Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Royal gold exhibition to go on display in Edinburgh

A bracelet with Queen Victoria's portrait
Image caption A bracelet with Queen Victoria's portrait

Jewellery that sheds light on the tastes of six generations of queens is to go on show at an exhibition celebrating the qualities of gold.

Queen Charlotte's gold and diamond ring, a bracelet with Queen Victoria's portrait and a pair of gold, diamond and pearl Tiffany opera glasses are among the exhibits.

They go on display at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on Friday.

It will be the first time the items have been on show in Scotland.

The exhibition, called Gold, explores and celebrates the rare precious metal through more than 60 items from across the Royal Collection - one of the largest and most important art collections in the world.

Over millennia and across different cultures, the material has often been used to represent and reflect royal wealth and power, and many of the sacred and ceremonial items associated with the coronations of British monarchs incorporate gold.

One of the most elaborate accessories to go on display at The Queen's Gallery is a pair of opera glasses presented as a wedding gift to King George V and Queen Mary in 1893 when they were Duke and Duchess of York.

Tiffany & Co was well-known for its production of luxury goods, but opera glasses made of gold were particularly rare. The glasses are also adorned with pearls and rose-cut diamonds.

One of the earliest items of jewellery in the exhibition is a 16th century commesso, a cameo combined with gold to create a pendant.

The piece is in the form of a female bust dressed in a tunic and turban, and is decorated with ruby, garnet, emerald and amethyst. It was recorded on a list of "curiosities" belonging to Queen Caroline, consort of George II.

Exhibition-goers can also view an engraved gold bracelet, made by royal goldsmiths Rundell, Bridge & Rundell and dating from 1839, which incorporates a miniature portrait of Queen Victoria.

Also on show is a gold and diamond-set "keeper ring", which served as a guard to a wedding ring, and was presented to Queen Charlotte by George III on their wedding day in 1761. It is displayed alongside a gold and diamond ring also belonging to Queen Charlotte.

Kathryn Jones, exhibition curator of the Royal Collection Trust, said: "These works of art show the personal associations that royal consorts have had with jewelled gold across several generations.

"We are delighted to display them for the first time in Scotland as part of this exhibition of items from the Royal Collection crafted from this rare and precious material."

One of the centrepieces of the exhibition will be a gilded manuscript based on a best-selling book by Queen Victoria in which she reveals her thoughts on surviving a carriage accident and tasting haggis for the first time.

Compiled from the monarch's diaries, the book - entitled More Leaves From The Journal Of A Life In The Highlands, From 1862 To 1882 - provides a glimpse into the royal author's life at Balmoral.

It became an instant hit with readers after being published in 1884 and the following year a Persian translation covered in dazzling gold illumination was created for presentation to the queen.

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