Prince Albert presented a similar piece to Queen Victoria on their wedding day. The gift, which became a Royal heirloom, remained one of The Queen’s most prized possessions throughout her life and copies were created for all of their daughters. Queen Victoria herself described the gift as a ‘splendid brooch, a large sapphire set round with diamonds, which is really quite beautiful’. On the wedding day itself she recorded that she wore ‘dear Albert’s beautiful sapphire brooch’ with her Turkish diamonds, given her in 1838 by Sultan Mahmud of Turkey and made into a necklace and earrings the following year by Rundells.
It is unclear where Prince Albert purchased the gift for his bride, however, it is agreed it was probably at one of London’s most esteemed jewellers of the time such as Kitching & Abud or Mortimer & Hunt. Prince Albert was a significant customer there during the early years of the marriage.
The design of the piece reflected the simplicity of the early nineteenth-century jewellery design and gained a lot of attention.
Further copies were made by nobility of the time, including by the Rosebery family, hence the Rosebery Jewel.
The necklace, worn by the Lady Provost on evening occasions similarly consists of a very large sapphire surrounded by diamonds from which is suspended a pearl drop.
The pendant was gifted to the City on in 1956, by the Earl of Rosebery, Lord Lieutenant of the County of Midlothian. It was reported in the Edinburgh Evening News on 23 November1956 that it gave Lord Rosebery ‘particular pleasure’ to hand over the jewel to his friend, Sir John Banks who was then the Rt Hon Lord Provost. Lord Rosebery explained his father had bought the jewel in Ceylon and gave it to his wife who passed it on to Lord Rosebery’s elder sister Lady Sybil Grant, who in turn bequeathed it to him in her will.