30 September 2015

Vintage Royals: Princess Charlotte

Prince Pierre and Princess Charlotte, Duke and Duchess of Valentinois, ca. 1925. On September 30, 1898, the princess was born Charlotte Louise Juliette Louvet in French Algeria; she was officially adopted by her biological father, Prince Louis II of Monaco, in 1919

The Best of The Court Jeweller: Royal Sapphires

We've given September's gorgeous birthstone, the sapphire, lots of love here at The Court Jeweller so far. Here's a roundup of some of our best sapphire posts so far...

Which royal sapphires are your favorites?

29 September 2015

Vintage Royals: Astrid and Johan

Princess Astrid, Mrs. Ferner leaves the church following her wedding to Norwegian businessman Johan Ferner in January 1961

Jewel Detective: Astrid's Royal Wedding

Princess Astrid of Norway may not have worn a tiara when she married Johan Ferner in 1961, but many of her royal guests did. Can you identify the jewels that appeared on her wedding day?

28 September 2015

Vintage Royals: Queen Marie of Romania

Marie, Dowager Queen of Romania ca. 1931, wearing the diamond and sapphire tiara that once belonged to Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia (or "Grand Duchess Vladimir"). The tiara was later sold by Marie's daughter, Princess Ileana, to fund the education of her children in exile

Queen Marie of Romania's Sapphire Pendant

Yesterday on the blog I featured a film clip from Queen Friederike of Greece's 1964 visit to New York. In the film, she wears the magnificent diamond tiara that belonged to Queen Sophie, along with a necklace featuring a stunning pendant: an enormous 478-carat sapphire that came from the collection of Queen Marie of Romania. How did this gemstone, one of the largest sapphires in the world, get from Romania to Greece? Read on...

The first records of the sapphire's existence place it in Cartier's workshop in Paris around 1913. It was originally set in a sautoir necklace with a number of other sapphires; however, the firm changed the design of the piece to showcase the sapphire as a single pendant on a diamond and platinum necklace. That version of the necklace was put on exhibit in 1919 in San Sebastian, Spain. Hans Nadelhoffer's book on Cartier notes that the necklace was the showstopper piece of the jeweler's autumn show that year, and viewers included Queen Ena of Spain and her mother-in-law, Queen Maria Cristina. According to Nadelhoffer, Ena even tried the necklace on, possibly hoping that her husband, King Alfonso, would purchase it for her. (No dice, unfortunately: Alfonso said no.)

27 September 2015

Jewels on Film: Queen Friederike in New York

Queen Friederike of Greece and her younger daughter, Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark, visit New York in 1964. The Queen's jewels include Queen Sophie's Diamond Tiara

26 September 2015

Saturday Sparkler: The Persian Turquoise Tiara

When the Queen Mum married the Duke of York in 1923, the two of them never expected to become monarch and consort one day. But even the second lady of the land would have needed quite the jewel collection in those days, and today’s tiara, the Persian Turquoise, is one that she received as a part of her wedding jewelry haul.

The tiara originated with — you guessed it — Queen Mary. She bought a parure of jewels set with diamonds and Persian turquoises, including this tiara, a necklace, a brooch, and earrings, from Garrard. She was never photographed in the tiara, probably because she had her own turquoise parure that included a substantial tiara.

25 September 2015

On The Tiarapedia: September 19-25

On The Tiarapedia...

Saturday, September 19: Princess Sarvath's Fleur-de-Lis Tiara
Sunday, September 20: The Dutch Sapphire Necklace Tiara
Monday, September 21: Infanta Pilar's Sapphire Tiara
Tuesday, September 22: King Olav's Gift Tiara
Wednesday, September 23: The Queen Mother's Cartier Bandeau
Thursday, September 24: Princess Andrew's Meander Tiara
Friday, September 25: The Dutch Diamond Prong Tiara

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

This Week in Royal Jewels: September 18-24

September 18-24, 2015

Earrings galore, plus some intriguing necklace choices, dominate this week's jewel roundup. Vote for your favorites in the poll!

10. The Duchess of Cambridge's famous sapphire engagement ring was on full display during a Rugby World Cup match on Friday.

24 September 2015

Vintage Royals: A Future Empress

Princess Nagako of Kuni, daughter of Prince Kuni Kuniyoshi, poses for a portrait ca. 1915, around a decade before she married Crown Prince Hirohito of Japan. She later became Japan's longest-serving empress consort

Tiara Timeline: The Meiji Tiara

Tiara Timeline: The Meiji Tiara

1867: Japan ends its history of isolationist politics, transitioning from a feudal shogunate to a more modern government. During the 1850s and 1860s, the country undergoes an industrial revolution and opens trade relations with Western nations like the United States. In January of 1867, Emperor Osahito (posthumously known as Emperor Kōmei) dies and is succeeded by his fourteen-year-old son, Crown Prince Mutsuhito. His reign will become associated with a rapid period of change and modernization in nineteenth-century Japan.

