Cairngorm, Gold, Enamel, Seed Pearls, Garnets
The Royal Collection
Prince Albert and Queen Victoria preferred to spend as much time together as possible. They often orchestrated long walks in the countryside so that they could be alone. During these walks, Albert would pause to pick up pebbles which he would later have made into souvenir jewelry for his beloved wife. On their first trip to Balmoral in 1848, they decided that they would climb the highest peak near the estate—Lochnagar. Despite the inclement weather and heavy mists, they made considerable headway (with the queen riding a pony), however, the mists became so heavy that the queen’s advisors (who followed at a close distance) insisted that she go no further. Prince Albert was determined to make it up to the top. And, he did. When he reached the summit, he found a lovely piece of cairngorm. Cairngorm is a type of smoky quartz which occurs naturally and randomly in Scotland. Albert secured the cairngorm and when they returned to London, he immediately had the stone cut and set into a brooch of enamel, gold and garnets which he presented to the queen in November, 1848 as a souvenir of their trip and also as a gift for the anniversary of their daughter’s birth.