Raised in relative obscurity, Alexandra was thrust into the spotlight when she married Queen Victoria’s eldest son in 1863. Hers was a beauty that turned heads, and it was matched by a style that spoke brilliantly of her charming and vivacious spirit.
For many, she was a breath of fresh air, bringing a lightness of touch and sparkle of originality to a stiff and staid society. Her particular genius lay in the way she embraced existing traditions but gave them a twist that was uniquely her own.
Nowhere was this more evident than in her love of jewellery. While her favourite motifs had long been popular, the innovative way in which she wore them meant she was setting trends well into the twentieth century. The diamonds stars that flickered across the bodice of her gowns and serpents that curled around her wrist now return again in a collection that pays tribute to their wearer.
“What’s remarkable about Queen Alexandra’s style is that she took inspiration from the past and made it relevant for the future,” says Sara Prentice, Creative Director. “This is at the heart of what we’re doing at Garrard, bringing our heritage to life in designs that work for the modern woman.”
At the heart of the collection are Signature Serpent and Starlight, both informed by the motifs so dearly loved by Queen Alexandra. These are complemented by Filigree, which takes its inspiration from a delicate nineteenth-century technique. Extensive research has gone into developing a modern-day version of this technique that retains its exquisite delicacy.
“What’s remarkable about our muse's style is that she took inspiration from the past and made it relevant for the future” Sara Prentice Creative Director
Weaving through Signature Serpent and Starlight are purple sapphires that again find their source in the Queen’s life. At her marriage and on important celebrations she was gifted amethyst-studded jewels by her brother-in-law, Tsar Alexander III of Russia. Lilac and purple then became her chosen colours for the gowns she wore, the interiors she lived in and the jewellery she commissioned.
Whether attending Royal Ascot or engaged in charity work, the Queen was expected to fulfil many roles in her life, and she became adept at mixing and matching jewels to great effect. Muse now brings this idea up to date, offering styles that can be combined to express all the different versions of herself that a modern woman wants to be.
Pair the delicate effect of a Filigree necklace with the curl of a Signature Serpent ring; offset the drama of earrings and earcuffs with the flicker of a starry bangle. From vivacious to romantic, playful to brilliant, there are choices to enhance every look and make it truly unique.
A closer look at Muse reveals ever more layers of detail. Hidden within the designs are signature motifs from Garrard’s broader royal heritage. These include the diamond and dot pattern of a tiara made for Queen Alexandra’s daughter-in-law, Queen Mary, and the regal motif from the Sovereign’s Sceptre. A wealth of histories, influences and legacies fuse in this collection that can tell as many stories and those it will go on to create.
“The great joy of Muse is that it began with a royal icon, a trendsetter of her time, and it expanded to take in so many aspects of her life,” says Sara Prentice. “The more we researched, the more we found Queen Alexandra remained an inspiration for the women setting styles in high society today.”