31 January 2014

This Week in Royal Jewels: January 23-30


January 23-30, 2014

It's time again for our top ten royal jewel stories of the week!

10. Queen Sofia of Spain brought out her workhorse strand of multicolored pearls again this week, this time donning them to attend a performance of Tristan and Isolde at the Royal Theatre in Madrid.

9. Pearls were also the bauble of choice for the Duchess of Cornwall, who wore a pair of large pearl earrings for a visit to an Essex pub with Prince Charles.

8. The most fabulously bejeweled woman in the principality of Monaco, Princess Caroline, celebrated her 57th birthday on January 23. Here's to many sparkling years to come!

7. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden (still on crutches following a minor skiing accident) wore a statement necklace during a visit to Dusseldorf with her husband, Prince Daniel; the two traveled to Germany to promote trade relations.

6. Delicate gold jewelry and a whopper of a cake hat were on the menu for Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands during a visit to the University of Utrecht.

5. A series of rare photographic prints that belonged to Queen Victoria will go on display at the Getty Center in Los Angeles on February 4th. If you're in southern California, be sure to stop in and see some of the portraits that include Victorian-era royal jewels!

4. Another day of her official visit to Germany, another statement necklace for Crown Princess Victoria. This one, which features enormous dark stones, was worn in Hamburg.

3. Here's hoping for some jewelry surprises coming up from the Duchess of Cambridge; it was announced this week that she'll be attending a gala event for the National Portrait Gallery on February 11.

2. This weekend might provide us with one of the best opportunities for Grimaldi jewel-spotting for some time. It's been widely reported that Andrea Casiraghi, elder son of Princess Caroline, will marry Tatiana Santo Domingo in a Catholic ceremony in Switzerland over the weekend. It's been announced that Valentino designed Tatiana's wedding gown -- here's hoping that she pairs it with bridal jewelry, too!

1. While many of the Windsors are on vacation, Princess Eugenie wore a silver Fabergé Treillage egg pendant while attending the jeweler's Big Egg Hunt Cocktail Countdown party in New York. Let's hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship between princess and jewelry house!

NOTES, PHOTO CREDITS, AND LINKS
1. Banner image: detail of The Marriage of George, Duke of York to Princess Mary of Teck (1894) by Laurits Tuxen. Image in the public domain; source here.

30 January 2014

A Tiara for Sofia?

Sofia Hellqvist at the wedding of Princess Madeleine in 2013 [1]
Once again, rumors are flying in Sweden that Prince Carl Philip, the only son of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, will soon announce his engagement to his long-time girlfriend, Sofia Hellqvist. The prince has been dating the former model and reality television star for three years, and she's been invited to several major royal events, including the christening of Princess Estelle and Princess Madeleine's wedding.

The newest set of engagement rumors reported by Swedish gossip magazines center on the couple's plans to move into Villa Solbacken, the former residence of Prince Bertil and Princess Lilian. Carl Philip inherited the home from his uncle in 1997, with the stipulation that Bertil's widow would be able to continue to live there until her death. Princess Lilian died last year, and Stoppa Pressarna! (a publication that sounds not even a little sensational) reports that Carl Philip is beginning renovations on the property. The article stresses that Carl Philip and Sofia don't plan to move into the home together until after they are married, even though the pair are already cohabiting. Svensk Damtidning thinks that the pair are surely planning to start a family of their own soon, and their article even speculates that maybe they'll marry at a church in Sofia's hometown.

These kinds of rumors have popped up occasionally since the royal court confirmed the couple's relationship, and surely one of these days they'll be true. All I know is this: royal weddings in Scandinavia are some of the sparkliest around, and if the papers are speculating about a wedding, it's time for us to start speculating about a wedding tiara!

Clockwise from top left: Queen Sofia's tiara [2]; the Boucheron laurel wreath tiara [3];
the six-button tiara [4]; and the Connaught diamond tiara [5]
So shall we start taking wagers? Here are my top four choices for a tiara for Sofia, should she decide to use one from the Bernadotte family vaults:

Queen Sofia's Tiara: Okay, I've chosen this one primarily because of the name that the royal court uses for the piece. It's probably a bit too severe for a bridal tiara -- it is known as the "nine prong," after all -- and it is notoriously difficult to wear. But it's also a tiara that originally belonged to Sofia of Nassau, the Swedish queen who shares our potential princess's first name, and it sparkles like you wouldn't believe.

The Boucheron Laurel Wreath Tiara: Sofia would have to borrow this piece from her potential sister-in-law, Crown Princess Victoria, who inherited the tiara last year from the late Princess Lilian. Since Carl Philip seems to be patterning his royal role after that of his uncle Bertil (he's taken on some of Bertil's patronages, and he does own the late prince's home), it wouldn't surprise me at all if Sofia patterns her own potential royal role after Lilian's. What better way to demonstrate that than wearing one of Lilian's most important pieces of jewelry? The tiara also has another Sofia connection -- it was given by Queen Sofia to Princess Margaret of Connaught as a wedding present.

The Six-Button Tiara: again, I'm thinking of tiaras with links to the late Princess Lilian. This piece features diamond rosette buttons that originally adorned the crown of the first Bernadotte king. The buttons were made into a tiara for Princess Lilian sometime in the last half of the twentieth century. It's not terribly bridal, but maybe it would look more appropriate for a wedding when paired with a veil?

The Connaught Diamond Tiara: one of the most romantic-looking pieces in the Swedish royal collection, I'm always shocked that it's only been worn by a bride once (that would be Princess Christina in 1974). It's delicate, it's an Edwardian heirloom -- what more could a new princess want?

So, what do you all think? Will Sofia and Carl Philip be heading down the aisle soon? Which tiara would be your favorite for this potential princess -- one of these pieces, another Bernadotte tiara, or a completely new sparkler?

NOTES, PHOTO CREDITS, AND LINKS
1. Cropped version of a photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
2. Cropped version of a photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
3. Cropped version of a photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
4. Cropped version of a photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
5. Cropped version of a photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.

29 January 2014

Jewelry 101: Parure

Sapphire parure of Queen Marie-Amélie of France, on display at the Louvre [1]
Jewelry 101: Parure

Another day, another new feature unveiled here at The Court Jeweller. This is the first post in a series that explores the terminology used to describe the royal jewels we've been happily gazing at here so far. Our first jewelry term is one that I've received many requests about: the parure.

