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Mint artist was told to 'de-bling' the Queen; WALES NEWS SERVICE echo.newsdesk@walesonline.co.uk.

ROYAL Mint artist Jody Clark has revealed how he was told to remove the Queen's diamond encrusted necklace from his design which appears on millions of British coins.

The coin designer - whose initials are on every modern coin - was told to remove the priceless jewels from his design.

His original portrait was approved by the Queen and Mint officials - apart from the Coronation necklace around her neck.

The design appears on every British coin minted since 2015.

Jody's design included the Queen's crown, pearl drop earrings and Victorian necklace worn for official state functions. But he was told to axe the necklace from his final design.

The 36-year-old said: "I got to dress her up in what I thought would work best.

"I researched what she wears and when she wears it and decided to go for the crown she generally wears to state openings and state visits, as I thought that was quite appropriate.

"It took me about a week to sketch the design and put it on the computer, and another week and a bit for the 3D model."

It was sent to the Queen and Chancellor of the Exchequer before going back to the Royal Mint Advisory committee - a panel of experts from sculpture, architecture, history and art.

And after crowning his design the winner, they suggested some changes including removing the necklace.

He said: "I agreed with taking the necklace off, it makes for a neater design." The necklace, first worn by Queen Victoria, contains 26 giant diamonds set in silver, gold and platinum.

Queen Elizabeth II received the coronation necklace when she came to the throne and can be seen in photos sitting on the throne adorned with the 11.25 carat jewels on her neck.

The 26th diamond sits on a pendant suspended from the necklace and is 22.48 carats.

Jody, who is the youngest ever to design the effigy, won a competition just one year after starting work at the Royal Mint.

Jody, based at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, is only the fifth ever coin designer since the Queen took to the throne in 1952.

The artist, of Bowness on Windermere in the Lake District, said: "The Queen had to face a certain way, generally in profile because that works best.

"I also looked online to find pictures of her in a more natural setting. I wanted to add just a little bit of warmth to her expression, not quite smiling, but just a subtle upturn of the lips."

Father-of-one Jody said: "I got an email through from the Royal Office which just said 'Design H has been approved', so I think that means she liked it.

"To this day, I don't introduce myself as the man who designed the Queen's head, although my friends or family normally jump in and say it now to embarrass me."

CAPTION(S):

Jody Clark's initial sketch of the queen featuring the necklace. Right, the final coin

Royal Mint coin designer Jody Clark, 36, was told to remove the Queen's priceless jewels from his original design

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 16, 2017
Words:511
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