1869: Emperor Mutsuhito marries Masako Ichijō, the granddaughter of a minor Japanese prince. After their engagement and wedding, she takes on a new name, becoming known as Empress Haruko. She also becomes the first empress consort in Japan to have a major public role. Empress Haruko (pictured above) is unable to bear children; she later adopts Crown Prince Yoshihito, the emperor's eldest son with one of his concubines.

23 September 2015

New Portrait of the Swedish Crown Princely Family

Photo Anna-Lena Ahlström, The Royal Court, Sweden

The Swedish Court has released a new portrait of Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel, and Princess Estelle of Sweden. The image was taken last December during the Nobel Prize festivities; Victoria wears the Baden Fringe Tiara and Queen Josefina's Stomacher Necklace

Jewel History: Lady Curzon's Will (1906)


"Lady Curzon's Will"
(originally appeared in the New South Wales Barrier Miner on 15 Sep 1906)

The will has been proved of Lady Curzon [1], wife of the ex-Viceroy of India. The estate, exclusive of settled property, is valued at £11,878. Her will, which is written in her own hand on a sheet of plain foolscap, begins as follows: "This is the last will and testament of me, Mary Curzon, Lady Curzon of Kedleston, written on board the S.S. Arabia, in the Indian Ocean, on December 29, 1898." [2]


Lady Curzon made the following disposition of her property. Four rows of white pearls, a large tiara made by Boucheron [3], a second diamond tiara made by the Goldsmiths' Company, a diamond neckalce made by Watherston, and all her old lace to her husband in trust for her eldest son, if any, and failing such son to her husband for life, with remainder to her daughters [4].

22 September 2015

Vintage Royals: Norwegian Christening

October 1971: Crown Princess Sonja of Norway holds her infant daughter, Princess Märtha Louise of Norway, during her christening in the chapel of the Royal Palace in Oslo

Gala Jewels: Princess Märtha Louise of Norway

Happy birthday to Princess Märtha Louise of Norway! Let's celebrate by looking at some of her bejeweled gala appearances, shall we?

1995: Wedding of Prince Joachim of Denmark

21 September 2015

Vintage Royals: The Countess of Paris


Princess Marie Isabelle, Countess of Paris wears the tiara and accompanying pieces from the family's sapphire parure, today on display at the Louvre in Paris

The Top Ten: Sapphire Tiaras

September's birthstone is the gorgeous sapphire -- as a December baby, it's the one that I secretly covet, because it's just so rich and beautiful. Since I can't have a September birthstone, I'll console myself with a cavalcade of royal sapphire tiaras. This is a list of my top ten favorites -- be sure to chime in with your own list below!

10. The Belgian Sapphire Tiara

Originally a necklace worn by a Belgian princess, this pieces was acquired by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom to match the sapphires given to her by her father. She set it on a tiara frame, and for years, it was one of her most-worn pieces. If you can't have the ill-fated Cambridge sapphires, I suppose this is the next best thing?

20 September 2015

Jewels on Film: Outtakes from the Royal Opera Gala (1953)

British Pathe's YouTube channel is a veritable treasure trove of royal jewel clips, including this outtake footage from their film about the gala at the opera held the night before Queen Elizabeth II's coronation. This footage features bonus angles and perspectives on the array of jewels worn, including both very familiar pieces and lesser-known aristocratic jewels. Enjoy!

19 September 2015

On The Tiarapedia: September 12-18

On The Tiarapedia...

Monday, September 14: The Dutch Ears of Wheat Tiara
Tuesday, September 15: The Spanish Fleur-de-Lis Tiara
Wednesday, September 16: Princess Thyra's Sapphire Tiara
Thursday, September 17: The King Luis Diamond Tiara
Friday, September 18: The Napoleonic Amethyst Tiara

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

Saturday Sparkler: The Antique Pearl Tiara

The glamorous Queen Máxima of the Netherlands has sported an array of tiaras from the Dutch royal family's vast jewel collection, but back in 2001, she selected her very first tiara from the family's stash: the base of the Antique Pearl Tiara.

Anna Pavlovna wearing her pearl tiara [source]

The antique pearl tiara of the Dutch royal family is sometimes called the Pavlovnik pearl tiara, because Anna Pavlovna, the queen consort of Willem II of the Netherlands, once had a tiara quite a lot like it. This tiara, which was made in 1900, was designed to mimic the shape of the original Pavlovnik tiara. The large, pear-shaped pearls that sit upright in the tiara are even older than the piece itself. They belonged to Amalia of Solms-Braunfels, a seventeenth-century Dutch princess who shares her name with Máxima’s eldest daughter, Catharina-Amalia, the current Princess of Orange.