Like lots of the words used to refer to various aspects of jewelry, the word parure is a French term. It's a word that doesn't really have an English equivalent; it refers to a matched set of pieces of jewelry that are intended to be worn together. The word comes from the French verb parer, which appropriately means "to adorn."

Empress Joséphine [3]
Jewelers have been producing parures for centuries. The sets gained popularity in France with the ancien régime during the seventeenth century. These parures would have greatly resembled the sets that we see today; they included brooches, necklaces, rings, and earrings, but some of the later eighteenth-century parures also featured additional ornaments like shoulder brooches, shoe buckles, and even jeweled sword hilts [2]. But these early parures didn't include one of the pieces we're accustomed to seeing in more modern examples -- there were no tiaras in the sets. 

Tiaras began to be incorporated into parures at the French imperial court of Napoleon I. A number of the earliest examples of complete parures that have survived to the current day were once worn in France during this period. Attempting to emulate the splendor of the previous royal courts, Napoleon purchased parures for his first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais (see photograph at left), and his second, Marie Louise of Austria. His favored jewelers included Marie-Étienne Nitot and Christophe-Frédéric Bapst, both of whom produced parures for the French court that are still worn by royal women today. A parure of cameos from the French imperial period, often attributed to Bapst, is worn by the Bernadotte women in Sweden; the tiara from the set has become an important bridal tiara for the royal family. Bapst is also frequently credited with the emerald parure that today belongs to the royal family of Norway.

Silvia of Sweden [4]
Jewel historians use several versions of the term parure to classify sets of jewels. A parure that consists of at least three pieces of matched jewelry is generally referred to as a full parure. These suites of jewels can consist of a number of pieces, but they often include a tiara, a necklace, a pair of earrings, bracelets, and at least one brooch. The sets also sometimes include additional pieces, like rings, hair combs, or even jeweled fans or watches.

Several royal collections include impressive full parures. The Leuchtenberg sapphire parure, owned today by the Swedish royal family, was constructed as a full parure by Nitot (see photograph at right). It originally consisted of a tiara, a necklace, a brooch, a pair of earrings, and a set of four hairpins. (The original earrings were separated from the rest of the parure at some point; later, two of the hairpins were converted into a replacement pair.) The Danish royal family possesses a ruby parure that also dates to the Napoleonic era. This particular parure was made for Napoleon's fiancée, Désirée Clary (who later became queen of Sweden). Pieces of the set were worn by Désirée at Napoleon and Joséphine's coronation; today, the ruby set is worn by Crown Princess Mary. (The tiara from this parure was not a part of Désirée's original set; her parure included a set of hair ornaments that were later adapted into the tiara, which has been altered several times.)

Queen Elizabeth II [5]
A newer full parure can be found in the jewelry collection of Queen Elizabeth II. Her aquamarine parure consists of diamond and aquamarine jewels that were given to her in the middle of the twentieth century by the Brazilian government (see photograph at left). Although the pieces were gifted on separate occasions, they are designed to be worn together. The set includes a necklace, earrings, a bracelet, and a brooch. The queen decided to supplement her parure by commissioning a tiara from a separate jeweler (that would be Garrard); because it was constructed later and by a different jeweler, it is technically not part of the original parure, but it was designed to coordinate with the existing pieces.

Matched sets of jewelry that include fewer pieces are generally called demi-parures. Precisely how many pieces a set must have to be a demi rather than a full parure varies according to different sources. Some say a demi-parure only includes two matched pieces, but I've seen the term used more frequently when describing parures that lack a tiara. One of the most notable demi-parures currently in royal hands is the amethyst demi-parure owned by Elizabeth II. The amethysts originally belonged to Queen Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent. The set consists of a necklace, three brooches, a set of hair combs, and a pair of earrings. As you can see, this set would fit into the latter categorization of "demi-parure" -- it has plenty of matched pieces to qualify it for full parure status, but it doesn't have a tiara, and so it is apparently downgraded. Another significant royal demi-parure can be found in Sweden: the family's pink topaz set (again, this set includes several major pieces but lacks a tiara).

Margrethe II of Denmark [7]
There's also a term for a parure that was cobbled together from similar pieces of jewelry: a married parure. One of the best examples of this can be found in Denmark. Queen Margrethe II often wears a "parure" that consists of a diamond and pearl tiara, necklace, brooch, and earrings (see photograph at right). But the pieces were not constructed by the same jeweler, and they weren't made as a set; the tiara and brooch both belonged to Louise of the Netherlands, while the necklace and earrings were wedding gifts to her granddaughter, Louise of Sweden. But the jewels were left to the family's property trust as a set, and they are frequently worn together [6]. The Swedes also have a married parure in their collection -- it consists of a number of cut-steel pieces that once belonged to Queen Hortense of Holland.

It's much more unusual to see major parures worn outside of royal circles today. The official state duties that royal women attend offer them a rare chance to wear these full sets of matched jewels. You'll see full parures in various forms at state banquets, royal weddings, and other white-tie occasions. Which royal parure is your favorite set?

NOTES, PHOTO CREDITS, AND LINKS
1. Detail of photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
2. See the Encyclopedia Britannica entry for more.
3. Detail of François Gérard's Joséphine en Costume de Sacre, available via Wikimedia Commons; original here.
4. Detail of photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
5. Detail of photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
6. See Trond Norén Isaksen's blog for more.
7. Photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.

28 January 2014

Margaret of Connaught's Laurel Wreath Necklace

Crown Princess Margareta [1]
As the month draws to a close, so does our foray into the jewel collection of Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden, granddaughter of Queen Victoria and ancestor of many of the current Scandinavian royals. Today, let's wrap up with a look at one of her wedding gifts: her laurel wreath necklace, worn today as a tiara.

