During her visit to Canada House Trafalgar Square on July 19, 2017, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was presented with a sapphire brooch designed by Saskatchewan-based jeweller Hillberg & Berk on behalf of the Government of Canada to celebrate the Queen's Sapphire Jubilee and to commemorate Canada's 150th anniversary of confederation.
Governor General David Johnston presented The Queen with the brooch moments before she and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh unveiled a new Jubilee Walkway panel outside Canada House. "To mark these milestones and to thank you for your selfless and devoted service to our country, we wish to present you with a special gift. We were delighted when you recently wore your maple leaf brooch in a lovely photo you shared with us on Canada Day. We know that that brooch was a gift from your father to your mother on the occasion of her first visit to Canada in 1939," he said.
"Today, 78 years later, on behalf of all Canadians, I have the honour of presenting you with a special companion to your maple leaf brooch — a snowflake, shaped like the North Star. This brooch was specially handcrafted for you and features unique Canadian beluga sapphires from Baffin Island in Nunavut and diamonds from northern Canada. We hope that you will be pleased with this gift from the people of Canada and that it will serve as a reminder of the immense affection in which you are held."
The brooch — which features Canada's only known sapphires, discovered near the hamlet of Kimmirut on Baffin Island — pays tribute to The Queen in true Canadian style.
Taking design inspiration from the backdrop of the Canadian Arctic, Her Majesty's Canadian Sapphire Jubilee Brooch celebrates the beauty of the landscape and the one-of-a-kind nature of the snowflake.
The Jubilee Brooch was made in Canada, using the following elements:
- 48 Canadian sapphires of varying colour and shape, totalling 10.19 carats;
- More than 400 diamonds of varying size, including Maple Leaf certified diamonds, totalling 4.39 carats;
- Certified 18K Canadian white gold;
- The brooch is 61mm tall and 66mm wide.
This distinctive piece will be added to the Queen's collection of sapphire jewellery. To commemorate her Sapphire Jubilee, an official 2014 portrait by David Bailey depicting the sovereign wearing sapphire jewellery she received as a wedding present from her father was reissued, further enhancing the iconic image of the Queen's lifelong association with sapphires.
"I can think of no other woman who better represents what sparkle truly means to us," says Rachel Mielke, CEO and Founder of Hillberg & Berk. "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is a symbol of strength and inspiration, not only to Canadians, but to people around the world."
"Being chosen to create this truly one of a kind brooch on behalf of the Government of Canada is a tremendous honour," she adds. "We are so humbled to have created this special piece for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II."
Special thanks to PM Gems and Maple Leaf Diamonds for their work on this project.