18 September 2015

Vintage Royals: Anne and Lilian

December 1960: Queen Anne of Romania (wearing the Greek Key Tiara) and Princess Lilian of Belgium attend a gala the night before the wedding of King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola of Belgium.  King Michael of Romania and King Simeon of Bulgaria follow behind. Today, Queen Anne celebrates her 92nd birthday

This Week in Royal Jewels: September 12-17

September 12-17, 2015

September means parliaments are opening and royals are back on the job. Be sure to vote for your favorite jewels of the week in the poll below!

10. The Duchess of Cambridge returned to royal duties on Thursday with a controversial new haircut and a familiar pair of earrings: her Annoushka pearl drops.

17 September 2015

Vintage Jewels: Queen Charlotte's Debutantes

1931: The traditional birthday cake arrives at Queen Charlotte's Ball

Tiaras of Queen Charlotte's Ball

Debutantes in London haven't been presented to the Queen since the 1950s, but debutante balls still exist. One of the grandest of the old traditions, Queen Charlotte's Ball, has been revived in recent years. Let's have a look at the jewels worn by some modern debutantes, shall we?

Amira Rayner

16 September 2015

Vintage Royals: Prinsjesdag Arrivals

September 1966: Queen Juliana, Prince Bernhard, Prince Claus, and Princess Beatrix arrive for the official opening of parliament

Prinsjesdag Jewels 2015

September in Europe means that various countries' parliaments are back in session, and yesterday was the glamorous (and rainy) opening day of the Dutch parliament, known in the Netherlands as "Prinsjesdag."

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima traveled to and from parliament in the royal family's grand golden coach. These carriages were meant to differentiate royals from mere mortals in the days when everyone traveled by carriage; in a modern world of cars, trains, and buses, they stand out even more.

15 September 2015

Vintage Royals: Spanish Visit to Washington

During their honeymoon in September 1962, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain -- then the Prince and Princess of Spain -- visit President John F. Kennedy at the White House in Washington, D.C.

Queen Letizia's Tiaras

Happy birthday to Queen Letizia of Spain! To celebrate, we're dipping into her jewelry box and taking a look at the tiaras she has worn (or, in one case, hasn't worn yet!). Which ones are your favorites?

The Prussian Tiara

Worn on her wedding day, this tiara was an early favorite of Letizia's. The piece is a German imperial heirloom, passed down from mother to daughter until it reached Letizia's mother-in-law, Queen Sofia of Spain. Sofia also wore the tiara on her wedding day. You can read a timeline of its interesting history over here!

14 September 2015

Vintage Royals: Orleans-Braganza Wedding

Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Braganza (sister of Maria Francisca of Orléans-Braganza, wife of the Portuguese pretender) weds the Count of Paris, the Orléanist pretender to the throne of France, in April 1931

Jewel History: Braganza Wedding Will Be Brilliant (1909)

Anita Stewart, Princess Miguel of Braganza, ca. 1911 (source)

Braganza Wedding Will Be Brilliant
(originally published in the New York Times on 12 Sep 1909)

London, Sept. 11 -- Preparations have been begun on a royal scale here for the wedding next Wednesday of Dom Miguel [1], son of the Duke of Braganza, the Portugese pretender [2], who has surrendered his rights in order to marry Miss Anita Stewart [3], the daughter of Mrs. James Henry Smith.

It is possibly unnecessary to contradict the absurd story printed here to the effect that Emperor Francis Joseph [4] had made Miss Stewart a Princess of the Austrian Empire in her own right. Dom Miguel's visit to Vienna, which was stated to have been made in order to thank the Emperor for doing so had, of course, no such object.

The future bridegroom [pictured above, ca. 1920] is now in Scotland, where the wedding will take place at Dingwall, the ancient royal burgh and county town of Rosshire, close to Tulloch Castle, where Miss Stewart and her mother have returned. The wedding will take place in St. Lawrence's Roman Catholic chapel, where Dom Miguel attends daily mass. The chapel is being lavishly decorated and the interior will be transformed by an arrangement of evergreens and smilax into the semblance of a grotto, most of the material coming direct from Paris. In the sanctuary, palms and white lilies will form the principal feature of the decorations, while the front of the choir will be elaborately draped with the Braganza colors, ruby and blue.