Crown Princess Margareta [3]
The necklace, which was made by Boucheron, was given to Margaret by her new husband's grandmother, Queen Sofia of Sweden. The piece may have been a stock item in Boucheron's collection rather than a specific commission by the queen, as another nearly identical necklace by Boucheron was auctioned at Christie's in 2010 [2]. That necklace differs from Margaret's in only one aspect: Margaret's appears to have one additional diamond suspended from the center of the necklace, something that the auctioned necklace lacks. (This additional diamond drop is also visible when the piece is worn as a tiara.) Christie's notes that the auctioned necklace was made in the late nineteenth century, which could certainly also be true for Margaret's necklace -- she received hers in 1905. The auctioned necklace is also listed as a "necklace-tiara," which suggests that both pieces were intended to be convertible from the start.

But Margaret apparently never wore the piece as a tiara; she was only ever photographed wearing it as a necklace. The two photographs above show her wearing the necklace with full Swedish court dress, including her Irish lace veil and the diamond "forget-me-not" tiara she received from her parents as a wedding gift. The necklace was not worn in public as a tiara until more than half a century after Margaret's death, when her daughter-in-law, Princess Lilian, began wearing the piece to official functions.

Lilian obtained the right to wear the laurel wreath after she began a relationship with Margaret's third son, Prince Bertil. The laurel wreath necklace is one of the jewels that he inherited from his mother; another one of the pieces that he received was the scarab necklace that we recently discussed. Lilian and Bertil had something of a star-crossed love affair. They met and fell in love in England during the war, but Lilian was already married to someone else. Even though she and her husband amicably divorced, marriage to Bertil was still out of the question for more complicated reasons.

Marrying Lilian would have caused Bertil to lose his place in the Swedish succession; Bertil's grandfather, the king, would not have approved their "unequal" marriage. It wasn't uncommon for Swedish royal men to chose love over titles (two of Bertil's brothers did, in fact) [4], but Bertil needed to keep his place in line so that he could serve as regent for his nephew, Carl Gustaf, should he have become king before his eighteenth birthday. (Because Carl Gustaf's father had died in a plane crash, which led to him becoming the heir to the throne at the age of four, this was a real possibility.) So Bertil and Lilian waited to get married, choosing duty to the family over legal recognition of their relationship.

Crown Princess Victoria [6]
But although their relationship could not be legally sanctioned, Lilian was accepted as a member of the royal family. This tiara was actually one of the public symbols of that acceptance. She wore it in public for the first time in 1972 at the 90th birthday celebrations of Bertil's father, King Gustaf VI Adolf [5]. Even today, it's highly unusual for unmarried partners of royal men to wear tiaras to family occasions, and when it's done, it generally signals that they are considered a part of the royal fold, marriage certificate or not. (See also: Bertil and Lilian's great-nephew, Prince Gustav of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, and his partner, Carina Axelsson .)

After Carl XVI Gustaf became king, he granted permission for his Uncle Bertil to marry Lilian and keep his royal titles. They wed in Drottningholm Palace in 1976, and Lilian officially became a Swedish princess. She attended many official functions with the royal family over the years, including the Nobel ceremonies, and she often wore her mother-in-law's laurel wreath at those events. She became an important part of the royal family, even acting as a sort of surrogate grandmother for Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip, and Princess Madeleine.

The laurel wreath tiara became Lilian's personal property on the death of Prince Bertil in 1997. After suffering from Alzheimer's disease, Lilian died in March 2013. She made sure that this heirloom tiara stayed with the Bernadottes, bequeathing it to her great-niece, Crown Princess Victoria [7]. Victoria wore the tiara for the first time in public at her sister's wedding this summer (see the photograph at left) -- a lovely gesture that provided a reminder of Lilian at an event she would certainly have loved to have attended [8].

NOTES, PHOTO CREDITS, AND LINKS
1. Digitally enhanced version of a photograph in the public domain; original image available here.
2. See this feature on Christie's website for a photograph of the nearly identical necklace/tiara; the page also has information on the piece's provenance.
3. Photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
4. Margaret's second son, Prince Sigvard, lost his royal title when he married Erica Patzek in 1934; her fourth son, Prince Carl Johan, lost his title after marrying Kerstin Wijkmark in 1946. Only July 2, 1951, both Sigvard and Carl Johan were given the title of "Count of Wisborg" by Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg. Both men were therefore members of the unintroduced nobility of Sweden; see here for more.
5. See Sofia Svanholm's obituary of Princess Lilian.
6. Photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
7. Details of the inheritance of Lilian's jewels were made public last month. As expected, the laurel wreath tiara was listed as one of the possessions left to Crown Princess Victoria. But the will also notes that a "diadem of steel, white gold and diamonds" was also left to Victoria. Royal jewel lovers have been scratching their heads over this one, as it does not match a description of any tiaras we have seen in public before -- the steel tiaras worn by the Bernadottes are already in the family jewel foundation. Could we perhaps have another mystery tiara waiting in the wings?
8. A version of this post originally appeared at A Tiara a Day in December 2013.

27 January 2014

Jewel History: Jewels for Miss Roosevelt (1906)

Alice Roosevelt Longworth, ca. 1903 [1]
"Jewels for Miss Roosevelt"
(originally appeared in the Washington Post on 26 Jan 1906)

The New York American says diamond cutters are working night and day on the bewildering array of jewels which the friends of Miss Alice Roosevelt are having set in special designs as wedding gifts [2].

Alice Roosevelt and
Nicholas Longworth [3]
At two big Tiffany establishments gems that equal any ever turned out, representing the highest art of the jeweler, and the most precious ever to be found, are being embedded in various handsome articles.

One of the most beautiful, it is said, is a pearl collar of ten strands, the largest ever made by Tiffany, and worth $31,000. A diamond tiara, containing 500 stones, is another, and there are also two diamond collars and two bow-knots of diamonds.

Those who will present these gifts to Miss Roosevelt ask that their names be kept secret. It is understood, however, that two diamond lockets will be given by Secretary of War Taft. Miss Carow, sister of Mrs. Roosevelt, and Mrs. Douglass Robinson, sister of the President, are having work done at Tiffany's.

At Tiffany's Forest Hill plant two of the largest presents which, in all probability, Miss Roosevelt will receive are being finished. One is a magnificent silver service, ordered by the Rough Riders' Association, and a Krag-Jorgensen rifle, fashioned out of solid 22-carat gold, an exact full-sized working model, to be presented by officers of the United States army. The rifle has been patterned from one used by Company H, First New Jersey Regiment, and Miss Roosevelt's monogram will be worked in diamonds on its stock.

