tiara
This tiara traces back to Princess Louise of Belgium (1858-1924), the daughter of King Leopold II. She was known to have a string of lovers and left her family in serious financial trouble. Hence, she had to sell a few of her jewels, including the sapphire necklace which was later on acquired for the Queen and turned into a tiara.
3. Oriental Circlet tiara
Prince Albert designed the piece for Queen Victoria and was made by Garrard in 1853 for around £860. The tiara's original diadem consisted of more than 2,600 diamonds with opal accents (Prince Albert's favorite stone), all set in gold. The opals have since been replaced with rubies and the tiara became a favorite of the Queen Mother before she passed it on to Queen Elizabeth.
4. The Imperial State Crown
The state crown was originally made for the coronation of King George VI in 1937 and was also worn by Elizabeth on her coronation day. It is set with 2,868 diamonds in silver mounts and has colored stones on gold mounts, including 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, and 269 pearls.
5. The Brazilian Aquamarine Parure tiara
The people of Brazil gifted the Queen an aquamarine necklace and earrings for her coronation in 1953. The large rectangular aquamarines took a year to be collected in Brazil and were set in set in scrolled diamond and platinum surrounds by Mappin & Webb in Rio de Janiero. They continued to collect more stones for the Queen and in 1958, they presented her with a large brooch and bracelet to add to the set.
The Queen later on commissioned Garrard to fashion her a simple tiara—a platinum bandeau set with diamonds and aquamarines and three large upright aquamarines with diamond surrounds. The uprights were detachable and could be used as brooches. She tweaked the tiara after, and added four aquamarine and diamond scroll ornaments around the upright pieces using jewels she was given by the Governor of São Paulo during a state visit to Brazil in 1968.
6. The King George IV State Diadem
Also known as the Diamond Diadem, the State Diadem is worn by the Queen to the State Opening of Parliament. The diadem was commissioned by King George VI in 1820, and was created by the Crown Jewelers Rundle and Bridge. It includes 1333 diamonds weighing in excess of 320 carats, including a four carat yellow diamond. Between the crosses are roses, thistles, and shamrocks, the flowers of England, Ireland, and Scotland.
7. Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara
The tiara, fondly called as Granny's tiara, was purchased from the Crown Jewelers Garrard in 1893 as a wedding present for Mary of Teck, later Queen Mary. The original verision had pearl finials at the top, which were later removed and replaced with diamond collets; the pearls became part of the Cambridge Lover's Knot tiara.
8. The Grand Duchess Vladimir tiara
A diamond and pearl looped tiara purchased by Queen Mary in 1921 from the fall of the Russian monarchy, it was later passed down to Mary's granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth. This tiara is among her finest pieces, consisting of 15 intertwined circles, each with a drop pearl within it, created by Russian court jeweler Bolin in the late 1800s.
9. Burmese Ruby Tiara
The tiara was ordered from Garrard in 1973 and was made from the 96 rubies that were gifted by the people of Burma as a wedding present. The rubies were a symbolic gift: According to traditional Burmese beliefs, rubies are meant to protect the owner from evil and illness, and there are 96 diseases that can affect humans.
10. Queen Mary's Russian Fringe Tiara
Queen Mary's Russian Fringe tiara was Queen Elizabeth II's choice of tiara for her wedding day. The tiara contains 47 diamond bars along with smaller diamond spikes and was made by Garrard. It can be worn as a necklace or atop the head. Elizabeth's tiara famously broke on her wedding day, but was quickly repaired.