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In celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's 88th birthday today, click through to peep 12 of her most stunning jewels.
queen elizabeth Engagement Ring
On July 10, 1947 Elizabeth and Philip posed outside Buckingham Palace to announce their engagement. The Queen's clasped hands showed off her engagement ring, which was created using diamonds from a tiara that belonged to Prince Philip's mother.
George III Fringe Tiara
Elizabeth and Philip beam brightly in their official wedding portrait. While we love her dress—silk with hand-embroidered crystals and pearls—it's the George III Fringe Tiara that takes the cake. Elizabeth actually used it as her "something borrowed" from her mother!
british Imperial State Crown
The Imperial State Crown is the most famous of the coronation crowns. It was remade in 1937 for the Queen's father, King George VI, and is set with over 3,000 gems! Pictured here is the newly-crowned Queen on her return to Buckingham Palace on June 2, 1953. The Imperial State Crown is worn only for the State Opening of Parliament.
St. Edward's Crown
Although not a personal jewel, St. Edward's Crown is the principal piece of the Regalia—as well as the heaviest. Made of gold and semi-precious stones, the crown features sapphires, amethysts, topazes and citrines. Weighing in at a whopping 4.9 pounds, the crown was last used by Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953 when she was crowned as the monarch.
queen elizabeth Coronation Necklace
Made in 1858, the necklace and matching earrings were originally made for Queen Victoria and have been worn by four different queens at their coronations. It is formed of 25 cushion-shaped brilliant-cut diamonds and a central drop-shaped pendant measuring 22.48 carats.
Delhi Durbar Tiara
The Delhi Durbar Tiara was made in 1911 of platinum and gold set with diamonds. Upon Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother's passing in 2002, it was handed down to Queen Elizabeth II. She briefly lent the tiara to Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall in 2005.
George IV State Diadem
The George IV State Diadem, or the Diamond Diadem, was made in 1820 and features a set of four crosses alternating with four bouquets of roses, thistles and shamrocks—all encrusted in diamonds, of course! The motifs are set on a band of diamond scrollwork between two bands of pearls. Worn only for formal occasions, this piece can be spotted on QE II when she travels to and from each State Opening of Parliament, as well as for official portraits.
Greville Chandelier Earrings
Dame Margaret Greville was a British society hostess and philanthropist. A close friend of Queen Mary, Margaret bequeathed all her jewels to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother when she died. Included in her stash were the Greville chandelier earrings, which were gifted to the then-Princess Elizabeth for her wedding in 1947. The earrings feature platinum-cut diamonds in a variety of shapes: emerald, pear, square, half moon, trapeze, baguette and more! Here, Elizabeth is pictured wearing the earrings and the Diamond Diadem.
Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara
The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara was originally a gift to Queen Mary in 1893. In 1947, Mary gave the tiara to her granddaughter, the future Elizabeth II, as a wedding present. The tiara features nine large pearls and diamonds. Over the years, this has become one of the most familiar of her tiaras because of its appearance on British bank notes and coinage.
Russian Kokoshnik Tiara
The Russian Kokoshnik Tiara is made of 61 platinum bars encrusted with 488 diamonds, the largest of which is 3.25 carats. The Queen has worn this many times, once paired with a yellow dress while dancing with US President Gerald Ford. Here she is pictured with Princess Anne and Thailand's Queen Sirikit.
Vladimir Tiara
The Vladimir Tiara, sometimes referred to as the Diamond and Pearl Tiara, was purchased in 1921 by Queen Mary. Originally the tiara featured teardrop pearls, but Mary had it adapted to accommodate the attachment of 15 Cambridge cabochon emeralds. It is almost exclusively worn with the Cambridge and Delhi Durbar Parure—a necklace featuring nine large emeralds and 12 brilliant diamonds—both of which are pictured here.
Cartuer Halo Tiara
The Cartier Halo Tiara was purchased by King George VI for Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother three weeks before they became king and queen. It was presented to the future Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her 18th birthday. Most recently it was worn by Kate Middleton at her wedding to Prince William in April 2011.