The Roosevelt-Longworth engagement ring, said to have been made in Washington, according to the New York American, was made by Tiffany in New York. It is not a cluster ring, but one large 5-carat stone set in platinum.

NOTES, PHOTO CREDITS, AND LINKS
1. Detail of a hand-tinted photograph of Alice Roosevelt; image in the public domain; source here.
2. Alice Roosevelt, nicknamed "Princess Alice," was the eldest child of President Theodore Roosevelt. She married Rep. Nicholas Longworth (R-Ohio) at the White House in 1906. The marriage lasted until Longworth's death but was not especially successful.
3. Picture postcard celebrating the wedding of Alice Roosevelt and Nicholas Longworth; source here.

26 January 2014

Jewel Detective: Maria Pavlovna of Russia

Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna (the Elder) of Russia
Time to test your jewel knowledge with some Romanov baubles! Can you identify the jewels worn here by Maria Pavlovna the Elder?

NOTES, PHOTO CREDITS, AND LINKS
1. Photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.

25 January 2014

Saturday Sparkler: The Nine Provinces Tiara

Astrid of Belgium wears the Nine Provinces Tiara [1]
For a royal house that has reigned over a country for more than a century, the Belgian royal family has a surprisingly small number of tiaras in their vaults. There are several reasons for this -- pieces have been sold, inherited by women who married into other families, etc. -- but the family has managed to hang on to one of their sparkliest heirloom pieces: the Nine Provinces Tiara, which is worn by the nation's queen.

Astrid of Belgium [2]
The tiara, which first belonged to Princess Astrid of Sweden, is approaching its ninetieth birthday. When Astrid married the future King Leopold III of Belgium, the sparkler was among her wedding presents. It was made in 1926 by Van Bever, a Belgian jeweler, and given to Astrid on behalf of the Belgian people. The original tiara was a meander bandeau topped by a series of diamonds on spikes. It was able to be worn with or without the top pieces from the start.

But Astrid innovated, adding a series of interlocking diamond arches over the top of the large diamonds, giving the entire tiara a far more solid appearance. Today, it is generally worn as a complete piece, although Queen Paola has worn the meander base of the tiara alone as a choker necklace. Additionally, the piece can be worn with the arches but without the diamond spikes, making it one of the most versatile royal tiaras in Belgian hands.

After Astrid's death in 1935, her husband, King Leopold III, inherited the tiara. His second wife, Lilian, never wore the complete piece, though she did wear various components of the tiara, including using the meander section as a bracelet. But the tiara itself has only been worn by Belgian queens. When Fabiola de Mora y Aragón married Leopold and Astrid's son, King Baudouin, in 1960, she received the piece, even wearing it on her wedding day.

When Baudouin died unexpectedly in 1993, the dowager queen passed the tiara to the new queen consort, Paola, who wore it until last year, when her husband abdicated in favor of their elder son. Today, the tiara is worn by Queen Mathilde, the first Belgian-born queen of the country. She posed in the tiara for her first official portrait as consort, although she chose to wear only the meander bandeau rather than the full version of the tiara. She'll continue to have sole use of the tiara until the day that her elder daughter, Elisabeth, becomes queen. She'll be the first ever queen regnant in Belgium should the monarchy survive to her accession [3].

NOTES, PHOTO CREDITS, AND LINKS
1. Photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
2. Detail of Herman Richir's Portrait de la Reine Astrid; source here.
3. A version of this post originally appeared at A Tiara a Day in June 2013.

24 January 2014

This Week in Royal Jewels: January 17-22


January 17-22, 2014

This week, I'm doing the royal jewel news roundup in a new format. Here are my choices for the top ten pieces of jewel news of the past week!

10. To welcome the Colombian president and first lady to Zarzuela Palace, Queen Sofia doubled up on necklaces, wearing both a golden pendant necklace and a longer golden chain. 

Princess Ingrid Alexandra [2]
9. The future queen of Norway, Princess Ingrid Alexandra, celebrated her tenth birthday this week. The new official portraits released by the royal court show the young princess wearing some delicate, age-appropriate jewels (and posing with a truly impressive bouquet of golden balloons!).

8. At Sotheby's in London, an objet d'art from the collection of the late Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte of Luxembourg fetched more than 150,000 pounds at auction; a coral demi-parure that may also have belonged to her failed to sell.

7. The ladies over at Luxarazzi have also done some more detective work on the jewels of the Luxembourg collection; be sure to have a look at their research on an emerald bracelet that once belonged to Grand Duchess Elizabeth Mikhailovna!

6. Willem-Alexander and Máxima continued their introductory visits this week, traveling to Rome to meet with the Italian president. The queen wore jewels of gray pearls and diamonds for the event, including a striking brooch and a large bracelet. (And, of course, a hat that would make Peter Pan all kinds of envious.)

5. For a visit to King's College Hospital, the Duchess of Cornwall donned a pair of clover brooches. She's apparently a fan of paired brooches; she's also been seen in a similar pair of turquoise flower brooches, as well as a pair of gorgeous pansy brooches.

4. Queen Elizabeth II satisfied the media by collecting flowers after church on Sunday; she also satisfied jewel watchers by wearing her Pearl Quatrefoil Brooch, which apparently arrived in her jewelry box some time in the 1980s. The monarch also celebrated another milestone this week: the birth of her fourth great-grandchild, Mia Grace Tindall.

3. For the second time in as many weeks, Queen Máxima wore a large diamond and aquamarine brooch, this time during a visit from French president Francois Hollande to the palace in The Hague. She wore the same brooch last week for a new year's reception in Amsterdam.

2. Princess Beatrix chose diamond, amethyst, and pearl jewelry for a ballet gala in Amsterdam; the amethyst flower brooch is apparently a new piece for the former queen.

1. A rare blue diamond has been discovered in the same South African diamond mine that also yielded one of the most famous royal diamonds of all time: the Cullinan diamond. The blue diamond weighs nearly thirty carats -- the Telegraph notes that it's about the size of an acorn -- and could be worth tens of millions of pounds. (It's worth noting that the Telegraph article mistakenly states that the Cullinan was only cut into two stones, when nine major diamonds were yielded from the stone, along with numerous brilliants.)

