Throughout the centuries, jewellery has been used as a way for the upper classes and royalty of the world to set themselves apart from the common man and show their status as elites. Many of these great pieces of jewellery have been meticulously captured in the portraits of great queens and kings, however, sometimes these beautiful pieces of jewellery are, themselves, the focus of the painting. Below are four beautiful portraits and pieces, all capturing magnificent jewellery throughout the ages.
Queen Victoria (1819-1901) by Franz Xaver Winterhalter
In this portrait, Queen Victoria wears the surrendered Koh-i-noor diamond set in a brooch. The diamond itself was over a thousand years old and was handed over to her by Maharaja Duleep Singh in 1849. Her necklace, once owned by Queen Adelaide, was remade for Queen Victoria by Garrard's in 1853.
A Still Life Of A Tazza With Flowers is a painting by Jan the Younger Brueghel
In Brueghel's still life, he paints a jewellery box containing coins, a gold ring, pearl necklace and two similar gold bracelets. Beside the box, he paints another three diamond rings, a gold pocket watch, complete with a key attached to a delicate pink ribbon and some loose diamonds.
The Armada Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, c.1588 by George Gower
You will be hard-pressed to find a portrait of Queen Elizabeth I where she is not positively dripping in pearls. In this famous portrait, she is also covered in sapphires and rubies to show off her rank.
The String of Pearls, William McGregor Paxton, 1908
Created by the Boston School painter William McGregor Paxton, this piece shows a young woman holding up, and feverishly admiring, an ornate pearl necklace, with the effect magnified in the mirror placed behind her. The young woman is clearly a jewellery enthusiast; a number of other coloured trinkets can be seen perched on her lap in the painting.
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