The Daily Telegraph - Features
Circle of Truss: the story behind Liz’s favourite necklace
For a politician famous for changing her mind, Sarah Royce-Greensill analyses the one thing our new PM will seemingly never change
There’s no such thing as a gentle first week at 10 Downing Street. Prime Minister Liz Truss’s schedule hardly allows for careful deliberation over her choice of accessories, so it’s no wonder that she’s continued to reach for the “Circle of Truss” – her faithful gold circle necklace, a piece of jewellery that’s been her constant companion all the way along her rocky road to the top.
Simple yet distinctive, the necklace features a gold hoop fastened to a fine gold chain. On close inspection, the circle and its two connectors look as though they’re made of beaded or textured gold. One Telegraph columnist, who has studied the many, many photographs of Truss wearing the necklace, says she too has one almost identical, “from John Lewis”. To my knowledge, no brand has stepped forward to claim it – but her office confirms it was a gift from her husband, which puts paid to the idea that it was either chosen by a stylist (FYI: she doesn’t have one) or a benevolent act of purchase from an arts and crafts market in her South West Norfolk constituency. Unlike her £4.50 Claire’s earrings, which became the subject of much ridicule, the necklace’s anonymity could be one of the reasons she likes it so much. Because she really, really does like it.
She’s worn it with blazers and shirt dresses in every colour she owns. She’s worn it in the daytime, beneath crisp white shirts, and in the evening, with a lace-sleeved black dress for the Lord Mayor’s Easter Banquet. It sits at the perfect length for the modest V-neck silhouettes she prefers, yet she’s also worn it atop crew-neck shift dresses and layered it over polo necks. You couldn’t quite see it fully beneath the pussybow blouse she wore at the G7 summit, but it was there. She usually pairs it with gold door-knocker-style earrings – she has a few pairs that she rotates, but the necklace, much like her vote in the 2016 Brexit referendum, remains. From televised leadership debates to farm visits on the campaign trail; cabinet meetings to Prince Philip’s memorial service; NATO summits to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, it is quite possibly the hardest-working item in the new PM’s wardrobe. Perhaps she never takes it off.
The necklace certainly seems to be a lucky charm. Truss was first pictured wearing it in September 2019, shortly after Boris Johnson appointed her as International Trade Secretary. She wore it for the International Trade Dinner that month, and again at the 2019 Conservative Party Conference. It quickly became part of her everyday wardrobe – a signature piece, like the Queen’s pearls. Before its appearance, she’d experimented with bright orange, oversized beads, a dainty diamond Monica Vinader design, long gold pendants and a more bohemianstyle gold charm necklace. In September last year, as she was appointed Foreign Secretary, she trialled a much chunkier version, with a hoop held between thick gold links. But she soon returned to the daintier and more versatile original. If it ain’t broke.
So the necklace is a symbol of Truss’s political ascent. And there are also subconscious reasons that Truss might be so fond of this necklace. Circles symbolise eternity, wholeness and perfection. A never-ending hoop is used to signify unbroken love and commitment, whether on a wedding band or as part of a necklace. On a subconscious level, humans are drawn to the geometry of a perfect circle; it’s a universal symbol that spans cultures and centuries, representing everything from the perpetuity of time to the potential of the digit zero. “[ The circle] has a magical value as a protective agent, and indicates the end of the process of individuation, of striving towards a psychic wholeness and self-realisation,” wrote Nadia Julien in The Mammoth Dictionary of Symbols.
Perhaps Truss is striving towards a psychic wholeness. Or perhaps the Circle of Truss has become like a second skin, a no-brainer accessory that she reaches for every morning. Like most jewellery, there’s probably an element of sentimentality – in fact one would hope so, given the giver. But it’s clear that she’s found the one that works, and she’s sticking with it. A works-witheverything accessory that serves as a wearable reminder of your career highs so far – isn’t that what every woman wants in her jewellery box?