31 May 2015

The Best of The Court Jeweller: Royal Emeralds

As May draws to a close, spend a relaxing Sunday afternoon by perusing this rather fabulous series of posts on all kinds of glittering royal emeralds!


Sundays with the Queen: The Duchess of Teck's Flower Brooch

When you look at old photographs of the Queen Mother, one piece of jewelry in particular crops up often among her daytime attire: a diamond flower brooch with four pendants and a detachable diamond chain. It was one of the Queen Mum's wedding gifts, but its history goes back even further than that.

We know for sure that this brooch once belonged to Queen Mary's mother, Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck. It's definitely a nineteenth-century creation, possibly created by Garrard. But Hugh Roberts speculates in The Queen's Diamonds that its history is even longer. He posits that the brooch once belonged to Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester.

30 May 2015

This Week on The Tiarapedia: May 23-29

This Week on The Tiarapedia...

Search all Tiarapedia entries alphabetically, by country, or by jeweler!

Saturday Sparkler Special: Queen Mary's Tiaras (Part 4)


One more round of Queen Mary's tiaras as we finish up our May specials on her collection! Today, we're looking at tiaras that have been sold, dismantled, or are otherwise unaccounted for. (If you missed any of our earlier posts -- on her diamond, diamond and pearl, and colored gemstones tiaras -- be sure to go back and explore!)

The Ladies of England Tiara

Original Owner: Queen Mary of the United Kingdom
Maker: Hunt and Roskell, ca. 1893
Fate: Dismantled, ca. 1913

Given to Mary as a wedding present by a committee of 650 "Ladies of England," the tiara could also be worn as a necklace or a corsage ornament. Mary had the tiara dismantled in 1913. The diamonds were recycled and used in two new tiaras: the Lover's Knot Tiara and the Honeysuckle Tiara.

29 May 2015

The Daily Jewel: May 29

The Daily Jewel: May 29

This stunning 19th-Century Tremblant Diamond Flower Brooch, available at Fred Leighton, features 11 carats of diamonds set in silver-plated yellow gold

This Week in Royal Jewels: May 22-28

May 22-28, 2015

This week's jewel news is dominated by foreign tours and parliamentary sparkle. Enjoy, and be sure to vote for your favorite pieces in the poll below!

10. In Monaco, Princess Charlene kept her jewelry simple -- a delicate necklace and small stud earrings -- during Sunday's Formula One Grand Prix.

28 May 2015

The Daily Jewel: May 28

The Daily Jewel: May 28

The White Noise Knuckle Ring by Repossi, with white diamonds set in rose gold, is scribbly, modern, and all kinds of fun

State Opening of Parliament Jewels: May 2015

Today, Queen Elizabeth II traveled from Buckingham Palace to Westminster to officially open parliament. She's been doing this for more than sixty years now, but the event is still as filled with pomp and circumstance (and jewels!) as ever.

On her way to and from the Houses of Parliament, the Queen wore the diamond diadem made in 1820 for the coronation of King George IV. From this angle, you can just see the yellow hue of the diamond in the center of the front cross pattée. You can read more about the history of this centuries-old diadem in yesterday's post.

27 May 2015

The Daily Jewel: May 27

The Daily Jewel: May 27

Claudia Bradby's Everyday Pearl Bracelet (£51) is a perfect, whimsical addition to your daily jewelry rotation

(Tip: Sign up for their newsletter to get 10% off your first purchase!)

The George IV Diamond Diadem

When the Queen gives her annual speech at the State Opening of Parliament later today, she'll do so wearing the Imperial State Crown. (Read all about that crown over here!) But on her way to and from Westminster, she'll wear another piece of heirloom royal jewelry: the diamond diadem that belonged to King George IV.

Although the diamond diadem is today worn exclusively by British queens, it was actually made for a British king. George IV ordered the crown from Rundell, Bridge, and Rundell in 1820. The jeweler finished the diadem that May, constructing it out of silver, gold, diamonds, and pearls. (Here are some great close-up photos courtesy the Royal Collection.) The diadem was charged to a special account set up for costs related to George's coronation, which took place the following year.

26 May 2015

The Daily Jewel: May 26

The Daily Jewel: May 26

Nothing says "classic" like the yellow gold and diamond Vintage Alhambra Pendant ($7650) by Van Cleef and Arpels

The Top Ten: Bandeau Tiaras

The Top Ten: Bandeau Tiaras

They may not be the biggest or mightiest of tiaras, but I have a soft spot in my heart for the humble bandeau. Sparkly with a vintage flair, these tiaras tend to be lightweight, easy to wear, and flattering even on modern hairstyles. Be sure to chime in with a list of your favorite bandeaux in the comments below!

