30 October 2015

A Quick Break!

The Court Jeweller is taking a long weekend -- check back here for more content on Monday!

(In the meantime, why not peruse some posts from our glittering archives? I suggest taking a tour through the Tiara Timelines, the Saturday Sparklers, and the Royal Jewel Rewinds!)

29 October 2015

Vintage Royals: A Very Royal Engagement

Autumn 1934: An engagement portrait of Prince George, Duke of Kent (son of King George V and Queen Mary of the United Kingdom) and Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark (daughter of Prince and Princess Nicholas of Greece and Denmark)

Jewel Detective: Marina's Wedding Gifts

Can you identify the jewels on display? They form a part of the wedding gift haul of Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark, who married Prince George, Duke of Kent in November 1934

28 October 2015

Vintage Royals: Elisabeth in Bavaria

Duchess Elisabeth in Bavaria, who became Belgium's queen when she married King Albert I, makes an interesting tiara choice

The Douglas Floral Tiara

Happy birthday to Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein! In honor of her big day, let's have a look at her sparkling diamond wedding tiara.

Although Sophie was born a Bavarian duchess and married a prince from Liechtenstein, her wedding tiara actually has French and Swedish roots. According to our friends over at Luxarazzi (who also cover the princely family of Liechtenstein), the tiara is made of diamond daisies surrounded by additional diamond berries and leaves, was made by an unidentified French jeweler at some point in the nineteenth century.

27 October 2015

More Queen Mum Jewels for Kate

Tonight at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Kate debuted more jewels that previously belonged to the Queen Mother: her sapphire and diamond fringe earrings.

The Queen Mother began wearing the earrings sometime after her coronation. Posters at the RJWMB have speculated that they were perhaps made to coordinate with a suite of sapphires given to Elizabeth as a wedding present by Queen Mary, though to my knowledge, that's never been officially clarified. Queen Elizabeth II would have inherited these earrings (along with the rest of her mother's jewels) when the Queen Mother died in 2002.

Vintage Royals: The Duchess of Cambridge

Princess Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge wears the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara; Queen Mary admired the tiara, which was inherited by her aunt, so much that she had one made just like it for her own jewelry collection

Something Borrowed and Blue for Kate

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with Prince Harry, attended the premiere of Spectre, the new James Bond film, on Monday evening in London. Kate wore a new light blue Jenny Packham gown, but even more exciting, she wore a pair of new earrings!

Well, new to her, at least. The lovely blue topaz and diamond girandole earrings were previously worn by her mother, Carole Middleton.

26 October 2015

Vintage Royals: Olympian Monarchs

1896: King George I and Queen Olga of the Hellenes accompany the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom) at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens. George and Alexandra, who walk in front, were siblings; both were children of King Christian IX and Queen Louise of Denmark

Jewel History: A Royal State Wedding (1892)

King George and Queen Olga of the Hellenes [source]

"A Royal State Wedding"
(originally appeared in the New York Times on 28 Oct 1892)

Athens, Oct. 27 -- Twenty-five years ago, King George [1] and the Grand Duchess Olga [2], eldest daughter of Grand Duke Constantine of Russia [3], were married, and their silver wedding was celebrated today.

The occasion was marked with no great pomp, though the day was observed as a general holiday throughout the country. Athens was thronged with a large number of people from all the nearby rural districts, many of whom have been in the city for several days awaiting the fêtes.

Queen Olga and her cousin, the tsarevich (later Tsar Nicholas II of Russia), ca. 1890s [source]

Among the first of the royal guests to arrive was the tsarevich [4], who has been here since Sunday. Prince George of Greece [5], who traveled with the tsarevich on his recent tour of the world, and who intervened to protect the heir to the throne of Russia from the attack made upon him by a crazy policeman in Japan, went to Corinth to meet him, and together they returned to Athens.

25 October 2015

Jewels on Film: Belgian Monarchs at Covent Garden (1963)

Footage of King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola of Belgium arriving with Queen Elizabeth II and the British royals at Covent Garden during the 1963 Belgian state visit

24 October 2015

Saturday Sparkler: The Marlborough Boucheron Tiara


At the turn of the twentieth century, some of the sparkliest jewel collections in Britain were owned not by the nation’s royal princesses but by the wives of aristocrats. One of the most magnificent aristocratic tiaras around belonged to the American-born wife of the Duke of Marlborough, Consuelo Vanderbilt.


