The Australian Wattle royal brooch is designed to look like a spray of golden wattle, Australia’s floral emblem.
Royal brooch composition
“The yellow diamonds, representing the Australian wattle, are backed by blue-white diamonds in the form of mimosa leaves. The brooch also incorporates diamonds in the form of the blossom of the tea tree with, at the centre, a large white diamond,” explains the Royal Collection. The bright flower is such a national treasure that it was incorporated into Australia’s coat of arms in 1912.
Set in platinum, the pavé- and claw-set diamonds include three brilliant five-carat white diamonds at the heart of each tea tree blossom (Leptospermum laevigatum) and deep yellow diamonds for the sprig of wattle (Acacia pycnantha). There are some 150 diamonds in total, according to The Queen’s Jewels by Leslie Fields.
Commissioned by the Melbourne jeweller, William Drummond & Co. Ltd. (The store, which opened in 1858 as Brush & MacDonnell, closed in 2002)
Designed and made by Paul Charles Schneller (born in Budapest, Hungary in 1899, he worked in Paris before emigrating to Australia in 1950 and died in 1959)
Nine centimeters long and 4.5 cm wide, it can be worn either way up. The back of the brooch is signed “WM Drummond Melbourne” as well as “All platinum” and features the Queen’s monogram of ERII, notes Hugh Roberts, author of The Queen’s Diamonds.
It was presented to Queen Elizabeth II by Prime Minister Robert Menzies, on behalf of the Government and People of Australia, at a State Banquet in Canberra on Feb. 16, 1954, during Elizabeth II’s first visit to Australia, and the first of a reigning monarch.
The Queen immediately wore it during her Coronation Tour of Australia in 1954 and continues to pin it to coats and dresses. It is such a large sparkly brooch that she’s worn it with virtually every colour, though yellow tones seem to show it off to best effect.
She regularly pins it to outfits at ordinary royal engagements, not just engagements tied to Australia. That’s unusual for Her Majesty. She usually wears national symbol royal brooches only at events tied to that particular country. Among the high-profile events is her 60th birthday in 1986, where the daffodils being waved by schoolchildren at Buckingham Palace were echoed by her yellow coat and royal brooch.