10. The Diamond Daisy Bandeau

When Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby married Crown Prince Haakon of Norway in 2001, she embodied cool, minimalist Scandinavian style. Her wedding bandeau was a vintage piece that complemented that aesthetic perfectly. Reportedly made during the Edwardian era, the bandeau is a delicate row of diamond-studded daisies. It was a gift to the new crown princess from her husband's parents, King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway.

25 May 2015

The Daily Jewel: May 25

The Daily Jewel: May 25

The Kiki Classic Lavender Amethyst Double Oval Stud Earrings (£1,400) by Kiki McDonough are the loveliest shade of light purple for springtime, with diamonds and white gold for extra sparkle

Queen Máxima's Inauguration Jewels

As we wrap up our month-long look at the jewels of Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, we're going to explore the history of the jewels that she wore on one of the most important days of her royal life: the inauguration of her husband, Willem-Alexander, as king.

The majestic sapphire and diamond tiara worn by Máxima at the inauguration has been in the Dutch royal collection for more than a century. It was made by Maison van der Stichel, a Dutch jewelry firm, around 1881. That's the year that King Willem III ordered the tiara and its coordinating parure from Vita Israël, a jewelry broker based in Amsterdam. The sapphires in the tiara were sourced from Sri Lanka.

24 May 2015

Royal Reads: Victorian Biographies

Time to delve into my ever-growing pile of royal books, dear readers! Today we've got two biographies of key figures from the nineteenth century on tap...

A.N. Wilson
Penguin, 2014

I received a copy of the latest biography of Queen Victoria more than six months ago, and I have been working through it slowly ever since. The length of this one is not for the faint of heart: it's more than 650 pages long! But a long, complicated, important life like Victoria's takes a lot of time to discuss in depth, and I've enjoyed the book immensely. A.N. Wilson sorts through the various stereotypical portraits of the monarch -- abused child, naive young queen, besotted wife, endlessly grieving widow -- and picks away the veneer to reveal the more complex woman beneath. There were times when I wished for a bit less of some of the men in Victoria's life (Melbourne, Albert, etc.) and more about Victoria herself, but that's a minor quibble, really. If you're fascinated by Victoria and the era she lived in, you'll love Wilson's book. [Available at Amazon and other retailers]

Jane Ridley
Random House, 2013

Now in paperback, Jane Ridley's biography of King Edward VII -- son of the aforementioned Victoria -- was one of the most fascinating additions to my bookshelf this year. Bertie was king for less than a decade, which meant that he spent the majority of his adult life in the shadow of his mother. Ridley deftly brings her subject out of the background, painting an intriguing picture of a complicated man. I especially loved that the book also spent a great deal of time on the life of Bertie's wife, Queen Alexandra. The story of their marriage is not nearly as well known as the saga of Bertie's parents, and I really liked getting more background on a relationship that was less familiar to me. The book is a great companion to the Wilson biography -- the portrayals of mother and son are an extremely interesting pairing. [Available at Amazon and other retailers]

Disclaimer: The publisher sent me a copy of Wilson's book for review. (I purchased Ridley's book with my own money.) All opinions contained in this review are my own. Links to books within this post are Amazon affiliate links; I use the proceeds to purchase more materials for review on this blog.

Sundays with the Queen: The Courtauld Thomson Scallop-Shell Brooch

You know you have a serious amount of charisma when multiple people who are not family members leave you glittering jewels in their wills. Such was the luck of the Queen Mum, who famously received the gigantic Greville jewel bequest from a family friend; even better, she also inherited today's brooch, the Courtauld Thomson Scallop-Shell, from a loyal subject.

The brooch, which features a shell motif in diamonds studded with a single round pearl, was made in 1919 in London by The Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Co., Ltd.. It was designed in part by Sir Courtauld Thomson, son of a famous Scottish inventor. His sister, the writer Winifred Hope Thomson, ended up with the piece, and she was the one who left it to the Queen Mum in 1944.

23 May 2015

This Week on The Tiarapedia: May 18-22

This Week on The Tiarapedia...

Tuesday, May 19: The Arabic Scroll Tiara
Wednesday, May 20: The Romanian Greek Key Tiara
Thursday, May 21: The Cartier Wave Tiara

Search all Tiarapedia entries alphabetically, by country, or by jeweler!

Saturday Sparkler Special: Queen Mary's Tiaras (Part 3)

We're delving once more this Saturday into the immense jewel vaults of Queen Mary of the United Kingdom. So far, we've surveyed her diamond and diamond and pearl tiaras; today, we're marveling at a number of her tiaras that included colored gemstones...

The Teck Turquoise Tiara

Current Owner: Duke and Duchess of Gloucester
Original Owner: Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck
Maker: Unknown maker, ca. 1850; altered in 1912 by E. Wolff and Co.

