31 August 2015

Vintage Royals: Swedish State Visit

1980: Queen Silvia and Princess Lilian of Sweden sit beside Mexican President Jose Lopez Portillo during a state banquet

Gala Jewels: Princess Lilian of Sweden

This weekend, the Bernadottes marked the centenary of one of their most beloved members: the late Princess Lilian, Duchess of Halland. The anniversary was marked with an exhibition of her clothing, including some of the lovely gowns she wore for Swedish royal events. Let's have a look at some of the jewels she wore with those beautiful dresses, shall we? I've identified some of the pieces for you -- feel free to play jewel detective with the rest!

30 August 2015

Vintage Royals: Royal Variety '62

1962: The Queen attends the Royal Variety Performance wearing her diamond and ruby wedding necklace, plus Queen Mary's Ruby Cluster Earrings and the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara (before it was reunited with its original base!)

Sundays with the Queen: The Baring Ruby Necklace

By the early 1960s, Queen Elizabeth II had already been on the throne for a decade. That's a decade's worth of experience in white-tie banquets, state visits, and overseas tours, all of which required the coordination of gowns, order sashes, and jewels. It's not a coincidence that this is also the point when she began acquiring a few pieces of jewelry of her own, filling in holes in her collection. Today's jewel, the Baring Ruby Necklace, was one of those additions.

In 1964, the Queen owned at least one ruby necklace -- the large, v-shaped diamond and ruby necklace given to her by her parents as a wedding gift -- but that piece (pictured above) is fairly difficult to wear. She should have had the majestic crown rubies in her jewelry box, but those stayed with her mother until 2002. An easier-to-wear ruby necklace was apparently on Lillibet's shopping list, because that year, she purchased the Baring necklace.

29 August 2015

Vintage Royals: The Norwegians Arrive in London

July 1948: Members of Norway's royal family -- Crown Prince Olav (who was born in England on the Sandringham estate), Princess Ragnhild, Crown Princess Märtha, Prince Harald, and Princess Astrid -- arrive in London to attend the opening ceremony of the summer Olympic Games

Saturday Sparkler: The Vasa Tiara

We've talked quite a lot this month about Norwegian royal jewels, but so far we haven't discussed one of my favorite pieces: the Vasa Tiara, a petite diamond tiara with a larger historical legacy.

You might be asking yourself why a tiara named after an old Swedish royal dynasty is currently worn by a Norwegian princess; the simple answer is that said princess’s mother happened to be born a Swedish princess. When Princess Märtha of Sweden, daughter of Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg, married the future King Olav V of Norway in 1929, the city of Stockholm decided they needed to give their princess a proper Swedish send-off in the form of a tiara. (They did the same for Märtha’s sister, Astrid, on her marriage to a future king of Belgium, but that diamond and pearl tiara hasn't been seen in a very long time.)

28 August 2015

On The Tiarapedia: August 22-28

On The Tiarapedia...

Saturday, August 22: The Isenburg Floral Tiara
Sunday, August 23: The Vasa Tiara
Monday, August 24: The Dutch Laurel Wreath Tiara
Tuesday, August 25: The Brunswick Tiara
Wednesday, August 26: The Cartier Indian Tiara

You can also browse The Tiarapedia alphabetically, by jeweler, or by country!

This Fortnight in Royal Jewels: August 14-27

August 14-27, 2015

Time yet again for a recap of some of the royal jewels on display over the past few weeks. We're still in the doldrums of August, but we've got a few bejeweled appearances to discuss! Be sure to vote for your favorite jewels in the poll below...

10. Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden wore a delicate necklace, earrings, and bracelets with a silver watch at the Climate Pilgrimage on August 22.

9. Joining Victoria at the Climate Pilgrimage was Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, who wore a gold pendant necklace and colorful bracelets.

8. During the VJ Day anniversary celebrations on August 15, the Countess of Wessex wore her trendy pearl earrings from Heavenly Necklaces, with a large pearl affixed to the back of a smaller stud.

7. Here's how you know that the back-to-front pearl earrings are definitely on trend: Queen Rania of Jordan wore a marbleized pair at a university conference in France on August 26.

6. Empress Michiko of Japan wore a pair of interesting earrings and a simple pendant necklace to travel to a medical checkup in Tokyo on August 9.

5. Four days earlier, Michiko wore a simpler pair of earrings with a pearl necklace at the Florence Nightingale awards ceremony.

