10 July 2014

Queen Sonja's Emeralds

We've talked quite a bit about the magnificent nineteenth-century parure of emerald and diamond jewels owned today by the Norwegian royal family. That set, which includes a striking tiara with a geometric design, is worn quite often by Queen Sonja of Norway at gala events. But that's not the only set of emerald jewelry that our Magpie of the Month wears. She also has a smaller demi-parure of emerald and diamond jewelry.

The first public appearance of this modern jewelry set seems to have been at the gala event held in Trondheim on the night before Princess Martha Louise's wedding in 2002. Sonja paired the necklace and earrings with a mint green gown with bright pink accents.

The set apparently includes only earrings and a necklace, as Sonja wore diamond bracelets with the demi-parure for that gala event. Unlike some of Sonja's other modern jewelry, the source of the set has never been made clear.

However, the design of the set has led some to speculate that it may have been a gift from Middle Eastern royals, who are renowned for lavishing precious gems on royals during state and official visits. The necklace includes several strands of emerald beads interspersed with diamond elements reminiscient of sets of diamond clips from the first half of the twentieth century. The earrings also feature emerald beads, dangling in three strands from a diamond element.

In De Kongelige Juveler, the wonderful documentary on royal jewelry, Queen Silvia of Sweden remarked that emerald jewelry "fits [Queen Sonja] very well, because it's her colors." Indeed, Sonja has three major sets of green jewels to choose from for various events: the magnificent historic emerald parure, the modern gold set with the green tourmalines, and this demi-parure. Which set of Sonja's green gems is your favorite?