10,000 regal diamonds on show at Buckingham Palace

More than 10,000 diamonds set in works worn by British monarchs for over 250 years will go on show at Buckingham Palace this summer to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee.

The exhibition includes a range of the queen's personal jewels, including the Diadem crown that she is seen wearing on many portraits and postage stamps, and other works chosen for their historic and artistic significance.

"This (the Diamond Diadem crown) is a very, very familiar jewel," said exhibition curator Caroline de Guitaut.

"It was originally for the coronation of George IV, which took place in 1821, but it's very closely associated with... Queen Elizabeth II.

"She wore it on a journey from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey for her own coronation in 1953 and she's also worn it to and from the palace of Westminster for every single state opening of her reign since 1952," she added.

Other highlights include items made from the world's largest diamond, the "Cullinan" diamond, named after the owner of the mine in South Africa where it was discovered in 1905.

According to legend, the diamond was so big that mine staff threw it out of the window believing it was an ordinary stone, before identifying it as a gem.

The 10.1 cm stone was offered to King Edward VII as a pledge of loyalty and has produced no fewer than nine major diamonds, 96 small brilliants and nine unpolished fragments.

Several jewels, such as the Delhi Durbar Tiara, Queen Victoria's fringe brooch and the Kokoshnik Tiara, are on display for the first time.

Other more intimate items of the queen will also be on show.

They include the South Africa necklace, which was presented to her on her 21st birthday in 1947 and the Williamson brooch, which incorporates what is believed to be the world's finest discovered pink diamond.

The diamonds, which were acquired by six British monarchs, will be on show from June 30 to July 8 and July 31 to October 7, during the palace's summer opening.

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