4. Crown Princess Victoria wore a rather "sharp" pair of earrings with a coordinating bracelet at the Radio Sweden anniversary celebrations on August 21.

3. Queen Maxima selected a lovely pair of earrings with a pale pink pendant drop at the opening of Papageno House on August 26.

2. The Duchess of Cornwall wore some of her favorite pieces of jewelry -- her pearl and diamond earrings, plus her pearl necklace with the round diamond clasp -- at the VJ Day anniversary celebrations on August 15.

1. Queen Elizabeth II chose one of her most important brooches -- the Cullinan V -- for the VJ Day anniversary celebrations. (You can read more about the Cullinan Diamond here!)

27 August 2015

The Daily Jewel: August 27

The Daily Jewel: August 27

The Hexagon Earrings ($1650) by Satomi Kawakita are little geometric marvels in white diamonds and white gold

The Cotes Peridots

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Tucked away in one of my favorite places in the world -- the jewelry rooms at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London -- is a set of peridot jewels that any August baby would covet. And even better -- these peridot pieces have an intriguing royal connection. Set your time machines, magpies: we're headed for Regency England.

One of the most extravagant British royals of all time, George IV (sometimes better known to history as the Prince Regent), also had one of the most disastrous marriages in royal history. His union with Caroline of Brunswick was doomed from the start -- he even barred her from his coronation when he finally became king -- but it did manage to produce a single child: Princess Charlotte of Wales. The Hanoverian royals' family relationships were, to put it mildly, a complete mess -- they distrusted, disliked, and sometimes even openly despised each other. To make sure he knew precisely what was going on in his daughter's life, George recruited two of the ladies from her household, the Cotes sisters, to keep an eye on Charlotte.

26 August 2015

The Daily Jewel: August 26

The Daily Jewel: August 26

I'm completely dazzled by Yael Design's elegant Cocktail Ring (price on request), made of rose gold, diamonds, and a single, electric fire opal

Jewel History: Romanoff Treasures (1922)

"Romanoff Treasures"
(originally appeared in the New York Times on 28 Aug 1922)

Mr. Duranty's account of the Czarist jewels, sent by wireless from Moscow and published in Saturday's Times, was not only a triumph of transmission but a brilliant bit of description:

The imperial crown jewels of Russia -- diamonds as big as walnuts, rubies, emeralds, bright, blooded, or vivid green, large as a pigeon's egg; pearls like nuts set in row after perfectly matched row -- platinum, gold, and flashing diamonds shimmering like running water with the rainbow colors of a fountain in the sunlight. Over all and through all flash the diamonds, rose diamonds, black diamonds, blue, white, yellow, even greenish diamonds, thrilling and throbbing as if alive with inner flames; jewels of Golconda, jewels of Indian emperors for each of whose flashes gallons of human blood flowed like water, jewels of wars of dominion and triumph, jewels without price or equal in all the known world.

These jewels have a heightened lustre and brilliance in the contrasting setting they give to the plain, drab, indifferent Bolshevistic regime with which they are now associated. Communist officials handle them with an unconcerned air and with hands that do not itch though they tremble "ever so little" over the crown of the emperor. A Russian peasant in his smock holds for the moment a sceptre that has lost all but its innate beauty and power. Workmen sit down to their lunch in the midst of this surpassing spectacle with no more avaricious wish -- even if this one comes into their thoughts -- than that those stones might be commanded to be made bread.

25 August 2015

The Daily Jewel: August 25

The Daily Jewel: August 25

Produced to commemorate this year's summer opening of Buckingham Palace, Alex Monroe's 22-ct. gold plated Tassel Necklace (£174) looks fit to secure the grandest of royal drapery

Royal Jewel Rewind: Haakon and Mette-Marit's Wedding (2001)

He was a crown prince, and she was a single mother and a waitress: theirs is something of a real-life Cinderella story. On this day fourteen years ago, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, the nation's future king and queen, married in Oslo. Let's have a look at the jewels worn at their wedding, shall we? (PS: if you missed yesterday's look back to their pre-wedding gala, head over here!)

The bride wore a lovely, sleek, simple wedding gown and adorned it with equally delicate jewels. The star of the show, jewelry-wise, was the diamond daisy bandeau given to her by her new parents-in-law, King Harald and Queen Sonja. She also wore a delicate necklace and small earrings.