Mary received this tiara, which has a coordinating suite of turquoise and diamond jewels, from her parents as a wedding present in 1893. Never one of her most-worn pieces, she had the height of the tiara adjusted in 1912. Two decades later she gave the turquoises to her new daughter-in-law, Princess Alice, as a wedding gift. It's been with the Gloucesters ever since.

22 May 2015

The Daily Jewel: May 22

The Daily Jewel: May 22

The Classic Single Yellow Diamond Ring (price on request) by Tiffany and Co. is a platinum-set stunner

This Week in Royal Jewels: May 15-21

May 15-21, 2015

We've got a supersized edition of our jewel roundup this week! You've got plenty of choices to make in the poll below...

20. Norway celebrated its National Day on Sunday, and Queen Sonja celebrated by pinning her red-and-white ribbon to her jacket with a diamond brooch featuring a cross motif.

21 May 2015

The Daily Jewel: May 21

The Daily Jewel: May 21

The gorgeous Vega Ring ($125) by Monica Vinader features a luminous green onyx set in 18ct gold-plated vermeil on sterling silver, and even better, you can also order the piece set with a moonstone or an aquamarine

Redesign It: Queen Letizia's Ansorena Tiara

Time for another chance for all of you to play court jeweler! If you could make any changes to Queen Letizia's new Ansorena tiara, how would you alter it?

20 May 2015

The Daily Jewel: May 20

The Daily Jewel: May 20

The small model of Cartier's Paris Nouvelle Vague Earrings ($9,550) combine pink gold and diamonds in a petite scalloped package that still packs a major, sparkly punch

Queen Máxima's Harmony Earrings

One of Queen Máxima's jewel trademarks is large, loud earrings -- exuberant pieces of jewelry that frame her joyful face. Today, we're looking at one of the most colorful pairs in her entire jewelry box.

These elaborate pendant earrings are the "Harmony" earrings from the Diane von Furstenberg for H. Stern collection. Set in 18ct yellow gold, they feature a rainbow of gemstones, including rubies, citrines, beryls, pink tourmalines, and diamonds.

The earrings are also convertible. They can be broken down into three parts. The top ruby stud can be worn independently, and the circular middle portion can be detached to be worn as a brooch.

Máxima has been wearing the Harmony earrings for a few years in their various forms, including during one of her first state visits as the Dutch queen consort.

19 May 2015

The Daily Jewel: May 19

The Daily Jewel: May 19

The Kindred Soul Pendant ($125) by Links of London features a pair of interlocking hearts in sterling silver. Delicate and sweet, it's a perfect everyday piece for the young or the young at heart!

(P.S.: Sign up for the Links of London e-mail newsletter and get 15% off your first purchase!)

Jewel History: Bridal Trousseau for New Queen of Spain (1906)

Ena of Spain [source]

"Bridal Trousseau for New Queen of Spain"
(originally appeared in the Washington Post, 20 May 1906)

Paris, May 19 -- Next to a lover, the world loves a bride-elect, and when she happens to be of royal descent, popular interests soar to the highest pitch. Society is in a flutter over the frequent visits of Princess Victoria Eugenie, as she is called since the formal announcement of the Battenberg princess's engagement to King Alfonso, but the future Queen of Spain is too busy ordering and trying on pretty frocks to bother her head with social obligations. She makes little excursions over here, coming from the Isle of Wight with her mother, Princess Henry, and a maid, and the royal mother and daughter do the Rue de la Paix and other fashionable centers in most democratic fashion.

Ena of Spain [source]

Although the secret of their identity is often concealed beneath an incognito, the mystery of Ena's wardrobe is less impenetrable. People will talk, you know, and where is the shop girl who would not boast of her privilege of waiting on a real Queen-to-be, especially when her patron is so simple and charming in her tastes and manner? Why, almost every salesgirl in Paris has waited upon Princess Victoria Eugenie, and to each she has confided some secret of her trousseau. Or, so you are told anyway.

18 May 2015

The Daily Jewel: May 18

Welcome to a brand-new daily feature here at The Court Jeweller! Each weekday, I'll be featuring a piece of contemporary jewelry that's caught my eye. I won't be linking each post from The Tiarapedia here daily from this point on; instead, on Saturdays, I'll feature a post with links all of the tiaras from the week. (You can also follow daily at tiarapedia.com, or get daily posts in your newsfeed via Twitter or Facebook!)

The Daily Jewel: May 18

The Vasilisa Triple Ring (£995) by Annoushka Jewelry features brown diamonds set in 18ct yellow gold. The ears of wheat design was inspired by Annoushka Ducas's Russian grandfather

Swedish Royal Wedding: Reading of the Banns

Yesterday, Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and Sofia Hellqvist took another big step toward marriage: their marriage banns were officially read in Stockholm, and the entire family gathered for the event.

