A ‘flower’ for the Queen

Christopher Vaughan
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Canadian jeweller designs brooch for monarch

A one-of-a-kind flower brooch designed by a Canadian jeweller and presented to Queen Elizabeth II late last year was recently spotted being worn by the monarch.

The piece – set in 18K white gold and featuring Madagascar tourmaline, a white freshwater pearl and 300 diamonds – was commissioned by the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan’s office and crafted by Hillberg & Berk, a firm founded and owned by Rachel Mielke.

“It was about a year ago that they approached us and asked us if we’d be interested in doing it,” she said, during a telephone interview with the Georgian from her office in Regina, Sask.

“It’s not something you expect to be asked to do and it’s an opportunity of a lifetime. We were so surprised but so honoured to be asked to do it at the same time.”

In addition to creating contemporary pieces of jewelry, Ms. Mielke’s company aims to empower women by supporting such projects as the Malala Fund – a charity that invests in girl-centric approaches to educating adolescent girls in the developing world. 

“Rachel Mielke is a gifted designer and a savvy businesswoman who has leveraged her impressive success to support charities that benefit women and girls around the world,” said Lt.-Gov. Vaughn Solomon Schofield, in a media release. 

“As a young leader in our province, I felt that Rachel was the perfect artist to create a gift for our Queen, who has dedicated her life to public service and is an inspiration to women and girls around the globe.”

Making the brooch

Ms. Mielke spent some time researching the Queen’s jewelry collection before coming up with the brooch’s design.

“Nothing compares to having the opportunity to make this piece for the Queen.” Rachel Mielke

“I didn’t see a lot of tourmaline pieces in her current jewelry repertoire, so I felt that I was accomplishing two things ­– being true to our own design aesthetic and offering her something that was maybe a little bit different than what she has currently,” said Ms. Mielke.

“We felt like it was something that was feminine but still powerful and we felt that was a perfect representation of what the Queen means to us.”

The firm worked on the brooch for about six months, and then it was presented to the Queen by Lt.-Gov. Schofield during an audience at Buckingham Palace last October.

“When the Queen opened it, the lieutenant-governor said that she actually gasped and took it out and carefully inspected it and told her how much she really liked it,” noted Ms. Mielke.

The Queen was photographed wearing the brooch while attending a church service on Feb. 2 in the United Kingdom.

“It was such a surreal moment,” said Ms. Mielke of seeing those photos.

“Obviously we knew she had it and what her reaction was to it, but to see her actually wearing it was, I can’t even put into words that feeling – it was incredible.”

While Hillberg & Berk jewelry has been worn by such well-known women as Carrie Underwood, Sarah McLachlan, Michelle Obama, Ms. Mielke said having the Queen wear one of their pieces is truly amazing.

“Nothing compares to having the opportunity to make this piece for the Queen,” she said.

Organizations: Malala Fund

Geographic location: Madagascar, Saskatchewan, Regina, Sask. United Kingdom

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