NOTES, PHOTO SOURCES, AND LINKS
1. Banner image: detail of The Marriage of George, Duke of York to Princess Mary of Teck (1894) by Laurits Tuxen. Image in the public domain; source here.
2. Photo source: Sølve Sundsbø/the Norwegian Royal Court. Additional photographs are available here on the Norwegian royal family's website.

23 January 2014

Review: Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration

Caroline de Guitaut's Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration (2012) [1]
Without many of the wonderful books published over the years on royal jewelry, this blog wouldn't be able to exist. I get lots of questions from readers about which books I recommend for their growing collections, so I thought I'd do one better and review some of the major books here at The Court Jeweller. We're kicking off this series with one of the books that came out to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II -- Caroline de Guitaut's Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration.

First off, the specs. This book is deceptively small, but it includes 120 pages of information about the diamonds in the British royal collection, along with detailed photographs of selected pieces. Caroline de Guitaut, the book's author, is the Curator of Decorative Arts for the Royal Collection. The book itself was published by the Royal Collection Trust as a "souvenir album" and companion to the summer 2012 exhibition of the queen's diamonds at Buckingham Palace. It's not the big, comprehensive book to come out of the Diamond Jubilee -- that would be Hugh Roberts's excellent The Queen's Diamonds. But this one is considerably lighter, smaller, and less expensive. If you're new to the world of British royal jewels, I would start here rather than splashing out the money for Roberts's book. If you like this one, the bigger one will definitely also be your cup of tea. If you've already got the Roberts book, though, I'm not sure you need this one, too.

Queen Elizabeth II [2]
The book features approximately twenty of the most significant and historical diamond pieces currently in the Royal Collection, including crowns, tiaras, necklaces, earrings, brooches, and bracelets. A significant amount of space is devoted to the Cullinan Diamond in its various forms and mountings. There are pieces here from the Greville inheritance, from the Delhi Durbar suite, and from Queen Victoria's coronation jewels. Two pieces have been selected (the South African diamonds and the Williamson brooch) from among the current queen's personal jewels. And some of the big diamond tiaras are represented, too: Queen Alexandra's Russian Kokoshnik, the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland, and the Delhi Durbar. Photographs of individual pieces are interspersed with portraits of royal women actually wearing the diamonds.

But rather unusually for books on royal jewels, Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration also discusses a few other bejeweled items, including some pieces that would have belonged to male royals. I like this inclusion -- jeweled objects are so often overlooked when royal collections are considered, but each of these four pieces (Queen Alexandra's coronation fan, the Jaipur sword, Frederick the Great's snuff box, and George IV's sword) is given the same treatment as the wearable objects, including close-up photographs and provenance information.

Along with the individual entries, de Guitaut also provides a history of diamonds in the royal family's possession and a helpful glossary of jewel terminology. All in all, while this book is nowhere close to covering the breadth of the diamonds in the royal collection, it's a carefully and deliberately curated look at some of the most significant pieces owned by the Windsors. For those of us who weren't lucky enough to visit Buckingham Palace and see the Diamond Jubilee exhibit in person, this little souvenir volume is also our chance to experience a bit of the glitter in our own homes.


NOTES, PHOTO CREDITS, AND LINKS
1. Image of book cover from Amazon.com.

2. Detail of photograph of Elizabeth II, available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.

22 January 2014

Margaret of Connaught's Khedive Tiara

Crown Princess Margareta, ca. 1908 [1]
Margaret of Connaught had a number of tiaras at her disposal during her tenure as crown princess of Sweden, but none of the others are quite as romantic and sentimental as today's piece: the Cartier tiara given to her as a wedding gift by the Khedive of Egypt.

Margaret of Connaught [2]
The Khedive tiara's story begins even before the piece's creation. Margaret, the niece of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, was on a royal tour with her parents, who wanted to marry their daughters off to suitable royal spouses. They had their eye on the future king of Sweden, Gustaf VI Adolf, as a prospective partner for Margaret's sister, Princess Patricia. They rendezvous-ed with Gustaf Adolf in Cairo, where he immediately fell in love -- but with the wrong sister. It didn't matter, in the end; Margaret was in love with him, too. Gustaf Adolf proposed to her during a dinner at the British consulate in Cairo, and the two were married at Windsor in 1905.

As the young couple had met in his country, it was important that the Khedive of Egypt -- the governor of the country, which was ruled by the British at the time -- give them a suitable wedding present. He commissioned Cartier to make this tiara for the occasion. The piece, which has alternately been described as a scroll tiara and as a tiara featuring marguerite motifs, bears considerable similarity to another piece made for the Egyptians at roughly the same time: Princess Shwikar's tiara. That piece has never been firmly attributed to Cartier, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if the same jeweler was behind both sparklers.

Margaret wore the piece during her time as Sweden's crown princess, both as a tiara and as a dress ornament. You can see her wearing the Khedive on the bodice of her dress in the portrait shown at left above (where she wears the diamond tiara given to her by her parents as a diadem). The way that Margaret has positioned the piece in the portrait fits with its depiction in the illustrated guide to her wedding gifts (see below). When worn as a tiara, the piece is flipped so that the scroll elements are at the base.

Illustration of the tiara/ornament from Margaret of Connaught's wedding gifts [3]
Unfortunately, Margaret had little time to experiment with her tiara collection. When she died in 1920, this tiara was one of the jewels that was inherited by her only daughter, Princess Ingrid. She brought the tiara with her to Denmark when she married Crown Prince Frederik (later Frederik IX) in 1935. Ingrid didn't wear this piece on her wedding day [4], but it was through her influence that it has become the official wedding tiara for all of her female descendants in the years since.

Ingrid of Denmark [5]
So far, the bridal wearers of the Khedive have been Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (see here); Princess Benedikte of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg (see here); Benedikte's two daughters, Princess Alexandra (here) and Princess Nathalie (here); Queen Anne-Marie of Greece (see here); and her elder daughter, Princess Alexia (here). Anne-Marie's younger daughter, Princess Theodora, will also be eligible to wear the tiara if she marries. After Ingrid's death in 2000, she left the tiara to her younger daughter, Anne-Marie, the former queen of Greece. Anne-Marie has had alterations made to the base of the piece [6], so that it sits much higher now on the wearer's head (you can clearly see these changes in wedding photos of Nathalie of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, the only bride to have worn it so far after it was altered).