24 August 2015

The Daily Jewel: August 24

The Daily Jewel: August 24

The diamond and sterling silver Medium Cosmos Locket (£325) by Astley Clarke is the perfect marriage of modern and traditional; it may look like a simple, super-sleek pendant, but it also conceals a sentimental space for a photograph of your favorite person

Royal Jewel Rewind: Haakon and Mette-Marit's Pre-Wedding Gala

Fourteen years ago today, a baby-faced Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and his fiancee, Mette-Marit Tjessem Høiby, attended a pre-wedding gala in their honor at Akershus Castle. Let's have a look at the jewels worn by the royals in attendance, shall we? (It will also give us a chance to marvel at the clothes worn in 2001 and the youthfulness of everyone involved. Enjoy!)

The lady of the hour was, of course, Mette-Marit, who wore two pieces of important royal jewelry: the diamond chandelier earrings that had belonged to Haakon's grandmother, Crown Princess Märtha, and Queen Maud's Vifte Tiara/Necklace, which was Maud's 18th birthday gift from her grandmother, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. Nothing says "I'm going to be a queen-in-waiting tomorrow" like that much family jewelry!

23 August 2015

Vintage Royals: Queen Mother Presents Colours

October 1941: Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother presents colours to the Saskatoon Light Infantry, who are stationed in England during World War II

Sundays with the Queen: The Saskatchewan Tourmaline Brooch

Many of the pieces that the Queen wears on a regular basis have serious heirloom pedigrees, but she also frequently receives new items of jewelry, especially as she reaches major milestones and celebrates big anniversary. Today's piece, a lovely brooch made of tourmalines, was presented to HM by the Lieutenant-Governor of Saskatchewan.

Made by Rachel Mielke of the Canadian jewelry firm Hillberg and Berk, the brooch is made of white gold set with Madagascar tourmalines, diamonds, and a single freshwater pearl. The piece has a floral design, but the geometric edges of the tourmaline "petals" give the piece a fresh, contemporary feel.

22 August 2015

Vintage Royals: Danish Grandchildren

1946: King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine of Denmark pose with their grandchildren. Front row, L-R: Prince Christian (later Count Christian of Rosenborg), Queen Alexandrine holding Princess Anne-Marie (later Queen Anne-Marie of Greece), Princess Benedikte (later the Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg), and King Christian. Back row: Princess Elisabeth, Prince Ingolf (later Count Ingolf of Rosenborg), and Princess Margrethe (later Queen Margrethe II of Denmark)

Saturday Sparkler: Princess Benedikte's Floral Birthday Tiara

We've talked plenty of times here on the blog about the Scandinavian tradition of giving princesses their first tiaras for their eighteenth birthdays. Today, let's have a look at the birthday tiara given to Princess Benedikte of Denmark, who later became the Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg.

Like the tiara given two years later to her younger sister, Anne-Marie, this tiara was made partially from another piece of jewelry; this time, it’s a brooch. However, the brooch came from the other side of the family. It once belonged to Queen Alexandrine, Benedikte’s paternal grandmother.

21 August 2015

On The Tiarapedia: August 15-21

On The Tiarapedia...

Saturday, August 15: Queen Maud's Diamond Tiara
Sunday, August 16: The Golden Poppies
Monday, August 17: The Baden Laurel Wreath Tiara
Tuesday, August 18: The Belgian Sapphire Tiara
Wednesday, August 19: The Greek Emerald Parure Tiara
Thursday, August 20: The Ancona Tiara
Friday, August 21: The Nizam of Hyderabad Tiara

You can also browse The Tiarapedia alphabetically, by jeweler, or by country!

Jewel Detective: Portuguese State Visit

Sixty years ago this October, the Portuguese president made a state visit to Britain, and a grand bejeweled evening at Covent Garden was held in his honor. Which royals can you spot? Which jewels do you see? And which royals get your vote for most glamorous?

(PS: Stay tuned next Friday for the return of This Week in Royal Jewels!)

20 August 2015

The Top Ten: Lost Tiaras

As I'm doing historical research for the blog, I'm constantly running into the stories of gorgeous tiaras that were once in royal hands but have since, for various reasons, left their owners behind. Whether they were dismantled, stolen, or sold, these lost tiaras are fascinating to me. Who wears them now? Will we ever see them in public again? Here's my list of ten of the most interesting lost tiaras -- feel free to add your own list in the comments below!

