The then Princess Elizabeth received the necklace as a gift from the Government of the Union of South Africa for her 21st birthday.
The necklace originally consisted of a long chain of 21 graduated brilliants, each separated by a baguette and two small brilliants. The necklace was presented to her in this state by Field Marshal Smuts at a ball held at Government House in Cape Town during her parents’ tour of South Africa. She was later also presented with a single 6-carat stone which was used to make a detachable snap-piece.
The necklace was on display with the rest of her wedding gifts in 1947 at St James’s Palace. Five years later, the necklace was shortened to 15 stones, and the bracelet was created from the six stones that were removed.1