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Queen hires new Crown
Jeweller - after 160 years
of Garrard

16/07/07.  For more than 160 years, Garrard of Mayfair has proudly carried
the responsibility of being the official Crown Jeweller.

Since the days of Queen Victoria, the luxury jewellery house has
maintained and restored the Crown jewels, making sure they are
resplendent for grand State occasions.

But now the company has been told its services are no longer required,
and the role will instead be handed to a small family business in the Home

The decision was announced in a short appendix to yesterday's Court
Circular issued by Buckingham Palace, which said the Queen was
'pleased to appoint' Kentbased Harry Collins.

According to the Palace, it was simply 'time for a change'.

But it also comes after a gradual image shift for Garrard, which in 1996
appointed Jade Jagger - daughter of Rolling Stone Sir Mick Jagger - as its
creative director.

Among her designs were gold chain-mail underwear, diamond-studded
revolver pendants and devil-themed trinkets.

Then came the appointment of raunchy pop singer Christina Aguilera as
the company's new face, a move some regarded as an 'embarrassment' to
the Royal Family, and the opening of a glitzy store in Beverly Hills,

Mr Collins, on the other hand, runs a quaint 'antique and modern jewellery'
business in Tunbridge Wells High Street.

The 51-year-old became a favourite of the Queen more than two years ago,
after a recommendation from a friend.

He has five dogs and his wife, Jadie, owns several American Quarter
Horses and gives cowboystyle riding displays. From July 21, he will care
for the Crown Jewels and the Queen's personal jewellery collection. He
will travel to a workshop at Buckingham Palace at least once a week to
clean and mend the Queen's many priceless crowns, tiaras, necklaces and

Queen Victoria originally entrusted the position of Crown Jeweller to
Garrard in 1843 and it has held the appointment ever since. The title
currently belongs to Garrard employee David V Thomas, 65, a Welsh

son who has carried the Queen's personal warrant since 1991. She was
not inclined to replace him until his retirement this month and Garrard will
still retain three Royal Warrants.

Garrard was unavailable for comment.

A spokesman for Buckingham Palace said: 'Mr Collins has been working
with the Queen as a private jeweller for some time.

'There was no problem with Garrard, it was just decided it was time for a