Mobile menu
Rundell Bridge & Rundell

The Diamond Diadem 1820

Diamonds, pearls, silver, gold | 7.5 cm (whole object) | RCIN 31702

Your share link is...


  • A silver and gold-lined diadem with an openwork frame set transparent with diamonds; narrow band edged with pearls, surmounted by four crosses-pattée, the front cross set with a pale yellow brilliant, and four sprays representing the national emblems of England, Ireland and Scotland; roses, shamrocks and thistles. Set with 1,333 diamonds, including a four-carat pale yellow brilliant in the centre of the front cross

    The order for the diadem was placed with Rundells in 1820 and work was complete by May of that year. The design, probably by Rundells' chief designer Philip Liebart, reflects something of the discarded plan for George IV's Imperial State Crown, which was drawn up by Liebart in the same period and was to have included the national emblems in place of the traditional fleurs-de-lis.

    Together with a diamond-studded loop (which was broken up to help make Queen Victoria's Garter armlet) the bill for the diadem amounted to the large sum of £8,216. This included an £800 hire charge for the diamonds - stones were regularly hired for use at coronations up to 1837 - computed on a percentage of the value of the stones. When the coronation had to be postponed for a year on account of Queen Caroline's trial, a further hire charge was levied. Normally the stones would have been returned to Rundells after the coronation, but in this case there is no sign that the delicately worked diamond sprays and crosses, a masterpiece of the new transparent style of setting, have been disturbed. Equally, there is no evidence that the King purchased the stones outright, so it could be that the bill was met by a discreet barter of old stones from George IV's extensive collection.

    Catalogue entry from Royal Treasures, A Golden Jubilee Celebration, London 2002

    Made for George IV for use at his coronation, order completed May 1820 and the bill included in the Coronation Account which passed through the Lord Chamberlain's Office in August 1820; the subsequent bill suggesting that the whole diadem was personally purchased by the king, rather than the diamonds being hired for particular occasions (£8,216, adjusted to £7,126; RA GEO/25994). On the occasion of his coronation, he wore the diadem over a large velvet 'Spanish' hat at the ceremonies in Westminster Hall and during the walking procession to Westminster Abbey.

    The diadem has been regularly worn and slightly altered by subsequent queens regnant and consorts from Queen Adelaide onwards. First worn by HM Queen Elizabeth II to the first State Opening of Parliament of the reign, 4 November 1952, and on the journey to her coronation, June 1953. Subsequently worn to all State Openings, and for photographs including those used for British and Commonwealth coinage, banknotes and postage stamps.

  • Medium and techniques

    Diamonds, pearls, silver, gold


    7.5 cm (whole object)

    19.0 cm (at base of object)

  • Alternative title(s)

    George IV's Circlet

  • Place of Production

    London [Greater London]