It will be extremely interesting to see what happens to the Khedive tiara in the next generation. Will Anne-Marie leave it to one of her daughters, who are no longer princesses of a reigning monarchy? Will it be returned to the Danes, to preserve it officially as a wedding tiara for the next generation of royal brides? (That will include three Danish princesses -- Isabella, Josephine, and Athena -- as well as the granddaughters of Benedikte and Anne-Marie.) Cases like the Khedive, which has both historical and familial importance, make me wish that Ingrid had followed the example of Juliana of the Netherlands and set up a foundation for her jewelry. But for now, only time will tell [7].

NOTES, PHOTO CREDITS, AND LINKS
1. Cropped version of photograph in the public domain; source here. (The Grand Ladies website suggests that the photograph may have been made to advertise Margaret to potential grooms, but if the photo really was taken in 1908, that's not possible.)
2. Portrait of Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden by Axel Jungstedt, ca. 1909; source here.
3. Detail of the illustrated newspaper guide to Margaret's wedding gifts; a full version of the image available here.
4. Here's an image of Frederik and Ingrid on their wedding day in 1935. While neither Margaret nor Ingrid wore the Khedive as a bridal tiara, they both wore the same Irish lace veil that Margaret had been given as a wedding gift. All of Ingrid's female descendants, plus Crown Princess Mary, have also worn the veil on their wedding days. In a bit of morbid trivia, the same veil covered Margaret of Connaught's body in her coffin, though the veil was removed before the coffin was closed so that it could be given to Ingrid.
5. Cropped version of photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
6. See the tiara's new base here.
7. A version of this post originally appeared at A Tiara a Day in February 2013.

21 January 2014

Jewel History: Royal Wedding Gifts (1878)

King Alfonso XII of Spain and Mercedes d'Orléans[1]
"Royal Wedding Gifts"
(originally appeared in the New York Times on 21 Jan 1878)

The King of Spain [2] has presented to his young bride, the Infanta Mercedes [3], an elegant casket manufactured in Paris. It is of lapis lazuli mounted on four lions' paws for feet; is 10 inches high and 20 long. The sides are ornamented with a profusion of wreaths of roses in gold and of all colors, and of marvelous workmanship. The key itself is a masterpiece of jewelry, and has the form of a full-blown rose with a bud. The interior is set with diamond studs. This box is destined to preserve the letters of the young couple before their marriage, but in the mean time it will contain a gift of a splendid necklace of eight rows of Indian pearls from the royal bridegroom.

The presents offered by the French government to the King of Spain, on the occasion of his marriage, have just been sent off. They consist of two Sèvres vases, 48 inches in height, and a centre-piece of the same manufacture. The ground-work is of light blue, and the sides are ornamented with paintings in oval. Some Gobelins tapestry [4] is comprised in the gifts, intended to adorn the oratory of the Queen, the subjects being "The Last Supper," by Leonardo da Vinci, and "The Assumption," by Murillo.

Note: Mercedes did not have long to enjoy her wedding gifts. She died of typhoid fever on 26 June 1878, only a few months after her wedding (and only two days after her eighteenth birthday). Alfonso subsequently married Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria; he named their eldest daughter Mercedes in honor of his late first wife.

NOTES, PHOTO CREDITS, AND LINKS
1. Detail of German picture postcard of Alfonso XII and Mercedes d'Orléans , published in 1878 to celebrate their wedding; source here.
2. King Alfonso XII of Spain (1857-1885), who succeeded after his mother, Queen Isabella II, abdicated and a military coup restored the Spanish monarchy.
3. Maria de las Mercedes of Orléans (1860-1878) was the daughter of Antoine, Duke of Montpensier (the youngest son of King Louis-Philippe of the France) and Infanta Luisa Fernanda of Spain. She and her husband were first cousins; their mothers were sisters.
4. The Gobelins Manufactory still produces a small number of tapestries for the French government.

20 January 2014

Birthday Jewels: The Countess of Wessex

The Earl and Countess of Wessex at Trooping the Colour, June 2013 [1]
Happy birthday to one of the most dependable and lovely members of the British royal family, the Countess of Wessex! It's tough to believe that Sophie turns 49 today -- she somehow seems to look younger with each passing year. (Someone should check the attic at Bagshot Park for a portrait, perhaps?) To celebrate Sophie's big day, let's have a look at some of her more affordable jewels: the earrings she wears from Heavenly Necklaces.

Founded in the early 1990s by Belinda Hadden, Heavenly Necklaces specializes in costume jewelry (though they also make pieces with genuine semi-precious stones). You might be surprised that a senior royal like Sophie, who has some major precious jewelry of her own and also often borrows pieces from her mother-in-law's stupendous collection, would wear costume pieces. But more and more, royals are mixing precious jewels with less expensive pieces. This has been true for years -- Diana, Princess of Wales often wore both heirloom and faux jewelry. And there's a long history of wealthy women ordering costume replicas of their most valuable jewels; some would even wear replica pieces in public, while keeping the real things locked securely away in safes and bank vaults, far from sticky-fingered thieves.

Left: Sophie wears the Non-Drop Drop earrings [2];
Right: the earrings pictured on the HN website [3]
Many of Sophie's pairs of earrings come from the Heavenly Necklaces collection. At Trooping the Colour last June, she sported a pair of Hadden's "Non-Drop Drops," which the website advertises as their third best-selling earrings. They feature a small cubic zirconia stud with a larger circle of cubic zirconias suspended from it. Trooping the Colour is one of the most visible occasions of the year for members of the royal family, and Sophie wore the earrings during both a carriage procession down the Mall and on the famous Buckingham Palace balcony. Sophie also wore the earrings at a Buckingham Palace reception last fall in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who [4]. Sophie has a number of other earrings from the company, including their "Cannes-deliers," which feature teardrop-shaped cubic zirconias in an articulated pattern [5], and their snowflake earrings, which she wore on an outing at Royal Ascot with her husband and daughter in December [6]. She's also been photographed in their solitaire drop earrings -- she's definitely a dedicated customer!

