Pearls have always had a connection with royalty, however Queen Elizabeth is especially known for her love of this radiant gemstone, wearing a pearl necklace for countless events and occasions.
Alongside diamonds, sapphires, and rubies, the Queen has an extensive collection of pearl necklaces, some with just one strand and others with three or four, however on most occasions, she wears a three-strand pearl necklace – and there’s a reason why.
Thanks to a tradition started by Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth is reported to have fell in love with pearl jewellery from being a child.
Royal experts report that Queen Victoria gave each of her daughters and granddaughters a single pearl on their birthday as they grew up, so that by the time they reached the age at 18, they would have enough pearls for a necklace.
Queen Elizabeth’s parents continued the royal tradition, giving her a chain onto which they added two pearls per birthday. The Queen also received a complete pearl necklace from her father King George VI for her coronation in 1937.
The future monarch was only 25 years old when she lost her father and the pearl necklace that she received from him remains a powerful reminder of the special bond they shared.
What many royal fans don’t know is that Queen Elizabeth adored the three-strand pearl necklace so much that she had an identical one made. In 1953, a third three-stand pearl necklace also joined her collection – a gift from Emir of Qatar. The only difference among the three was that this gift had a diamond clasp.
The value of the Queen’s pearls
In February 2022, to kick off her 70th anniversary celebrations, Queen Elizabeth wore one of her most adorned three-strand pearl necklaces. To find out more about the royal necklace, our leading jewellery expert Zack Stone took a closer look.
He found that this incredible necklace could be worth up to £1,000,000 if made with natural pearls.
On today’s market most pearls are cultured. This means they have been grown in pearl farms in carefully chosen environment, often off the coast of Australia&Indonesia in the Southern Indian Ocean. Cultured pearls possess all the qualities of lustre and hardness of natural pearls and tend to have a more consistent shape.
Natural pearls are much rarer than cultured pearls and could dictate extremely high prices, depending on their variety and origins. Many historic and designer natural pearl jewellery pieces are auctioned for staggering amounts every year.