13 September 2015

Vintage Royals: Mary, Queen and Mother

This film tribute by British Pathé after the death of Queen Mary in 1953 is loaded with vintage footage of her life, including rare glimpses of public engagements, plus balcony appearances, family gatherings, visits to Wimbledon, and more. Enjoy!

Sundays with the Queen: The Qatari Rubies

We've talked already on the blog about several of the Queen's major ruby jewels, including the Oriental Circlet and Crown Rubies, the Burmese Ruby Tiara, the Grima Ruby Brooch, and the Baring Ruby Necklace. Today, we're looking at one of her most modern ruby sets: the Qatari Rubies.

The set arrived in the Queen's jewelry box in the mid 1980s. Leslie Field notes, "As recently as 1985, on a State visit to England, the Amir of Qatar presented the Queen with a diamond swag necklace with a centerpiece of two large rubies." The Amir of Qatar in question is Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad Al Thani, who served in that role from 1972 to 1995.

12 September 2015

On The Tiarapedia: September 5-11

On The Tiarapedia: September 5-11

Saturday, September 5: The Hesse Strawberry Leaf Tiara
Sunday, September 6: Princess Mako's Tiara
Monday, September 7: The Pearl Poiré Tiara
Tuesday, September 8: The Aosta Stars and Knots Tiara
Wednesday, September 9: The Chaumet Emerald Tiara
Thursday, September 10: The Antique Pearl Tiara
Friday, September 11: Queen Elisabeth's Art Deco Bandeau

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

Saturday Sparkler: The Akishino Tiara


You've probably seen the row of carefully coiffed Japanese princesses attending events at the imperial court: immaculately dressed royal ladies sporting coordinated sets of jewels and toting traditional fans. One of the most senior of these women is the Princess Akishino, the wife of the second son of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. Let's have a look at the tiara that Kiko wears, shall we?


We don’t know much of anything about the provenance of this tiara (the Japanese Imperial Household Agency is notoriously tight-lipped about details of the imperial family’s lives and possessions), but it made its first appearance in 1990 at Kiko’s wedding to Prince Fumihito, the second son of the emperor. Like all other tiaras owned by the Japanese royals, Princess Kiko’s tiara is made of "white" jewels — you’ll only find diamonds and the occasional pearl in these sparklers. White is considered a sacred color in Japanese culture, so it makes sense that they’d want their jewels to be equally blessed. All of the aspects of the imperial family's appearance are tightly controlled by the Imperial Household Agency, hence the uniformity of their clothing and jewels.

11 September 2015

Birthday Jewels: Queen Paola of Belgium

Happy birthday to Queen Paola, the mother of King Philippe of the Belgians! To celebrate, here's a look at some of her most glittering jewels...

This Week in Royal Jewels: September 4-10

September 4-10, 2015

The royals are back in the swing of things, and so are our weekly jewel recaps! Be sure to vote for your favorite jewels of the week below...

10. The Countess of Wessex wore fairly simple jewelry -- earrings, a pendant necklace, and a bracelet -- at a reception hosted by the Diamond Jubilee Trust in honor of the Queen's big milestone achievement on Wednesday.

10 September 2015

The Bejeweled Reign of Elizabeth II

Did you miss any of our posts on the glittering jewels worn by Queen Elizabeth II during her record-breaking reign? We've been discussing jewels from every single year of her tenure as Britain's queen -- here's a handy rundown of the posts, which feature jewels from each decade!

The Top Ten: Queen Elizabeth II's Legacy Jewels

She's now the longest-reigning monarch in British history and the longest-reigning female monarch of all time. Because we're witnessing that important historical milestone this week, there's been lots of discussion of Queen Elizabeth II's legacy.

I'm not particularly qualified to speak on where she belongs in the list of great kings and queens, but I do feel able to chime in on one important aspect of Elizabeth II's historical legacy: her contributions to the Windsor jewel vaults. Here's my list of the ten most significant pieces that the Queen has brought to the British royal collection -- pieces that I think are so timeless and gorgeous that they will be used for centuries to come. (Feel free to add your own list in the comments below!)

10. The Carrington Feather Brooch

This gorgeous diamond and sapphire brooch was one of the wedding gifts received by the Queen in 1947, given to her by the company that made it, Carrington. The lovely natural feather design of the piece is both delicate and substantial, and the sapphire stone pairs well with lots of different colors.

09 September 2015

Elizabeth II Becomes Britain's Longest-Reigning Monarch

God Save the Queen!

The Bejeweled Reign of Elizabeth II: The 2010s

As we wrap up our look at the glittering jewels worn throughout Elizabeth II's record-breaking reign, we arrive in the present...

2010: In Canada, Elizabeth wears the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara with the Greville Chandelier Earrings, Queen Alexandra's Collet Necklace, and Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Brooch