V&A Opens Newly Refurbished Jewellery Gallery

Jewellery enthusiasts will be thrilled to hear that the V&A’s world famous William and Judith Bollinger Gallery has reopened following a three-month refurbishment. The grand reopening features 80 new pieces including Queen Victoria’s sapphire and diamond coronet and Beyoncé’s Papillon ring by Glenn Spiro.

As one of Queen Victoria’s most important jewels, the sapphire and diamond coronet was designed by Prince Albert in 1840 and made by Joseph Kitching, partner at Kitching and Abud. The arrival of the cornet marks the 200th anniversary of the births of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and will stand as the highlight of the V&A’s bicentenary celebrations.

Queen Victoria’s Sapphire and Diamond Coronet in V&A William and Judith Bollinger Gallery.
Image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum

Richard Edgcumbe, Senior Curator at the V&A, said: “Queen Victoria’s sapphire and diamond coronet is one of the great jewels of her reign. Designed by Prince Albert, it is an iconic symbol of their love, worn by Victoria as young queen and as a widow. We are entirely indebted to William and Judith Bollinger and their sons for the gift of this masterpiece of the jeweller’s art, which is so intimately associated with Victoria and Albert that it will become part of the identity of the V&A.”

Along with the coronet, 49 Art Deco vanity cases have been loaned by Kashmira Bulsara in memory of her late brother, Freddie Mercury. The cases take inspiration from Modernism as well as Persia, Ancient Egypt, China and Japan, made by, or for, Cartier, Lacloche, Van Cleef & Arpels, Charlton and other leading jewellers.

New additions will also sit alongside interactive exhibitions such as Jay Z’s photograph of Beyoncé wearing the Papillon Ring alongside a film showing the ring’s fluttering wings in action.  

Since opening in 2008, over 4.2 million people have visited the museum’s gallery which houses some of the world’s most exquisite jewellery and tells the story of European and Western jewellery from Ancient Greece and Rome to present day.  

Images courtesy of:
Jewellery Rooms 91
The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery at Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A)