Left: Kate wears the Pearl and Diamond earrings [7];
Right: the earrings pictured on the HN website [8]
Both Sophie and her nephew's wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, have purchased inexpensive jewels from Hadden's company. In fact, they both own a pair of one of the firm's most famous pieces: their pearl and diamond drop earrings. These baubles gained public attention when Kate wore them at one of the biggest royal events of 2012: the thanksgiving service at St. Paul's Cathedral for Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. After Kate wore the £58 earrings on the balcony at Buckingham Palace, Hadden was inundated with orders. These earrings, which Sophie also wears quite frequently, are perhaps now the most famous item that Heavenly Necklaces makes, so much so that they even garnered a mention in the publication accompanying the "Pearls" exhibition currently on at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

I love precious, rare, heirloom royal jewels as much as the next person (honestly, probably way more than the next person, really), but I also find the use of costume jewelry refreshing. Sometimes it's nice to salivate over a piece of jewelry, only to discover that you can afford to purchase it for your own collection. If you'd like to see more of these Heavenly Necklaces pieces in action, I'd highly recommend visiting Anna's sites, My Small Obsessions and HRH Countess of Wessex. She's the resident expert on Sophie's jewels on the 'net today, and she also has a small collection of Heavenly Necklaces pieces of her own. Now, if you'll excuse me, I just need to go decide which of their pieces I need to add to my own jewelry box...

NOTES, PHOTO CREDITS, AND LINKS
1. Cropped version of photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
2. Cropped version of photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
3. Cropped version of photograph available at the Heavenly Necklaces website.
4. See photographs here at the Mail Online website.
5. See Anna's My Small Obsessions facebook page for photos.
6. See photographs here at the Hello! website.
7. Cropped version of photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
8. Cropped version of photograph available at the Heavenly Necklaces website.

19 January 2014

Jewel Detective: Maud of Wales

Maud of Wales as Queen of Norway, ca. 1905 [1]
Time for another jewel puzzle, readers! Can you name the jewels worn in this photo by Maud of Wales?

NOTES, PHOTO CREDITS, AND LINKS
1. Photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.

18 January 2014

Saturday Sparkler: The Pearl Button Tiara


Beatrix of the Netherlands wears the Pearl Button Tiara [1]
Some tiaras are indelibly associated with a major event in a royal woman's life. Many of those occasions are royal weddings, but for some lucky royal ladies, they get to choose one of their tiaras to wear for their coronation ceremonies. When Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands was invested as queen, following the abdication of her mother, she chose the family's pearl button tiara.

The tiara, as per its name, is made of five pearl and diamond buttons placed on a diamond base. The buttons are sometimes referred to as "floral" in design, and indeed, the diamond design surrounding each large pearl does resemble the petals of a flower. These button elements started out as brooches, worn in the nineteenth century by Queen Sophie [2]. Some have argued that the festoon base of the tiara was originally part of a coronet also owned by Queen Sophie (who born a princess of Württemberg), but the tiara as we know it today was not worn in public until the middle of the twentieth century. It was first worn by Queen Juliana in 1965.

Since then, it has become a favorite piece of the Dutch royal women, who have trotted it out on some major occasions. Besides Queen Beatrix's investiture, the tiara was also worn at two major royal weddings: that of Princess Margriet and Pieter van Vollenhoven in 1967, and that of Prince Willem-Alexander (now the nation's king) and Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti in 2002. Margriet wore the tiara with the buttons (she wore it the same way at last night's dinner, too); however, Máxima substituted five of Queen Emma's diamond stars for the pearls.

Since then, Máxima has worn both the star and pearl versions of the tiara, while Beatrix and Margriet stick with the classic pearl version. The tiara is simple and looks quite easy to wear -- it wouldn't surprise me if this is one of the first tiaras worn by the current Princess of Orange, Catharina-Amalia, when she begins attending state events [3].


NOTES, PHOTO CREDITS, AND LINKS
1. Cropped version of a photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
2. As is the case with most Dutch jewels, comprehensive information and lots of photographs are available at John's website; see here.
3. A version of this post originally appeared at A Tiara a Day in April 2013.

17 January 2014

This Week in Royal Jewels: January 10-16


January 10-16, 2014

Before we do a rundown of the sparkliest royal outings of the week, I thought I'd highlight my most bejeweled moment from last week. I was interviewed by author Deanna Raybourn for her blog. Deanna writes fabulous novels, including a set of Victorian-era mysteries that I absolutely love. We talked royal jewels, of course. Interested in my favorite royal pieces? Wonder what jewelry I wear on a regular basis? Pop over to Deanna's blog for more! (And check out her books while you're at it!)

Mediterranean Royals

It's been a tough couple of weeks for the Spanish royal family, but Queen Sofia and Princess Letizia have managed to keep up appearances through the turmoil. Sofia wore a brooch to visit the "La Pasion del Prado" documentary exhibition in Madrid on January 8, and she selected a strand of multi-colored pearls for a film premiere the same day. At the palace, Letizia chose a simple pair of earrings for an audience on the 8th; she repeated the same earrings at another audience the following day. The two women also recycled some of the same jewels on January 14, when they attended the delivery of the decorations of the Civil Order Of Social Solidarity at the palace.

It was time for a more literal circus in Monaco, where Prince Albert, Princess Charlene, Princess Stephanie, and Pauline Ducruet opened the 38th annual Circus Festival on January 16. Charlene, as per usual, went without jewelry, but both Stephanie and Pauline wore bracelets. Charlotte Casiraghi made her first public appearance on Tuesday since the birth of her son, Raphael. She wore little jewelry herself, but as she was attending the Cartier exhibit at the Grand Palais in Paris (discussed at length on the blog on Wednesday), here's hoping she was inspired by her surroundings. She'll have a good reason to don some jewels soon -- plans are underway for her big brother, Andrea Casiraghi, to wed Tatiana Santo Domingo again in a religious ceremony in Switzerland on February 1.

Scandinavian Royals

In Norway, Queen Sonja attended an event celebrating the Kiel Treaty of 1814 on Tuesday, one of the first events to mark the the bicentennial of the nation's constitution. The plans for celebrating that milestone got a bit sparklier this week, when King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden announced that they will attend the celebrations after all. They'll join the Norwegian royal family and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark at the event, which will be held on May 17.

