07 June 2015

Sunday Sparkler Special: Queen Silvia's Tiaras

Note: From Friday, June 5 until Sunday, June 14, I will be traveling and will be away from my computer. For notes about how this will affect the blog, especially commenting, visit here!
 



Royal watching eyes will be on Sweden this coming week, as Prince Carl Philip marries his girlfriend, Sofia Hellqvist. The wedding will be a white tie and tiaras affair, so naturally we're all speculating already about which tiaras the guests will be sporting. To help you along with your guesses for Carl Philip's mother, Queen Silvia, here's a special Sunday Sparkler roundup of the tiaras she's worn since she became queen in 1976!



The Connaught Diamond Tiara

Current Owner: King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
Original Owner: Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden
Maker: E.Wolff and Co. for Garrard, ca. 1904

The first tiara Queen Silvia ever wore in public was this one, the tiara given to Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden as a wedding gift in 1905 by her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught. Silvia wore the tiara during the concert the night before her wedding -- where ABBA played "Dancing Queen" in her honor. Later, the tiara became such a favorite of Princess Sibylla, the current king's mother, that the royal court often simply refers to it as "Princess Sibylla's Tiara." Princess Christina wore the sparkler as a bridal tiara in memory of her mother. The versatile piece can also be worn as a necklace, and the diamond drops can be worn separately as pendants.

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The Cameo Tiara

Current Owner: King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
Original Owner: Empress Joséphine of France
Maker: Marie-Étienne Nitot (attributed), ca. 1800-1810

On her wedding day, Queen Silvia wore the cameo tiara that almost certainly belonged to Joséphine de Beauharnais, the first empress of Napoléon Bonaparte. The cameos made their way to Sweden via her granddaughter, Joséphine of Leuchtenberg. During the 20th century, Swedish royal brides started a new tradition by wearing it as a bridal tiara. It's been worn by so far by four Bernadotte brides: Princess Birgitta, Princess Désirée, Queen Silvia, and Crown Princess Victoria.

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The Leuchtenberg Sapphire Tiara

Current Owner: the Bernadotte Jewel Foundation
Original Owner: Princess Augusta, Duchess of Leuchtenberg
Maker: Marie-Étienne Nitot (attributed), ca. 1806

The historic set of sapphires in the Bernadotte collection has become one of Queen Silvia's favorite parures. She often wears the flexible tiara for state banquets and Nobel Prize ceremonies. The set was likely given to Princess Augusta, Duchess of Leuchtenberg as a wedding gift by her new stepfather-in-law, Napoléon Bonaparte. The sapphires were brought to Sweden by her daughter, Joséphine of Leuchtenberg, and in 1930, they were bequeathed by Queen Victoria to the Bernadotte family's jewel foundation. The set is traditionally worn by the highest-ranking royal lady in the country.

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The Braganza Tiara

Current Owner: the Bernadotte Family Foundation
Original Owner: Empress Amélie of Brazil
Maker: Unknown French maker, ca. late 18th or early 19th century

Also known as the Brazilian Tiara, this grand diamond sparkler was originally made in France using diamonds that belonged to the Brazilian imperial family. It was either made or altered in the 1820s for Amélie of Leuchtenberg, the second wife of Emperor Pedro I of Brazil. In 1873, it arrived in Sweden when Amélie bequeathed it to her sister, Joséphine of Leuchtenberg. Queen Silvia, who is half Brazilian, selected this tiara for her first formal portrait as queen. She also wore it at the wedding of her daughter, Crown Princess Victoria, in 2010.

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The Napoleonic Cut-Steel Tiara

Current Owner: the Bernadotte Jewel Foundation
Original Owner: Queen Hortense of Holland
Maker: Unknown French maker, ca. 1800-1810

This remarkable tiara manages to sparkle without a single diamond; it is made of highly polished steel set in gold. The tiara was once owned by Hortense de Beauharnais, daughter of Empress Joséphine of France. The piece was apparently given at some point to Hortense's niece, Joséphine of Leuchtenberg. It languished forgotten in a cupboard in the Royal Palace in Stockholm until Queen Silvia rediscovered it. Today, she and Crown Princess Victoria both wear the tiara.