10. Princess Christina's Diamond and Pearl Tiara

It may not look like much, but the small diamond and pearl tiara that was once worn by Princess Christina of Sweden had a major royal pedigree. The tiara once belonged to Christina's great-great-grandmother, Queen Sofia of Sweden. She probably left the tiara to her second son, Prince Oscar, who had to give up his title to marry one of the royal ladies-in-waiting, Ebba Munck. Oscar and Ebba's third daughter, Elsa Cedergren, was Princess Christina's godmother; she gave Christina the tiara. But sadly, the piece was stolen from Christina's home in 2012. The thief threw the tiara from a bridge in Stockholm, and although divers searched for it, it was never recovered.

19 August 2015

The Daily Jewel: August 19

The Daily Jewel: August 19

Talk about delightful: the Bubbles Necklace (£300) by Claire English is available in yellow or rose gold finishes, is fully functional, and comes with a bottle of bubble solution!

All My Tiaras: Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway

Happy birthday to our Magpie of the Month, Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway! To celebrate, we're taking a look at every tiara that M-M has worn in public since she married Norway's hunky Crown Prince Haakon. Which sparklers are your favorite, and which Norwegian pieces do you hope Mette-Marit will debut next?

Queen Maud's Vifte Tiara

This petite fan-shaped diamond necklace/tiara (the word vifte means "fan" in Norwegian) was Queen Maud's eighteenth-birthday present from her grandmother, Queen Victoria. (The eighteenth-birthday gift tiara has become a tradition in Scandinavia -- see more over here!) Mette-Marit wore the tiny tiara as a necklace for the first time at her pre-wedding gala in 2001. Her diamond chandelier earrings, also Norwegian heirlooms, coordinate nicely with the piece.

18 August 2015

The Daily Jewel: August 18

The Daily Jewel: August 18

What could I feature as today's Daily Jewel but the StyleRocks Willow Ring? You can enter for a chance to win this traditional rolling Russian wedding ring, which can be customized in a variety of different gold finishes, until the end of our giveaway tonight!

Review: Claudia Bradby's Rebirth Pearl Bracelet

Image © The Court Jeweller. Do not reproduce without permission.

Since August is one of our traditional "slow" months for royal content, I thought I'd open my own jewelry box today and offer a review of a piece for all of you. If you enjoy the review, let me know in the comments below, and I'll consider making it a regular part of the blog rotation!

Image © The Court Jeweller. Do not reproduce without permission.

I'd browsed the Claudia Bradby Jewellery website for almost a whole year before finally deciding to make a purchase. (I do this a lot with jewelry sellers online. It's a hazard of being a jewelry blogger, partly, but I also just like to window shop!) When the company announced on Twitter recently that they were offering several of their classic pearl pieces for sale, however, I decided it was finally time to pull the trigger and select a piece for my own collection. I'd initially decided on the Everyday Peacock Pearl Bracelet (a piece I'd been lusting after for a long, long time), but alas, it was already sold out. Instead, I selected an excellent back-up choice: the Rebirth Pearl Bracelet. I punched in the sale code, selected international shipping, and off went the order into cyberspace. (My final price, including shipping, was just under £47.)

17 August 2015

Jewel Detective: Juliana's Silver Wedding

1962: Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, and there's a veritable treasure trove of royal jewelry on display. Which pieces can you spot?

Jewel History: Treasure from Airplane Was Saxon Crown Jewels (1919)

Carola of Vasa, the last Queen of Saxony (source)

"Treasure from Airplane Was Saxon Crown Jewels"
(originally appeared in the New York Times on 12 Aug 1919)

London, August 12 -- The Saxon crown jewels [1], including a pearl necklace valued at £39,000, were contained in the two packages dropped last week near Malmö, Sweden, from an airplane and taken charge of by the police of Malmö, says The Mail's Copenhagen correspondent.

Queen Carola of Saxony wearing a tiara that belonged to her grandmother, Stephanie de Beauharnais (source)

In the packages were also gold heirlooms and securities worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, making it the biggest customs haul on record.

