The Gloucester Turquoise Parure
The three brooches had been a gift to Mary’s mother, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, upon her confirmation in December 1850.Princess Mary of Cambridge wore the two brooches as part of a headdress, with the corsage brooch pinned to her bodice, when she attended her first debutante ball at Buckingham Palace.
The collection known as the “Gloucester Jewels” is mainly the collection of jewels given to Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester upon her marriage to Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, son of King George V and Queen Mary, in 1935. During the beginning of the 20th century turquoise was a very fashionable stone and Queen Mary was aware of the Duchess’s fondness of them. The turquoise parure from Queen Mary consists of the tiara, a long chained necklace of twenty-six turquoise and diamond oval clusters, matching cluster earrings and ring, two bow brooches, a bow-shaped corsage brooch with a tassel, a bangle bracelet, and two four row turquoise bead bracelets.
Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester wears the turquoise tiara given to her by Queen Mary in August of 1935.
The tiara of turquoise and diamonds was arranged in rococo scrolls and a sunburst. The centre of the tiara contains the largest turquoise in the piece surrounded by a “burst” of diamonds and turquoise pear shaped stones, quite similar to the famous Persian tiaras of Empress Farah of Iran. Apparently Queen Mary found the composition too high, and it was lowered by E. Wolff & Co. in August 1912.
On 29 October 2004, after the death of Princess Alice, the collection was passed to the current Duchess of Gloucester, wife of Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester. Her Royal Highness has worn every piece in the parure known to have been given to her late mother-in-law Princess Alice.
Not much is known about other pieces given to the Duchess of Gloucester; most likely they are pieces commissioned by her husband:
a diamond and turquoise and gold bangle
two alternate diamond and turquoise collets