Why the Royals wear pearls: The jewels are ‘versatile’ and first gift ever given to Queen

Edward VIII praises Queen Elizabeth II's reign in 1969

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The Queen is rarely never seen without her two, or sometimes three, strings of pearls around her neck, as well as her pearl earrings on her ear lobes. Other women in the Royal Family enjoy wearing pearls too, such as Camilla Parker-Bowles and Kate Middleton.

Female members of the Royal Family have all worn pearls in different ways in the past.

Camilla has been seen wearing pearl chokers, similar to the ones Princess Diana used to wear.

Even for one of her most memorable outfits, a black plunging Christina Stambolian gown often called “the revenge dress”, Diana opted for pearl accessories: a choker featuring multiple pearl strings and a large sapphire stone in the necklace’s centre, as well as pearl-drop earrings.

Kate, on the other hand, has been seen wearing more understated pearl jewellery, such as a one-string pearl necklace and small pearl stud earrings.

Pearls have always been associated with the Royals, and one reason is because they can be matched with any outfit – no matter what colour clothes a member of the Royal Family is wearing, pearls can be easily added to the outfit.

Charlotte White, Head of Design at 77 Diamonds, Europe’s largest online diamond jeweller, spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about the attraction of pearls for the Royals, as well as the jewels’ history within the family.

She said: “Pearls are always in style.

“Royals have been known to wear their classic pearl jewellery pieces for decades and across multiple generations.”

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Charlotte continued: “The perennial appeal of pearls among royals is partly due to their gentle glow which flatters the complexion.

“They are versatile, blending in with different styles of dress for different occasions.”

The jewellery expert suggested that pearls might have a particularly significant meaning for the Queen because they were reportedly the first piece of jewellery she ever received.

Charlotte explained: “When the Queen’s grandfather George V celebrated his Silver Jubilee in 1935, he gave the then nine-year-old Princess Elizabeth a necklace of three rows of matching pearls.”

The Queen wears pearls similar to this gift today.

Charlotte also commented on Her Majesty’s pearl earrings, saying: “The Queen is known to adore her pearl earrings, known as Queen Mary’s Button Earrings, originally given to her by her grandmother Queen Mary in 1947.

“She has been seen wearing them on numerous occasions from as early as the 1950s all the way to Princess Charlotte’s christening in 2015.”

As well as being seen in pearl stud earrings, the Duchess of Cambridge also owns pearl-drop earrings, not unlike the pair Princess Diana wore with her black “revenge dress”.

Kate’s earrings are by London-based jewellery designer Annoushka Ducas, but the Duchess has also borrowed the Queen’s Bahrain pearl drop earrings in the past.

These earrings are longer than Kate’s go-to drop earrings and are studded with diamonds.

They were given to the Queen by the ruler of Bahrain as a wedding gift when Her Majesty married Prince Philip in 1947.

Charlotte said: “Kate Middleton is also deeply fond of classic pearls.

“She has even been known to borrow the monarch’s Bahrain pearl drop earrings for more than one Remembrance Sunday service in recent years.”

The jewellery expert added that “there is something discreet and understated about pearls, as their true value is not glaringly obvious and often known only to the wearer”.

She continued: “Yet for those who know how to look closely at precious jewellery, high quality, lustrous pearls are highly valued.”

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