16 August 2015

Vintage Royals: Diana at Parliament

November 1982: Diana, then the Princess of Wales, rides alongside Queen Elizabeth II in a carriage during the State Opening of Parliament. The Queen wears the George IV Diadem with the Baring Ruby Necklace. Diana wears the Spencer Tiara with the King Khalid Necklace

Sundays With the Queen: The King Khalid Necklace

As we slowly work our way through the Queen's massive jewel collection, it's time to talk about one of my favorite pieces from her jewelry box: the King Khalid Necklace.

Like another piece we've previously discussed, the King Faisal Necklace, this one was also a gift from a Saudi king. As the name suggests, the giver was King Khalid, who reigned from Faisal's death in 1975 to his own death in 1982. Khalid gave the necklace to the Queen in 1979, when she made a state visit to Saudi Arabia. In February 1982, the Queen wore the Khalid necklace to the premiere of the film Absence of Malice, though the necklace was slightly obscured by a rather '80s bow at the neckline of her dress.

15 August 2015

Vintage Royals: Wedding Guests

June 1967: Juan Carlos and Sofia, Prince and Princess of Spain, attend the wedding festivities for Crown Princess Margrethe of Denmark to Henri Laborde de Monpezat in Copenhagen. They're pictured with Princess Margaretha of Sweden (the bride's first cousin) and her husband, John Ambler. The wedding was a family affair: Sofia's brother, King Constantine II of Greece, was married to the bride's youngest sister, Anne-Marie

Saturday Sparkler: The Niarchos Ruby Tiara

If you’re searching for a versatile tiara, look no further than the set of rubies owned by Queen Sofía of Spain. This tiara has been worn in two forms: with one strand of rubies and diamonds set in gold and placed on a frame, as well as with two strands stacked to form a more substantial diadem.

The rubies, made by Van Cleef and Arpels, were given as a wedding gift to Sofía in 1962 by Stavros Niarchos, the famous Greek shipping magnate. (Sofía was born Princess Sophia of Greece and Denmark.) The ruby set was part of a treasure trove of wedding gifts, which also included the Prussian Tiara (from her parents), the Mellerio Shell Tiara (from her new in-laws), and the Spanish Floral Tiara (from Franco). You can read more about all of the tiaras from the Spanish collection over here.

14 August 2015

On The Tiarapedia: August 8-14

On The Tiarapedia...

Saturday, August 8: The York Diamond Tiara
Monday, August 10: The Wolfers Tiara
Tuesday, August 11: Queen Maud's Pearl Tiara
Thursday, August 13: The Dutch Aquamarine Tiara

You can also browse The Tiarapedia alphabetically, by jeweler, or by country!

This Week(ish) in Royal Jewels: July 25-August 13

July 25-August 13

August in the world of royalty is vacation time, and with our favorite royal jewel-wearers off on holiday, we've got a small slate of appearances to chart from the past two-ish weeks. Vote for your favorites in the poll below!

10. The Danish royal family gathered for their annual photo call at Grasten in late July, and Queen Margrethe wore earrings featuring one of her favorite symbols: the daisy. (Margrethe's nickname is Daisy, based on the French name for the flower, marguerite.) I believe these are by Georg Jensen, a Danish jewelry firm whose daisy pieces are one of their trademarks.

13 August 2015

The Daily Jewel: August 13

The Daily Jewel: August 13

Twinkly and fun, the Apple Seed Diamond Earrings (£1,400) by Bee Goddess cascade in beautiful rose gold and diamonds down the wearer's ear

Jewels at the National Museum of Ireland

Image © The Court Jeweller. Do not reproduce without permission.

When I visited the Emerald Isle for the first time this June, much of my time was spent frolicking about the country's gorgeous landscapes -- including the famous Cliffs of Moher, pictured above. (Yes, the sky really was that blue the entire time I was there!) But, being me, I also had to take a bit of time to scout out some of the centuries-old jewelry on the island. First stop was today's featured location: the Decorative Arts and History branch of the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

(Please note that all of the photographs in this post were taken by me and may not be used without my permission. Thanks!)

Image © The Court Jeweller. Do not reproduce without permission.

The museum is housed in Collins Barracks, which was previously a garrison housing first British and then Irish troops. Because the museum covers both decorative arts and history, there's a wide range of content inside, from exhibits on the Easter Rising to rooms full of silver and retrospectives on Irish fashion. Tucked away in a room on one of the upper floors you'll also find several cases full of antique jewelry. Here are some of my favorite pieces on display, including some with royal connections!