Friday, April 19, 2013

Mastery of Design: The Timur “Ruby” Necklace

The Timur "Ruby" Necklace
Garrard and Co., 1853
Made for Queen Victoria
The Royal Collection

As is the case with The Black Prince’s “Ruby,” the famed Timur Rubies are, in fact, spinels. Natural red spinel is an equally beautiful and valuable stone. Here, we see three of them—set in gold and enamel and surrounded by diamonds. These spinels (along with several other large stones) came into the possession of Queen Victoria as a gift from the East India Company for her patronage of the Great Exhibition. These stones came from the same collection of gems which provided Queen Victoria with the Koh-i-nûr Diamond prior to the Exhibition in 1850. Believed, at the time, to have been rubies, the stones were described as “wonderful rubies, cabochons, unset, but pierced. One is the largest in the world, therefore even more remarkable than the Koh-i-noor.” The stone in question is the large central spinel which weighs 352.5 carats.

Queen Victoria had these stones set into the necklace in April of 1853. The necklace was altered in 1858 to allow the central spinel to be removed so that the Koh-i-nûr could be worn in its place. Similarly, five diamond drops which hung from the necklace were made detachable and an adjustment was made to the setting of the central spinel so that the Lahore Diamond could be worn beneath it as a central pendant when not in use on the Coronation Necklace.
Whether you call them rubies or spinels, there’s no changing the beauty of these stones. Queen Victoria, as we’ve noticed was very fond of her jewelry. Her preservation and care of these pieces has given us all the opportunity to enjoy them today.

Click image to enlarge.

Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Images Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

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