The jewellery collection of Queen Elizabeth II features an incredible array of enviable jewels and precious gemstones. Most of the jewellery pieces now in the Queen’s collection were acquired by past members of the Royal Family over the centuries.
And while several pieces are worth multi-million-pound sums, one necklace stands out among the rest as the most expensive. Express.co.uk spoke to jewellery experts about the history and value of the Queen’s famous Nizam of Hyderabad Necklace.The Queen first acquired the Nizam of Hyderabad Necklace in 1947, five years before she ascended the throne as Queen.
The necklace was a gift to then-Princess Elizabeth from the Nizam of Hyderabad, on the occasion of her engagement to Philip Mountbatten. In 1947, Asaf Jah VII was the ruler (or Nizam) of Hyderabad, and he was one of the richest men in the world.Daena Borrowman, Marketing Manager at jewellerybox, told Express.co.uk: “The magnificent Nizam of Hyderabad Necklace, considered to be the most expensive piece of royal jewellery in the world, is worth more than £66million.
“It was a wedding gift to Princess Elizabeth from the Nizam of Hyderabad, one of the richest people in the world.The Nizam is said to have generously instructed Cartier to let the bride-to-be pick anything she wished from their collections, to which the young princess chose a tiara with three detachable flower brooches and what we now know as the Nizam of Hyderabad Necklace Necklace.”
As well as being a firm favourite of the Queen’s, the monarch has also lent this piece to Kate, Duchess of Cambridge for some events in recent years. Ms Borrowman added: “Featuring more than 50 diamonds set in platinum, the Queen has worn this extravagant necklace in numerous portraits before her coronation and has even lent it to the Duchess of Cambridge on numerous occasions in recent times.
For the average Brit, a piece of this value is quite literally out of reach, with the average Brit having to work more than 2,000 years to afford it!”The Nizam of Hyderabad necklace features a number of different shaped diamonds, with one jewellery expert labelling the design as “magnificent”.
Paul Hird, head of luxury auctions at John Pye Luxury, told Express.co.uk: “Consisting of 13 emerald-cut and pear-shaped diamonds and a chain of 38 brilliant-cut open-back collets with an elongated oval brilliant-set snap, it is to no surprise that Elizabeth chose this magnificent piece of jewellery.”
The Queen has often opted to wear the spectacular necklace for official portraits during her reign.Mr Hird added: “The necklace has made many appearances, interestingly, around the neck of the Queen for her portrait, taken to go on the front of the Bahamian dollar bill.” With plenty of beautiful necklaces to choose from in her collection, the Queen has also been known to wear the Japanese Pearl Choker from her collection at state events.
Recently the elegant piece was worn by Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, for the funeral of Prince Philip in April 2021.The Brazilian Aquamarine Parure has also been worn by the Queen during her reign, and it includes a set of jewellery items made of diamonds and aquamarines.The people of Brazil gifted the Queen the jewellery to mark her coronation in 1953. The set featured earrings and a necklace, and the Queen later commissioned Garrard to make her a matching tiara.