DUCHESS'S JEWEL This royal jewel was presented to the Duchess of Cornwall and York by the Citizens' Committee of Montreal when the Duchess visited the city on September 18.
"...Shortly after dinner on Wednesday, a simple ceremony took place at Lord Strathcona’s residence, being the presentation to Their Highnesses of mementos of their visit to Montreal, by members of the Citizens’ Reception Committee. That to the Duchess, which was presented by Lady Strathcona and Mrs. Drummond, consisted of a spray of maple leaves wrought in gold and enamel set with diamonds and pearls.
An album of Canadian views accompanied this gift, and a richly illuminated address..."
"The Enamel Maple Leaves Brooch is a corsage of six maple leaves made from blended colors of enamel from green to pink. The leaves are tipped in diamonds and their stems come together to end with a single pearl in a diamond setting."
"The jewel . . .is typical of Canada, whose emblem is the maple leaf, just as the shamrock is the emblem of Ireland."
"The jewel consists of a diamond spray or corsage pin. The design consists of a spray of six maple leaves mounted with diamonds. No two of the maple leaves are alike in form and colour. They are of solid eighteen-carat gold, beautifully enamelled in delightfully delicate tones."
In a masterly display of diplomatic dressing the then Duchess wore the maple leaf brooch pinned on the side of her corsage when attending a dinner at Government House, Winnipeg, when the royal couple visited the city as part of their tour.
In 2010, Her Majesty the Queen wore this brooch on her tour of Canada. The autumnal tones blended beautifully with her jacket as seen in the picture above.
The Royal Colonial Tour, 1901, undertaken by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York resulted in an overwhelming number of gifts and mementos. So many that an exhibition "Souvenirs of the Colonial Tour" was presented at the Imperial Institute. It received coverage in the press of the time, with reports in the papers and illustrated magazines.
Among the souvenirs was a mink fur cape, lined with ermine, trimmed with sable tails, the gift of the ladies of Ottawa. The fur cape was fastened with a gold clasp fashioned into maple leaves, the gift of New Brunswick. The Duchess wore this cape to the official dinner in Winnipeg and at other stops in the Canadian portions of the tour.
Another gift of jewellery was a bracelet of unalloyed nuggets, from the miners of Atlin, British Columbia, while the gold diggers at the South Star Mine in Australia presented the Duchess with a massive brooch of South Star gold made in the form of the Southern Cross.
From the then Cape and Natal colonies came gifts of diamond jewellery.
The women resident in Port Elisabeth, for instance, furnished a "pendant formed as a rosette, with a large diamond in the centre. This jewel is surrounded by two more rows of diamonds and with single row of opals between the whole. The border is made of seven large brilliants, alternating with trefoil-shaped groups of three smaller brilliants, the loop for suspension being set with three brilliants."
"A magnificent fan of black ostrich plumes stands for one of the important industries of the Cape. The women of Cape Colony, offered particularly the magnificent black ostrich feather fans with an "M" and a crown in diamonds, which the Princess accepted. The group of white ostrich feathers from the inhabitants of Swellendam is another delightful gift."
The De Beers Company made a presentation to the Duchess of Cornwall upon her arrival in South Africa of 173 diamonds, weighing 261 carats valued at £1,400. "The stones are of unique shape, colour, and quality. Arranged as a model of diamond mine it carries the imagination to far Kimberley, whence they came. This is a very clever piece of work, and is an exact representation of the famous mine. From the edge of the funnel of blue ground on which are deposited rough diamonds are the rails and the “tip-trucks" made from pieces of shell that burst in Kimberley during the siege. On the right of the model is a facsimile of the De Beers rock shaft in which women and children found a refuge during the bombardment. The outer casket, which is silver, stands on base of marble encrusted with rubies from de Beers mine. The design includes facsimile of the de Beers rock shaft, on the top of which Col. Kekewich’s conning tower still stands."
There were numerous illuminated addresses often presented in elaborate caskets which reflect the natural resources of the area.
Perhaps the most noteworthy was from the planters of Ceylon "For variety jewellery none of the address caskets approaches the ivory one from the planters of Ceylon, for it is set with the following stones:
Cat’s-eye, sapphire alexandrite, pink ruby, star sapphire, topaz, spinel sapphire, spinel ruby, moonstone, yellow tourmaline, amethyst, white sapphire, sapphire-cabochon, aquamarine, garnet, jar-goon, pearl, ruby-cabochon, green sapphire, chrysoberyl, star ruby, cinnamon stone, green tourmaline, and ruby. In addition to the Stones already mentioned there are 246 other rubies, 142 sapphires, and 100 pearls, in all over 600 jewels."
Sources: The Times; The Sketch; The Sphere; The Ottawa Journal; London Evening Standard; London Daily News, Royal Collection; "The Royal Tour in Canada 1901" by Joseph Popel; North Devon Gazette; The Prince and Princess of Wales's Colonial Gifts at the Imperial Institute