15 August 2015

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.

Sofia wore pieces from the Niarchos parure at one of the most important events of her life: the proclamation of her husband, Juan Carlos, as King of Spain.

Sofia's ruby parure also includes several necklaces and bracelets of various lengths and a pair of earrings.

She wore the Niarchos rubies more frequently in years past, but she’s also been seen wearing the single-strand version of the tiara in recent years, as she did at the 2009 state visit from President Sarkozy of France.

Sofía’s set of rubies is similar to several other Van Cleef and Arpels ruby sets. Princess Grace of Monaco borrowed a similar suite of rubies for an event at Versailles in the 1970s. Sofia's rubies are also similar to those owned by another member of the Greek royal family: Marina Karella, the wife of Prince Michael of Greece. Movie stars loved the style, too: Audrey Hepburn also owned a similar necklace by Van Cleef and Arpels.