30 November 2017

Tiara Thursday: The Queen Mother's Cartier Bracelet Bandeau


Programming Note: Tomorrow, December 1, is the christening of Prince Gabriel of Sweden! As we have done in the past, we will have full coverage here. There will be an open post with streaming link for those that want to watch live together - or join in later - and we'll have a post up later in the day.

The christening is at noon (12:00), local time. (That's 6 am, Eastern.)

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The Queen Mother's Cartier Bracelet Bandeau
Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother had a set of bracelets made by Cartier. There's a quintet of these bracelets, featuring three different colors of stones as the baguette center in a diamond bracelet: one ruby, one emerald, one sapphire, and two with all diamonds.

Four of the bracelets; the fifth is another in all diamonds
The bracelets were gifts from her husband, George VI, when the two were newly married and were titled the Duke and Duchess of York. The couple were regular customers at Cartier.

Queen Elizabeth, as Duchess of York, wearing the bracelets
These bracelets were gifts given individually at Christmas and for her birthday in 1923-1925. The fifth bracelet - the second one all in diamonds - is not always referenced, and this set is often referred to as a quartet rather than the quintet that it is. All five are pictured together in Dressing the Queen by Angela Kelly. Elizabeth often wore all of the bracelets at once, as one large and colorful stack of bracelets.

Worn in the bandeau style
In 1925, Cartier supplied mounts allowing any three of the bracelets to be worn together as a bandeau tiara. The young Duchess of York did this through the early 1930s, in an era when a bandeau would have been a particularly fashionable choice.

She doesn't seem to have used the bandeau mounts later on, though she did continue to use the bracelets. Considering that her tiara-wearing habits changed as her husband took the throne in 1936 and she became Queen Elizabeth, this is not surprising; also left behind were options like the Strathmore Rose Tiara, the Lotus Flower Tiara, the Aquamarine Pineflower Tiara, the Persian Turquoise Tiara, and the Cartier Halo Tiara.

Embed from Getty Images
The Queen wears the emerald bracelet between the two diamond bracelets
The bracelets are now with Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen was seen wearing a couple of the bracelets as early as the 1970s. Given that she rarely wears hair ornaments outside of a more traditional tiara, it is once again not a surprise that the bracelets haven't been used in their bandeau style. Will we ever see these used in the hair again? It would take someone with a little creativity in the tiara department, that's for sure. (Perhaps more than we find in the current members of the British royal family...) Needless to say, I'm all for someone giving it a shot.

What's your bet: Will these bracelets ever be worn as a tiara again?