The tiara, which was set with more than a thousand diamonds, was made in the 1890s by Boucheron. It was given as a wedding gift to Consuelo by her father William Kissam Vanderbilt. Against her wishes, and almost against her will, Consuelo married Charles Spencer-Churchill, the 9th Duke of Marlborough, in 1895. It was one of those infamous “buccaneer” marriages of the Gilded Age — the rich American bride would bring with her a substantial dowry that would help fix crumbling manor homes and pay off debts, while the aristocratic British husband would bring with him a title and status for his new wife. Even though the marriage produced two sons, it was ultimately unhappy.

23 October 2015

On The Tiarapedia: October 17-23

On The Tiarapedia...

Saturday, October 17: The Vladimir Sapphire Kokoshnik
Sunday, October 18: The Luxembourg Turquoise Tiara
Tuesday, October 20: The Prussian Meander Kokoshnik
Thursday, October 22: Queen Alexandra's Amethyst Tiara

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

This Week in Royal Jewels: October 16-22

October 16-22, 2015

We've been absolutely spoiled with sparkly splendor this week, everybody! Enjoy, and be sure to vote for your favorites in the poll!

10. Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden have been in South America this week. On Monday in Lima, she wore a lovely dragonfly brooch.

22 October 2015

Vintage Royals: Eddy's Two Loves

1908: Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom took this photograph of the Duchess of Aosta (née Princess Hélène of Orléans) and the Princess of Wales (née Princess Mary of Teck). Both women had romances with Alexandra's eldest son, the late Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, known as "Eddy." He fell in love with Hélène but was prevented from marrying her because she was a Catholic; before his sudden death, he was engaged to marry Mary. She instead married his younger brother, George

On the Block: Royal Jewels at Christie's

Image courtesy of Christie's

The November 10 jewelry auction at Christie's in Geneva doesn't just include a major noble tiara. The sale also features several pieces of jewelry with royal provenances. Here's a look at some of the jewels on offer.

Image courtesy of Christie's

Lot 396: Princess Josephine's Pearl Earrings

These nineteenth-century pearl earrings, which are set with large button-shaped natural saltwater pearl drops, also feature diamonds set in gold and silver. They belonged to Princess Josephine of Belgium, who was the sister of King Albert I of Belgium.

21 October 2015

Vintage Royals: The Kents

Princess Alexandra of Kent and her mother, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, depart after a gala at the Nepalese embassy in October 1960

20 October 2015

State Visit Jewels: Chinese State Banquet at Buckingham Palace

The event many have been waiting for finally arrived this evening: the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended a state banquet at Buckingham Palace. Let's look at the royal jewels on show, shall we?

The Queen brought out a pleasant surprise for the banquet: her sapphires. She wore the sapphire suite given to her as a wedding present by her father, King George VI, with the sapphire tiara she purchased herself. The tiara was once a necklace worn by Princess Louise of Belgium. She's also wearing the Order of the Garter and the family orders of King George V and King George VI. (Trivia: she's the only living person who has the order of George V.)

Vintage Royals: Dutch Silver Wedding Guests

1962: Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Farah of Iran chat as they arrive during the celebration of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard's silver wedding anniversary in the Netherlands. (Also pictured: the Shah of Iran, to Elizabeth's left, and Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent)

Farah Pahlavi's Gala Jewels

Farah Pahlavi's time as the Queen/Empress of Iran may have been rather short -- less than two decades -- but she still managed to pack in a number of glittering appearances in that span. And since the family's exile and the Shah's death, Farah has continued to make more toned-down gala appearances for various charities. Here's a look at the history of her gala jewels so far.

April 1960: Wearing a diamond tiara with an unknown provenance for a state visit from King Hussein of Jordan

19 October 2015

Vintage Nobels: Shelagh on Skis

1912: Constance "Shelagh" Cornwallis-West, the first wife of the 2nd Duke of Westminster, skis on holiday in Switzerland

On the Block: The Westminster Blue Enamel Kokoshnik

Image courtesy of  Christie's

On November 10, Christie's will hold a major jewelry auction in Geneva, and the roster of pieces up for sale includes a number of items with significant royal and noble provenances. Today, we're looking at the major tiara on the auction block: the blue enamel kokoshnik from the collection of the Duke of Westminster.

Image courtesy of  Christie's

The tiara was created by Chaumet around 1910. It features rows of diamonds in varying sizes interspersed with diamond forget-me-nots, all set against a background of vivid blue enamel. The enamel is a kind of substitute for the fabric kokoshniks worn with non-solid tiaras; it also provides a stunning backdrop for the craftsmanship of the piece’s diamond elements. Here's how the auction notes from Christie's describe the piece:

Of Kokoshnik design, composed of a series of graduated translucent royal blue plique-a-jour enamel curved panels, each overlaid with old-cut diamond trailing forget-me-not floral motifs, interspersed with collet-set diamond lines, to the cushion-shaped diamond openwork cartouche centre and similarly-set upper border, circa 1910, mounted in platinum and gold, with a later fitted case.

