In today's precarious global economy, luxury purchases can be a bit dicey for royals. You don't want to look as if you're throwing money around -- and potentially disrespecting the serious hardships faced by others -- but you're also expected to maintain a certain sheen of glitter to help impress and influence those who can benefit your kingdom. When it comes to acquiring new jewels, the Danes have come up with an intriguing solution: the equivalent of long-term jewelry leases. Today's peek into Crown Princess Mary's jewelry box looks at her loaner set: the Midnight Parure.
In 2009, Danish jeweler Charlotte Lynggaard designed a modern set of three coordinating jewelry pieces -- a tiara, a pair of earrings, and a brooch -- made of diamonds, moonstones, silver, and gold. The set was created with Crown Princess Mary in mind, as the leaves and berries in the piece resemble the golden wattle, one of the national emblems of Australia. The set was constructed at the Ole Lynggaard workshop and then put on display to the public at the Amalienborg Palace Museum.
The price tag of the set is said to be in the range of $300,000. Even if the crown princely couple has that much cash to spare, such an extravagant purchase could certainly raise eyebrows. But Mary attends enough high-profile gala events that a third tiara was a welcome addition to her collection, and any Danish jeweler would benefit from having Mary appear in public wearing their work. So, in a mutually beneficial arrangement, the Midnight set was essentially leased to Mary. Ole Lynggaard retains the ownership of the jewels, but Mary has the exclusive right to wear them during her lifetime, and each time she dons the set, she essentially acts as a walking advertisement for the Danish jewelry industry.
Shortly after the set was made, Mary wore it for the first time in public at a 75th birthday party for Prince Henrik. She wore all three pieces, attaching the brooch to the strap of her gown.
The following year, Mary also wore the complete set during Queen Margrethe's 70th birthday celebrations. On this occasion, she placed the brooch at the waist of her green dress.
And in 2013, Mary wore the tiara from the set at a major event: Princess Madeleine of Sweden's wedding. This time, she wore only the tiara, pairing it with a different pair of diamond earrings.