Back in Stockholm, the king and queen held an audience of the county governors of Sweden on January 9, where Silvia wore a striking red necklace. Crown Princess Victoria demonstrated her dedication to her role on Wednesday, attending presenting an award wearing an elaborate necklace and a heavy brace on her ankle, which she sprained recently while skiing in the Alps. The Swedes also announced that their newest jewel-wearer, the daughter of Princess Madeleine, will be born in February in New York City.

It was a somber week in Denmark, where the funeral for Countess Anne-Dorte of Rosenborg was held on January 9th. Anne-Dorte was the widow of Count Christian of Rosenborg, who was a first cousin of Queen Margrethe IIPrincess Benedikte, and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece. Margrethe and Prince Henrik represented the Danish royal family at the funeral, and Anne-Dorte's sister-in-law, Princess Elisabeth, was also in attendance. After making an official visit to Myanmar, Crown Princess Mary was back to work in Denmark this week. She wore a pair of delicate, dangling earrings and an impressive diamond ring to inaugurate the new head office of Royal Copenhagen on Wednesday, showing off the style that earned her Hello! readers' votes for Most Elegant Woman of 2013.

Benelux Royals

The new sovereign couple in Belgium, King Philippe and Queen Mathilde, attended a new year's reception for European Union representatives on January 10. Mathilde accessorized an elegant gray dress with a pair of dangling diamond earrings and glittering bracelets on each wrist. Mathilde sparkled in another pair of beautiful earrings at a diplomatic reception on January 15.

New Year's receptions were also on the docket in the Netherlands. On January 14, a reception was held at the palace in Amsterdam, and was attended by King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima (who wore an impressive suite of aquamarines, including a large brooch), Princess Beatrix, Princess Margriet, and Pieter van Vollenhoven. Beatrix also made several solo appearances, selecting pearls and sapphires for a jubilee concert on January 9, and wearing golden jewelry to an anniversary event for an equestrian organization on January 11. Maxima also made a bejeweled appearance on her own, wearing striking red earrings on January 9 in Haarlem. And the ladies of the family weren't the only ones wearing bling: Willem-Alexander wore his military finery for an event in The Hague on January 9.

Happy news comes this week from one of the newest princesses in Luxembourg: Prince Felix and Princess Claire are expecting a baby this July. Here's hoping that it's yet another Nassau princess to delve into the family jewel vault!

British Royals

While the royals are still on vacation, the lists detailing the gifts they received while on official engagements in 2013 were released; you can read about the jewels they received in yesterday's blog post. This week has also seen the identification of one of the sparkliest jewels in the Duchess of Cambridge's collection. Readers from the Duchess Kate blog noted that the diamond and ruby necklace worn by Kate to the 2011 Sun Military Awards resembled jewels made by Mouawad. Official confirmation came this week that the jewels were indeed made by the same company. We know now where the set came from, but we still haven't been told who gave it to Kate -- only that it was among her wedding presents.

NOTES, PHOTO CREDITS, AND LINKS
1. Banner image: detail of The Marriage of George, Duke of York to Princess Mary of Teck (1894) by Laurits Tuxen. Image in the public domain; source here.

16 January 2014

British Royal Gifts 2013

The British royal family attends Trooping the Colour, June 2013 [1]
Every January, the three major British royal palace offices -- Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, and Kensington Palace -- release lists of the gifts given to senior royals during official engagements. They range from the academic (a copy of a medical journal) to the weird (a garden gnome) to the edible (a chocolate Windsor Castle). But among the lists, you'll also find a number of sparkling objects. Here's a rundown of the jewels received by the Windsors in 2013.

Buckingham Palace
Gifts received by Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of York, the Princess Royal, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, and Princess Alexandra are catalogued and released by Buckingham Palace.

Gifts received by the Queen and Prince Philip included a number of pieces of jewelry:
-- From the President of the United Arab Emirates, a five-strand pearl necklace
-- From the President of the United Arab Emirates, a gold jeweled photograph frame set on a jeweled ostrich egg
-- From the High Commissioner of Bangladesh, four enameled scarab beetles
-- From the Lieutenant-Governor of Saskatchewan, a diamond and tourmaline brooch (see a photo here) [2]
-- From the Newhaven Chamber of Commerce, a gold rose tie pin

Buckingham Palace has not released the full lists of gifts received by the royals. Early yesterday, the lists were published by the Telegraph, but they were later removed.

Clarence House
Gifts received by the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince Harry are all catalogued and released by the press office at Clarence House [3]. They only release information about gifts received during foreign trips.

Harry didn't receive any jewels (sadly for him), but his father and stepmother received a number of pieces:
-- From HH Maharaja Manujendra Shah and Mala Rajya Laxmi Shah, a silver and turquoise octagonal box
-- From the President of Sri Lanka, a pair of cufflinks
-- From the Kudumbashree Rural Project, a pair of earrings
-- From a private individual, a faux pearl necklace
-- From the pupils from The Mahis Secondary School for Girls, a craft bracelet
-- From HH Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser, an obsidian and enamel box
-- From HM King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, a parure
-- From HM The Sultan of Oman, a necklace
-- From a private individual, two pairs of cufflinks, two tie pins and three pin badges
-- From a private individual, a pewter tie pin
-- From a private individual, a pair of cufflinks
-- From a private individual, two seed necklaces
-- From a private individual, a lapel pin
-- From a private individual, a briefcase containing a pen, a tie and jewelry

There's been no other details about the big jewelry item on this list: the parure gifted to Camilla by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Here's hoping we learn more about this suite of jewelry soon!

Kensington Palace
While last year's list of royal gifts was full of presents for the yet-to-be-born Prince George, William and Kate made no overseas visits this year, so they're not included on any of the 2013 gifts lists. That should change next year, as the family is prepping for a visit to Australia in 2014.

It's worth noting that all of the gifts listed above are not the private, personal possessions of the royals who receive them. They can't sell them, but they can wear and display them -- and in the case of jewels, thank goodness for that!

NOTES, PHOTO CREDITS, AND LINKS
1. Cropped version of photograph available via Wikimedia Commons; source here.
2. The brooch was made by Rachel Mielke for Hillberg & Berk on a commission from the lieutenant governor. The floral piece features Madagascar tourmaline petals, lined with diamonds, surrounding a freshwater pearl. The brooch is set in eighteen-carat gold. Read more about the piece here and here.
3. For a full list of gifts, visit the media page at the Prince of Wales's website.