18 October 2015

Jewels on Film: Buckingham Palace Banquet

Courtesy British Pathe, here's how British state banquet entrances looked almost half a century ago. Lots of royals and lots of royal jewels on display to honor the President of Finland in 1969 -- which royals and which pieces can you spot?

17 October 2015

Saturday Sparkler: The Lotus Flower Tiara

As speculation continues over the jewel possibilities for the Duchess of Cambridge at next week's state banquet, let's have a look at the tiara she's worn most recently: the Lotus Flower (or Papyrus) Tiara.

The first royal wearer of this tiara, which takes its name from the lotus flower (or papyrus leaf) elements that dominate the piece, was the Queen Mum. She took a page out of her mother-in-law’s book when creating the sparkler: it was made from a necklace that she received as a wedding gift in 1923. The necklace, which was made of diamonds and pearls and featured meander and festoon designs, was given to her by her husband, the future George VI, who had purchased it from Garrard.

16 October 2015

On The Tiarapedia: October 10-16

On The Tiarapedia...

Monday, October 12: The Akishino Tiara
Wednesday, October 14: The Aquamarine Pineflower Tiara
Thursday, October 15: The Midnight Tiara

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

This Week in Royal Jewels: October 9-15

October 9-15, 2015

It's been a seriously jewel-heavy week -- enjoy the sparkle, and register your vote for the best pieces in the poll below!

10. At the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam on Tuesday, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands wore the pair of jeweled tassel earrings that she's worn several times recently; she also wore them during the inauguration ceremonies in 2013.

15 October 2015

Vintage Royals: The Queen Visits China

October 1986: Queen Elizabeth II wears the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara with the Baring Ruby Necklace at a state banquet in China

Jewels of the Upcoming Chinese State Visit

Next week, the President of China will make a state visit to Britain. He and Madame Peng will stay at Buckingham Palace in London with the Queen, and a glittering state banquet will be held on Tuesday evening. The last state visit by a Chinese president to Britain happened in 2005 (pictured above).

Much of the media speculation about the state banquet has surrounded the possibility that the Duchess of Cambridge will attend. There has been no official announcement either way, although the palace has announced that both William and Kate will take part in other events during the state visit. The only announcements made so far about the state banquet are that the Queen and Prince Philip will attend, and Prince Charles won't -- which means we also surely won't see Camilla either.

14 October 2015

Vintage Royals: Fabiola Wears the Wolfers

1976: Queen Fabiola of the Belgians wears the Wolfers Tiara with pearls and aquamarines during the silver jubilee of her husband, King Baudouin

Queen Mathilde Debuts the Wolfers Tiara

For the first time, Queen Mathilde has worn a tiara that was a personal possession of Queen Fabiola of Belgium: the convertible necklace/tiara made by Wolfers.

Mathilde wore the small diamond tiara at a state banquet given by President Duda of Poland on Tuesday evening.

13 October 2015

Vintage Royals: October 1967

In the same week in October 1967, pageantry was on display on two continents. The coronation of the Shah of Iran was held in Tehran, while the state opening of parliament was attended by Queen Elizabeth II in London. An early glimpse of Princess Anne in the Cartier Halo Tiara is also included

Farah Pahlavi's Coronation Jewels

Our look at the jewels worn by Farah Pahlavi during her tenure as Iran's empress continues today with a glimpse at her 1967 coronation jewels.

When Farah Diba married the Shah of Iran in 1959, she became the country's queen. Her new husband had already ruled Iran for almost two decades; he took the throne in 1941 when his father abdicated. But he had delayed his coronation, reportedly believing that he should only be crowned when he felt he truly deserved it. That moment apparently arrived for him in 1967. The imperial coronation was held on October 26, and the Pahlavis took on new titles: shāhanshāh (which means "emperor") and shahbanou (or "empress").

12 October 2015

Vintage Royals: Swedish Christening

1935: Prince Gustaf Adolf and Princess Sibylla of Sweden with their first child, Princess Margaretha, at her christening

Jewels of Prince Nicolas's Christening

Yesterday, Prince Nicholas of Sweden, son of Princess Madeleine and Christopher O'Neill, was christened in Stockholm. Let's have a look at the jewels worn by his royal relatives for the occasion, shall we?

Princess Madeleine's outfit didn't need much accessorizing, but she added elegant pearl drop earrings to top things off. She also wore her father's family order.

