Tuesday’s Royal Trinket: The Greville Peardrop Earrings

© Royal Collection Trust

I mentioned last week that a Mrs. Greville bequeathed her jewelry collection to Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother). The Greville Peardrop Earrings are another trinket the lucky Queen Elizabeth inherited.

The earrings were made in 1938 by Cartier for Mrs. Greville. The diamond earrings consist of three portions: pentagonal tops, emerald-cut diamonds and pear-shaped drops. Queen Elizabeth bequeathed them to her daughter Queen Elizabeth II in 2002.

Via Wikimedia Commons. Margaret Greville in 1900.

But let’s back up for a second and talk about this Mrs. Greville. Who was she exactly? Mrs. Greville, born Margaret Helen Anderson (1863-1942), was the daughter of William McEwan, the founder of a beer brewing company. She married Captain Ronald Greville, heir to a baronetcy, in 1891. Her marriage provided her with numerous wedding jewels and she purchased more jewelry herself. Mrs. Greville cultivated the fine arts and was a patron of goldsmiths and jewelers. She may not have possessed a royal title, but she ran in the same social circles and entertained royals and celebrities.

The earrings were worn by the Queen Mother on numerous occasions. Today they are worn by Queen Elizabeth II. The legacy of Mrs. Greville lives on!

The note in the will bequeathing the collection read, “To Her Majesty The Queen, with my loving thoughts.” If only we all had a Mrs. Greville in our lives!


Royal Collection Trust

Tiaras: A History of Splendour by Geoffrey C. Munn

Tuesday’s Royal Trinket: The Greville Diamond Earrings

© Royal Collection Trust

These specacular diamond earrings were made by Cartier for Mrs. Ronald Greville in 1929. In 1942 she bequeathed her jewelry collection to Queen Elizabeth (The Queen Mother). Just a few years later, in 1947, the king and queen gave the earrings to their daughter, Princess Elizabeth, as a wedding gift.

The classic design mimics a chandelier. The cut of the diamonds (half-moon, trapeze, square, baguette, baton and emerald) give the earrings their art deco style. I think the design is timeless. Sadly, they haven’t been worn in recent years.


Royal Collection Trust

The Manchester Tiara

© The Victoria and Albert Museum

Today’s tiara belonged to an American woman who married into the British aristocracy. The Manchester Tiara was made by Cartier in 1903 for Consuelo, Dowager Duchess of Manchester (1853-1909). 

The heart-shaped scrolls give this tiara a very romantic feel, don’t you think? It’s set with thousands of rose-cut diamonds, most of them supplied by the Dowager Duchess herself. Mr. Cartier, when planning the tiara’s design, asked his designers do draw inspiration from the 18th century ironworks of Paris and Versailles. This was a fitting design inspiration because Consuelo spent the early years of her life in Paris.

The Dowager Duchess of Manchester was born Miss Consuelo Yznaga in 1853 in New York City. She was one of four children born to Cuban-born millionaire Antonio Yznaga del Valle and his American-born wife Ellen Maria Clement of New Orleans.

Even though the Yznagas were wealthy, the family was met with suspicion by the upper echelons of American society. On top of being classified as nouveau riche (new money) by the established families, the Yznagas had “foreign lineage” which made them less desirable to socialize with. (To put things in perspective, the Astors were old money.)

Wikimedia Commons. Consuelo, painted by John Singer Sargent.

Nevertheless, Consuelo grew up happy and loved by her parents. Because the Yznagas were shunned by America’s top families, they spent most of their time in Paris where they received a very warm welcome by Empress Eugénie and her circle. After the fall of the Second Empire, the Yznagas relocated to London.

Consuelo became one of the first “Dollar Princesses” when she married George Victor Drogo Montagu, the future 8th Duke of Manchester. His family was initially not pleased with the match. They had never met the bride before the engagement and could not comprehend having an American daughter-in-law. They even tried to stop the wedding from happening. However, the family was won over by Consuelo and the wedding took place in 1876 in New York City.

Though it was not a happy marriage (both had extramarital affairs), Consuelo paved the way for other Americans to marry into aristocratic families.

The Manchester Tiara, with its heart-shaped motif, was a fitting choice for a sentimental American woman who forged a place for herself within British society. Today the tiara belongs to the Victoria and Albert Museum.


American Heiresses of the Gilded Age by Melissa Ziobro (The Great Courses)

The Victoria and Albert Museum

To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace

Queen Elizabeth of Belgium’s Scroll Tiara

© Maison Cartier

Today’s tiara, Queen Elizabeth of Belgium’s Diamond Scroll Tiara, was made by Cartier in Paris in 1910. The hundreds of diamonds are set in platinum and the scroll motif gives the hefty tiara a very romantic feel.

The scroll tiara was purchased by Queen Elizabeth of Belgium (1876-1965) and inherited by her son King Leopold III of Belgium. However, today the tiara is back in the ownership of Cartier.

Cartier’s Steel and Diamond Tiara

© Sotheby’s

Today’s tiara is rare and of an unusual design. The headpiece is made of blackened steel and bordered with circular-cut diamonds. The two scalloped edges and the bottom row’s diamond-encrusted palmettes manage to give the tiara a romantic feel, despite the black steel.

© Sotheby’s. An up-close look at the scalloped edge and the diamond palmettes.

Between 1912 and 1915, Parisian workshop Henri Picq made about five of these steel tiaras for Cartier. This particular tiara was bought in 1912 as a wedding gift for the seller’s grandmother. It has managed to stay with the same family until the seller sold it via Sotheby’s in 2015. It fetched the hefty sum of CHF 538,000.

I don’t have any information on the family, but the bride must have been quite the avant-garde fashionista to have embraced and kept such a unique tiara.

What do you say? Yay or nay?

Queen Elizabeth’s Halo Tiara

© Royal Collection Trust

Today we know the Halo Tiara as the wedding tiara of the Duchess of Cambridge. But originally it was made for Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) by Cartier in 1936.

The diamond tiara is in the shape of a “halo” and has 16 scrolls. It’s set with 739 brilliant cut diamonds and 149 baton (cut in a long, thin rectangular shape) diamonds. Each scroll is divided by one brilliant cut diamond. The largest diamond is reserved for the center of the tiara.


Royal Collection Trust