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Famous Jewelry In The Movies, Vol. 7: The Other Boleyn Girl

Famous Jewelry In The Movies, Vol. 7: The Other Boleyn Girl
Photo: Columbia Pictures


Ok, another film we haven’t seen but still yet another piece of gorgeous jewelry with great history! In this movie, the setting is just after the end of medieval times, when dresses were big and heavy and men wore tights. Even the kings. If you’re not familiar with the storyline, King Henry the VIII is running through wives like some of us run through donuts (certainly we’re not speaking about ourselves, but we’ve read about people that eat a lot of donuts). Henry, who is married to Queen Catherine of Aragon, has had his way with Anne Boleyn’s sister, Mary, by this time, and likely fathered two children by her, although he never claimed them. At the time of his wooing of Anne, he was still married to Queen Catherine. But apparently, he’d grown tired of Catherine (and possibly concerned with having no legitimate male heir) and tried to have the marriage annulled. Which would have worked fine, since Anne’s marriage to an Earl’s son had been broken off by the Cardinal. But alas, Pope Clement VII wouldn’t grant the King an annulment and Catherine had to be dealt with. It’s largely believed that this single event began the separation of England from the Catholic Church and Church of England. 

Famous Jewelry Movies, Vol. 7: The Other Boleyn Girl

But on to the jewelry. For those of you that have seen the film, Anne wears a fantastic gold and pearl “B” necklace in several scenes. And while the one in the film is likely costume, there was an actual “B” necklace owned and worn by Anne. She’s seen in several portraits with it on. But here’s the debate that’s raged on for centuries: after Anne was beheaded, it was believed by some that the necklace was broken apart and redesigned into a piece for Jane Seymour (the King’s next love interest). Others think it was saved for Anne’s daughter and reworked (the pearls are suspiciously like some shown in portraits of a young Elizabeth I), until pieces eventually made their way into Queen Elizabeth II’s crown (the current reigning monarch)! 

Famous Jewelry Movies, Vol. 7: The Other Boleyn Girl

We do know that, as odd as it may seem, given how he disposed of her, Henry did retain some of Anne’s possessions  As suggested in the book “The Life And Death of Anne Boleyn” by Eric Ives: “It was customary to make and remake pieces for the next Tudor sovereign and in Anne’s case, items specific to her would have been almost immediately broken up. Even so, Henry repurchased from Thomas Trappers a gold bowl ‘having Queen Anne’s sapphire upon the top of the cover’ and his post-mortem inventories included a dust bowl of gold (for blotting ink) with a crown on the lid and ‘H’ and ‘A’ in enamel’. Ives goes on to describe how Henry also kept a tablet of gold bearing the monogram ‘HA’ set with small emeralds, pearls, and one diamond. Did Henry have a change of heart? Did the necklace survive, to become a part of their daughter, later to be Queen Elizabeth I’s, jewels, as some have suggested? We’ll never know. 

Famous Jewelry Movies, Vol. 7: The Other Boleyn Girl Famous Jewelry Movies, Vol. 7: The Other Boleyn Girl

But we do know that Elizabeth kept her mother close to her. Having lost her mom when she was only three, she certainly hardly knew her well, if at all. But she had her close at hand (literally), in a ring she reportedly never took off, which held portraits of mother and daughter inside a secret compartment. 

Famous Jewelry Movies, Vol. 7: The Other Boleyn Girl

Oh, to know for sure what happened to that necklace. Was it in fact broken apart and given to Jane? Did it make its way into jewels held by Anne’s daughter, who was later to become Queen and then on down the line to the current monarch? We’ll never know. What do you think?


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