All eyes were on Queen Consort Camilla's 26-diamond necklace during Saturday's coronation of her husband, King Charles III, at Westminster Abbey in London. Dubbed the "Coronation Necklace," the dazzling neckwear was originally made by British Crown Jeweler Garrard in 1858 for Queen Victoria and has been worn at every coronation since.
The necklace features 26 cushion-cut diamonds, including the head-turning 22.48-carat dangling pendant called the "Lahore" diamond. According to the Royal Trust, the impressive gem had been part of the Lahore Treasure in the Punjab region of what is now Pakistan. After being taken over by British colonists in 1849, the gem was “presented to Queen Victoria in 1851.”
Despite its size, the Lahore diamond was used as an accent stone on the 352.5-carat "Timur Ruby" necklace. Interestingly, the Timur Ruby is actually a spinel.
In 1858, Garrard refashioned the Timur Ruby necklace so the three large diamond accents could be detached and used for other purposes. The smaller two diamonds doubled as earrings and the Lahore diamond became the centerpiece of the Coronation Necklace.
Queen Victoria had been coronated in 1838, so the first time the Coronation Necklace was actually worn at a coronation was in 1902 during the crowning of Edward VII and Alexandra. The necklace appeared again in 1911 at the coronation of George V and Mary, and then a third time at the 1937 coronation of George VI and Elizabeth.
The 27-year-old Queen Elizabeth II famously wore the necklace during her coronation in 1953 and adored the jewelry so much she frequently wore it to state events, such as the opening of the New Zealand parliament in 1963 (photo inset, above).
Although King Charles, 74, instantly became a monarch upon his mom's passing in September of 2022, the coronation did not take place until this past Saturday to respect a period of mourning and to allow enough time to plan the elaborate ceremony.
Credits: Screen grab of coronation ceremony via today.com. Inset, Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Coronation Necklace at the opening of the New Zealand parliament in 1963 by Archives New Zealand, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.