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The Napoleonic Amethyst Tiara

Current Owner: the Bernadotte Jewel Foundation
Original Owner: Princess Augusta, Duchess of Leuchtenberg
Maker: Unknown French maker, ca. 1806

Legend has it that this suite of amethysts was given by Joséphine de Beauharnais to her daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Leuchtenberg, as a wedding present in 1806. Like so many other jewels, the parure then made its way to Sweden with the duchess's daughter, Joséphine of Leuchtenberg. The set didn't originally include a tiara. After becoming queen, Silvia had a tiara frame made for the large necklace from the set. Since then, a number of Swedish royal ladies have worn the sparkler, and it has become a favorite of Crown Princess Victoria.

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The King Edward VII Ruby Tiara

Current Owner: King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
Original Owner: Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden
Maker: E.Wolff and Co. for Garrard, ca. 1905

Like the Connaught Diamond Tiara, this diamond and ruby sparkler was one of Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden's wedding gifts in 1905. As the name suggests, it was a present from her uncle and aunt, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom. After Margareta's death, the tiara, which can also be worn as a necklace, was inherited by her son, Sigvard. After a bit of wrangling and back-and-forth arguments about ownership, his descendants eventually sold it to King Carl XVI Gustaf.

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The Baden Fringe Tiara

Current Owner: the Bernadotte Jewel Foundation
Original Owner: Queen Victoria of Sweden
Maker: Unknown German maker, possibly Koch, ca. 1881

Victoria of Baden, wife of King Gustaf V of Sweden, received this gorgeous diamond fringe tiara from her parents, Grand Duke Friedrich and Grand Duchess Louise of Baden, as a wedding present in 1881. She wore it as a necklace on her wedding day, and then brought it with her to Sweden, eventually bequeathing it to the Bernadotte family's jewel foundation. Queen Silvia wore this tiara during the early years of her husband's reign, but more recently it has become associated with her daughter, Crown Princess Victoria.

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The Diamond Six-Button Tiara


Current Owner: the Bernadotte Jewel Foundation
Original Owner: King Carl XIV Johan of Sweden (diamond rosette buttons)
Maker: Maker unknown; tiara created ca. 20th century, diamond buttons ca. 1818

The diamond rosettes that sit atop this tiara were affixed to the coronation crown of King Carl XIV Johan of Sweden in 1818, making them a significant part of Swedish jewel history. The buttons were mounted atop this tiara in the 20th century. Queen Silvia doesn't often wear this one; you'll see it more frequently on either her daughters or the king's sisters.

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The Modern Fringe Tiara

Current Owner: Queen Silvia of Sweden
Original Owner: Queen Silvia of Sweden
Maker: Unknown maker, ca. 20th century

Queen Silvia's diamond fringe tiara is described by the royal court only as "personal property," but most believe it was probably a gift from her husband, King Carl XVI Gustaf. She wears the piece both as a tiara and as a necklace, and she has also often loaned it to Princess Madeleine, who wore it as her wedding tiara in 2013.

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Queen Sofia's Tiara

Current Owner: the Bernadotte Jewel Foundation
Original Owner: Queen Sofia of Sweden
Maker: Unknown maker, ca. 1860s

This tiara, which is also sometimes called "the Nine-Prong Tiara," originally belonged to Sofia of Nassau, the wife of King Oscar II of Sweden. The tiara is reportedly a very difficult piece to wear, as it is inflexible with a rigid base, but it has become one of Queen Silvia's favorite tiaras. She even selected it for the wedding of her younger daughter, Princess Madeleine, in 2013.

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Want to delve further into royal tiara collections? Check out our Saturday Sparkler Specials on the tiaras of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and the Spanish royal family!