23 July 2014

Queen Sonja's Pearl Drop Brooch

Queen Sonja of Norway's jewel box is full of suites and parures of coordinating jewels, but our Magpie of the Month also has some stunning individual pieces. One of these is today's piece of jewelry: Sonja's diamond and pearl drop brooch.

Queen Alexandra (source)

The original owner of the brooch was Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom, who is the ancestor of Norway's present-day royals through her daughter, Queen Maud. In the portrait above, Alexandra wears the circular diamond brooch, with its pearl pendant, pinned to the left shoulder of her gown.

The circular diamond brooch features three circular "rows" of diamonds, from which is suspended a single pearl drop. The brooch can also be worn without the pendant pearl, and it has been used as a pendant itself, attached to a diamond necklace.

Although Queen Maud must have either been gifted the brooch by her mother or inherited it following Alexandra's death, I have not been able to find any photographs of Maud wearing the piece. Her daughter-in-law, Crown Princess Märtha, was apparently also not photographed in the brooch (though because Maud's jewelry was in England when she died, Märtha did not wear many of Maud's jewels). However, in more recent years, Queen Alexandra's diamond and pearl brooch has found a home in Sonja's jewelry box. Above, Crown Princess Sonja wears the brooch with the pearl pendant at the christening of her daughter, Princess Märtha Louise, in 1971.

She sometimes selects this glittering brooch for important royal events taking place during the day, like the 1999 royal wedding of Princess Alexia of Greece and Denmark.

However, she also sports the brooch for evening gala events. Above, she wears it during the celebrations for King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden's 50th birthday in 1996.

And, of course, the brooch has made several state visit appearances, including this trip to the Vatican in October 2001...

...and this state banquet in Switzerland in April 2006. The piece is especially versatile because it combines diamonds and pearls, which means Sonja can pair it with the likes Queen Maud's pearl tiara or Queen Josefina's diamond tiara. She also sometimes uses the diamond portion to supplement the diamond suite, suspending it from a collet necklace. I love to see modern queens recycling pieces with serious history, and I'd really love to see this one out and about more often!