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Meghan Markle's 'Whale Tail' Necklace from Her First Charity Visit in Canada Has Symbolic Meaning

Monique Jessen

During Meghan Markle’s first philanthropic outing in Canada, she accessorized a casual look with a new gold and diamond pendant, gifted to her by a local jeweler.

Visiting the charitable organization Justice For Girls on Tuesday, Meghan was spotted wearing an unusual whale tail pendant, now identified as being from local Vancouver jeweler, Hollie Bartlett.

According to the Douglas Reynolds gallery, which stocks several pieces from Bartlett’s collection, the 18-karat yellow gold Whale Tail Pendant, which retails for $1,696, was a gift from Bartlett who personally chose it from the Vancouver-based gallery, which specializes in historic and contemporary native art.

Not only are killer whales or orcas a symbol of family, community and protection, but they also feature in the jeweler’s family crest. Born in British Columbia, Bartlett is a member of the Haisla tribe, a local community of about 1,700 people, mostly living in Kitamaat Village on British Columbia’s North Coast, although the jeweler is now based in Vancouver.

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Justice For Girls Twitter
Douglas Reynolds Gallery/Facebook

“Thank you @sussexroyal for looking so beautiful while supporting our #northwestcoast #indigenous artists,” the gallery posted on social media on Thursday, adding: “Hollie’s piece is an 18k yellow gold #killerwhale pendant with a solitary #diamond. Her Whale Tail Pendants have always been a gallery favorite so we can see why it was chosen for the Duchess.”

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Photographed drinking tea and smiling, Meghan spent time at the organization, which was founded in 1999, to discuss “climate justice for girls and the rights of indigenous peoples.” Sharing two pictures of Meghan, the community non-profit took to Twitter after their meeting. “Was great to talk about the importance of a holistic approach to social justice and the power of young women’s leadership.”

Earlier in the day (and wearing a different necklace, indicating the whale pendant was gifted at the later Justice for Girls visit), Meghan visited Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, where she discussed “issues affecting women in the community.” The community center provides shelter and food to women and children in one of the poorest areas of Vancouver. They also shared a photo of Meghan, in the same outfit, smiling for a group photo.

Downtown Eastside Women's Centre

Worn with a casual cable-knit cream sweater from The Row, skinny jeans and weather-suitable Le Chameau boots, Meghan also wore her gold and diamond Hera earrings from British jeweler Emily Mortimer. The collection, named after the Greek “Queen of the Gods” was designed to celebrate women empowerment and has been a go-to piece of jewelry for Meghan in recent months.

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Meghan returned to Canada last week after herself and Prince Harry made the shock announcement that they would be stepping back from royal life. Harry has stayed behind in the U.K. to sort out details of their new arrangement with his grandmother Queen Elizabeth and other senior members of the royal family.