25 October 2016

Jewel History: Fatal Opal, Curse of Spain's Court (1898)

Detail, Louis Pierson's photographic portrait of the Countess of Castiglione, ca. 1860

"Fatal Opal, Curse of Spain's Court"
(originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune, 9 Oct 1898)

A few superstitious Spaniards believe that the long series of misfortunes that has befallen Spain and the present dynasty follows a cursed opal ring that a neglected beauty spitefully bestowed upon poor Alfonso XII [1] some four-and-twenty years ago. This is the story:

"It is an opal of large size and of most brilliant coloring, with a spark of living fire in its center. It is set in filigree gold, and has no other jewels about it. The ring belonged to that famous beauty and adventuress, the Comtesse de Castiglione [2], who was the most beautiful woman Europe ever knew, and who was in the glory of her loveliness and power during the reign of Napoleon III [3]. The Emperor was her abject slave and aroused the most violent jealousy on the part of Eugenie [4]. This dazzling woman was present at all the great functions of the Tuileries [5], and displayed her superb shoulders and bust in bewildering relief by the lowness of her corsages.

24 October 2016

The Daily Diadem: The Vladimir Tiara

The Vladimir Tiara (Image: Grand Ladies Site)

Queen Mary of the United Kingdom wears the Vladimir Tiara in a bejeweled portrait

Creepy-Crawly Royal Jewels

Queen Maxima wearing a pair of spider brooches (Photo: MARTIJN BEEKMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Halloween is nearly upon us, which means that it's time to celebrate all of the creepiest, crawliest, slither-iest jewels in royal jewelry boxes. If you like your bugs and snakes better in diamond form, this is the post for you!

23 October 2016

The Daily Diadem: The Antique Pearl Tiara

The Antique Pearl Tiara (Photo: Michel Porro/Getty Images)

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands wears the Antique Pearl Tiara at a state banquet for China's president in Amsterdam, 22 March 2014

The Sunday Ring: Queen Elizabeth II's Engagement Ring

Queen Elizabeth II's engagement ring (Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The world of royalty is filled with fabulous engagement rings, but today's ring -- Queen Elizabeth II's engagement ring -- may be my favorite of them all. It's classic, it's balanced, and it has a Romanov backstory. What could be better than that?