The Princess of Wales, Catherine, debuted the Nizam of Hyderabad Necklace during a visit to National Portrait Gallery in 2014. A diamond necklace made by Cartier in the 1930. It was a wedding gift to Princess Elizabeth on her wedding from the last Nizam of Hyderabad, Asaf Jah VII, in 1947.
The set was personally selected by Princess Elizabeth as the Nizam was in India and could not attend the wedding so he left the instructions with Cartier that Princess Elizabeth should select a wedding gift herself. The Nizam’s entire gift set for the future Queen of the United Kingdom included a diamond tiara and a matching necklace, with a design based on English roses.
In 1973, the tiara was dismantled and the diamonds were used to design the Burmese Ruby Tiara. The tiara had three detachable rose brooches – One large centre piece and two small pieces which are now being used separately. The picture below shows the set in its current form.
Designed in 1930, the necklace consists of a long chain of 38 diamonds (the original necklace had 46 diamonds) with a diamond-encrusted snap based on platinum. The centre of the necklace is pave-set with detachable double-drop pendant 13 emerald-cut diamonds and a pear-shaped drop. As per the author of Queen’s Diamond, Hugh Roberts, “The original design purchased by Cartier in 1937 featured a central pendant of three drops flanked each side by two pendants of two drops. Nine drops were subsequently removed to design a head ornament (not part of the set Princess Elizabeth selected) and the necklace in present form came into existence in 1936.” There is a picture of Elfrida Greville, Countess of Warwick, wearing the necklace in sometime 1930s. How did this beautiful jewel end up with the Stunning Countess remains a mystery.
Queen Elizabeth was seen wearing the necklace many times since 1947. There were few occasions when she wore the matching tiara before the tiara was sacrificed for another piece. The last time the tiara was seen in public was in 1952 when the newly coronated Queen Elizabeth II attended the Royal Variety Performance.
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She has worn it for many of her official portraits. Among these portraits were the photographs of the new Queen were taken by the society photographer Dorothy Wilding. These now iconic images were used as the basis of The Queen’s image on stamps, as well as providing the official portrait that was sent to Embassies and Regiments all over the world.
The necklace was Queen Elizabeth II’s one of the favourite jewels and she was seen wearing the piece many times in the duration of 70 plus years.
The Queen loaned the necklace to The Princess of Wales (Then The Duchess of Cambridge) in 2014 when The Princess visited National Portrait Gallery. Catherine paired the necklace with Jenny Packham Ink Blue Silk Tulle Gown.
Recently the necklace was worn by the Princess of Wales at the 2019 Diplomatic Reception with Alexander McQueen Bejeweled Long Sleeve Illusion Gown, Queen Mary’s Lover’s Knot Tiara and Queen’s Diamond Chandelier Drop Demi-Parure earrings