The Stones that Made Garrard
From the opulent coloured gems in royal high jewellery suites to the magnificent diamonds set in the Crown Jewels, each esteemed stone within the nation’s treasures has undergone a unique journey of craftsmanship and creativity. Behind every great gemstone is a great story, and Garrard has played a starring role in many of them. “Some of the most renowned gemstones in the world were brought to life in our workshop. The designs of these extraordinary jewels live on in the pieces that we create to this day,” explains Sara Prentice, Creative Director of Garrard.
The Record-Breaking Cullinan I Diamond
Of the many important stones Garrard has been entrusted to set, the Cullinan I outshines them all. Cut and polished from the 3,106 carat Cullinan Diamond, the largest gem-quality diamond ever found, the Cullinan I, or the Great Star of Africa as it is sometimes known, is the largest cut and colourless diamond in the world.
In 1910, at the request of King George V, Garrard created a setting for this extraordinary stone. Positioning it at the very top of the Sovereign’s Sceptre – used at the coronation of every monarch since Charles II’s in 1661 – the exquisite setting frames the 530.20 carat pear shape Cullinan I stone within enamel and gold. Crafted with such expertise that the diamond can be removed and worn as a brooch, its distinctive heart shape was the inspiration behind the Garrard Sovereign motif, which is playfully interpreted in the Aloria collection.
The Cullinan II, III, IV and V Diamonds
That same year, Garrard set the Cullinan II diamond into the Imperial State Crown, followed by the Cullinan III and IV – worn together in later years as a brooch – in Queen Mary’s Consort Crown in 1912.
Also cut from the famous Cullinan Diamond, Cullinan V is an 18.80 carat heart shape diamond to rival all others. The centrepiece in an exquisite brooch crafted by Garrard for Queen Mary, a sunburst of radiating platinum lines encircles the Cullinan V, enclosed by a border of smaller diamonds, emphasising its feminine heart shape. Often worn by Her Majesty the Queen, who inherited the royal heirloom in 1953, the bold, radiating bars are mirrored in the design of several of our Princess tiaras.
Queen Victoria’s Sapphire Wedding Gift
At Garrard we are renowned for our use of sapphires, hand-picking the finest gems and making them the focal point of our designs. One of the best-known examples is the remarkable sapphire in Queen Victoria’s magnificent cluster brooch.
Commissioned by Prince Albert in 1840 as a gift for his bride as a token of his eternal love, the vibrant oval sapphire is framed by 12 large diamonds. Because of this spectacular brooch, today the cluster setting is synonymous with Garrard.
Princess Diana’s Sapphire Engagement Ring
Our signature cluster setting is seen once again in perhaps the most famous royal engagement ring of them all – the sapphire and diamond engagement ring given to Princess Diana by Prince Charles and now worn by the Duchess of Cambridge. Personally chosen by Diana during a visit to our flagship boutique in 1981, the ring showcases a 12 carat oval Ceylon sapphire that is exceptional in every way, with a vivid blue hue and magnificent lustre.
A true design icon, Diana’s engagement ring inspired both the 1735 collection and also the one-of-a-kind creations in our Jewelled Vault, each of which is designed around an exceptional centre stone.
The Jubilee Sapphire Brooch
Exceptionally rare and important stones continue to shape our history at Garrard, including the 118.88 carat royal blue sapphire selected to be the star of a jewel created to honour the 65th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. An occasion traditionally marked by the gift of a sapphire, the Jubilee Sapphire brooch pays tribute to Garrard’s role in remodelling the Imperial State Crown for the occasion.