Inheriting Granny's multi-million pound jewellery collection07 MARCH 2012
The majority of jewels the Queen wears are a legacy from two formidable royal matriarchs – her grandmother Queen Mary and great-great grandmother Queen Victoria.
Her personal collection is separate from the British Crown Jewels which are housed in the Tower of London.
These include St Edward's Crown, the glittering centrepiece of her outfit at the coronation and the Imperial State Crown, worn for the state opening of Parliament.
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Some 40 feet under Buckingham Palace in a converted air raid shelter are the pieces Her Majestry describes as her 'best diamonds'.
In this personal treasure trove are gems dating from Queen Victoria's days as Empress of India – uncut emeralds, tiaras, Faberge trinkets, even an elephant with eyes made of rubies and real ivory tusks.
Said to be worth around £35 million, the collection consists of diamonds to the value of £22 million, emeralds worth £5.75 million, pearls to the value of £3 million, and rubies and sapphires valued at £2.7 million.
Her favourite tiara is the delicate, diamond-encrusted “Girls of Great Britain” piece.
A wedding gift from her grandmother, Queen Mary, who was given it on her marriage in 1893, the tiara got the spirited name from the committee of young British women who rallied round to fund it.
One of the most stunning pieces of royal jewellery is the most valuable brooch in the world, affectionately dubbed "Granny's Chips" after Queen Mary. The dazzling pin consists of a pear-shaped 92-carat gem hanging from a square-cut, 62-carat stone.
Another beloved trinket is the Jubilee Necklace. Originally presented to her great-great grandmother, Victoria, to mark the 50th anniversary of her accession, it is an intricate mix of diamonds and pearls.
The diamonds, on display with 80 evening gowns worn on state occasions, will be the highlight of the annual opening of Buckingham Palace to the public from July 26 to September 24.