11 October 2015

Jewels on Film: The Shah's Wedding (1959)

December 1959: Newsreel footage of the third wedding of the Shah of Iran; his bride, Farah Diba, wears the Noor-ol-Ain Tiara and other glittering jewels

10 October 2015

Saturday Sparkler: Queen Wilhelmina's Wedding Gift Tiara

Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands [source]

The Dutch royal collection includes a number of large tiaras, but perhaps the biggest of all was a now-lost sparkler: the tiara from Queen Wilhelmina's wedding gift parure. The enormous, elaborate diamond and sapphire tiara was made around 1900 by Vita Israel & Hoeting, a Dutch jeweler. The parure, which consisted of this tiara, a necklace (which is designed to mirror the tiara), and two bracelets, was a gift to the young Dutch queen from her people on the occasion of her wedding to Prince Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

Queen Wilhelmina [source]

The entire set included more than 800 diamonds and sapphires, all set in white gold. The tiara featured an especially large square diamond set in the center; this was said to have come from the Golkonda mine in India. The same mine has yielded several other immensely famous diamonds, including the Hope Diamond, the Koh-i-Noor Diamond, and the Noor-ol-Ain Diamond.

09 October 2015

On The Tiarapedia: October 3-9

On The Tiarapedia...

Saturday, October 3: Princess Ingeborg's Star Tiara
Sunday, October 4: The Maltese Cross Circlet
Tuesday, October 6: The Kinsky Honeysuckle Tiara
Wednesday, October 7: Queen Amélie's Diamond Choker Tiara
Thursday, October 8: The Dutch Emerald Parure Tiara
Friday, October 9: The Cambridge Sapphire Tiara

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

This Week in Royal Jewels: October 2-8

October 2-8, 2015

We've got royal earrings and necklaces galore this week -- be sure to vote for your favorites in the poll below!

10. On Monday, Princess Sofia of Sweden wore small diamond earrings, her engagement and wedding rings, and a Project Playground bracelet at the start of a two-day trip to her hometown, Dalarna. The pin she has affixed to her lapel is a small gold Dala horse, an icon of Dalarna and of Sweden in general. (Trivia: I put one on my Christmas tree every year!)

08 October 2015

Vintage Royals: Farah Arrives in Paris

1959: Farah Diba arrives at Orly Airport in Paris after the announcement of her courtship with the Shah of Iran

Farah Pahlavi's Wedding Jewels

This October, we're going to be delving into the bejeweled history of one of the most intriguing royal women of the twentieth century: Farah Pahlavi, the former empress of Iran. We're beginning with the jewels she wore on the day she joined the imperial family: her wedding day.

Farah (who was born Farah Diba) was the third wife of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran. He had been married and divorced twice before, and his third marriage was motivated in part by his need for a male heir. His only daughter, Princess Shahnaz, helped coordinate his relationship with Farah, who was a twenty-one-year old architecture student in Paris when they met. They were engaged in November 1959, and their wedding was held that December.

07 October 2015

Vintage Royals: Queen Meets Sultan

1972: Queen Elizabeth II meets with the Sultan of Brunei

Jewels of Queen Saleha of Brunei

Today, Queen Saleha of Brunei celebrates her birthday. As the wife of the Sultan of Brunei, Saleha has a rather incredible jewelry box. We don't know much about the provenance of most of her jewels, but we can certainly admire their sparkle. To mark her birthday, here's a look at some of her glittering royal appearances.

September 1998: Queen Saleha (left) attends a state banquet during the royal family of Brunei's state visit to Britain; pictured at far right is the Sultan's (now divorced) second wife, Queen Mariam

06 October 2015

Vintage Royals: Belgian Royal Gathering

July 1956: The extended Belgian royal family gathers at Laeken Castle to celebrate the 80th birthday of Queen Elisabeth

Stéphanie of Baden's Seed Pearl Tiara

Today is German-American Day here in the USA, and since I'm one of the many Americans with German heritage, I thought we'd celebrate here by looking at one of the most interesting tiaras to come from nineteenth-century Germany: the seed pearl tiara that belonged to Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Baden.

Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Baden wears the tiara [source]

The tiara was first owned by a royal with serious connections: Stéphanie de Beauharnais, a relative of Empress Joséphine of France. Joséphine’s second husband, Napoleon Bonaparte, was especially fond of Stéphanie; he made her a member of the imperial family and engineered her marriage to the future Grand Duke of Baden. The tiara was made around 1830, after Stéphanie had been widowed. It is set with diamonds and pearls in yellow gold, and it was originally worn on the top of the head.