Queen Silvia wore pearls for the service, which was held at the Royal Chapel in Stockholm. You can read the program from the service (in Swedish) here.

17 May 2015

The Tiarapedia: The Ruby Peacock Tiara

Sundays with the Queen: The Greville Peardrop Earrings

The pair of diamond drop earrings from the Greville inheritance only include six individual diamonds: two triangle-esque studs, from which are suspended two emerald cut diamonds and two enormous pear-shaped drops. Those six diamonds, though, combine to pack a major, sparkling punch.

The earrings arrived in the Windsor collection in 1942, when they were bequeathed by the Hon. Mrs. Greville to the Queen Mother. They were some of the more recent additions to the Greville cache, having been made by Cartier in 1938.

16 May 2015

The Tiarapedia: The Danish Emerald Parure Tiara

Saturday Sparkler Special: Queen Mary's Tiaras (Part 2)

Time for the second installment of our survey of Queen Mary's impressive tiara collection! If you missed part one, hop over here to read about the all-diamond tiaras in Mary's jewelry box. Today, we're looking at her cache of sparklers that combined diamonds and pearls...

The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara

Current Owner: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom
Original Owner: Queen Mary of the United Kingdom
Maker: E. Wolff and Co. for Garrard, 1893

One of the most classic and beautiful tiaras in the British collection, Queen Mary received this one as a wedding present. And although it is an all-diamond tiara today, it was originally topped by fourteen large pearls. Mary later had those pearls replaced with diamonds and used the pearls on her new Lover's Knot Tiara. Mary gave the tiara to her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II, as a wedding present, and it's still one of the Queen's most-worn tiaras today.

15 May 2015

The Tiarapedia: The Luxembourg Aquamarine Bandeau

This Week in Royal Jewels: May 8-14

May 8-14, 2015

Brooches and earrings were on the menu for this week's royal jewel buffet. Be sure to weigh in on your favorites in the poll!

10. Princess Charlene of Monaco shone this week in a new pair of diamond and pearl earrings set in white gold, worn for the christening of her twins, Princess Gabriella and Prince Jacques. They're Cartier, from the company's Himalia collection.

14 May 2015

The Tiarapedia: Crown Princess Mary's Wedding Tiara

Queen Máxima's Wedding Tiara

The year is 2002, and our Magpie of the Month, Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti, is preparing to marry the heir to the Dutch throne. If you're a royal bride, you can play the wedding tiara game a few ways: you can opt for a safe choice (like the Duchess of Cambridge), you can wear an heirloom tiara (like Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden), you can go for no tiara at all (never something I'd personally advise), or you can go big. Máxima, being Máxima, went for major sparkle.

Máxima chose something of a frankentiara -- a piece that features elements of two different items of jewelry mixed together to make a new tiara -- for her wedding day. First, she selected the base of one of the Dutch royal family's existing tiaras: the Pearl Button Tiara. There’s a debate about the actual age of the Pearl Button: some think that it was made in the twentieth century, while others argue that its base was a part of a coronet worn by Queen Sophie of the Netherlands, which would make it an earlier creation.

13 May 2015

The Tiarapedia: The Swedish Diamond Six-Button Tiara

Jewel History: Queen Anne's Indifference to Jewels (1888)

"Queen Anne's Indifference to Jewels"
(originally appeared in the New York Times on 12 May 1888)

From the London Daily News -- The new volume of the reports of the Historical Manuscript Commission calendars the family papers of the Earl of Dartmouth [1]. Like most of its predecessors, it comprises many interesting historical anecdotes. One relating to Queen Anne [2], found in a manuscript volume in the handwriting of the first Earl, is highly characteristic of that sensible if somewhat prosaic sovereign.

Lord Dartmouth says that a little before she died, she told him that she had never bought any jewels for her own use in her life, looking upon them as "of all vanities the greatest," though she considered them proper for presents, because they comprise a great value in a small compass.

12 May 2015

The Tiarapedia: The Cartier Pearl Drop Tiara

Jewels of VE Day Commemorations

The British royals were out in force this weekend to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied Forces' victory in Europe in May 1945. VE Day was such an important part of the Queen's life that they've recently made a film about it, so you know the royals celebrated in style!

The Queen started off the weekend in Windsor, where she and the Duke of Edinburgh lit the first of a series of celebratory beacons to launch the weekend of commemorations.

11 May 2015

The Tiarapedia: The Poltimore Tiara

Jewels of the Princely Baptism in Monaco

Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, the newest members of the Grimaldi family, were baptized yesterday morning in Monaco. Let's have a look at the jewels (and hats!) on display!

Princess Charlene of Monaco, holding Prince Jacques, looked happier than I have ever, ever seen her. Apparently motherhood suits her! She's wearing Dior -- as are Gabriella and Jacques.