20 January 2016

Queen Alexandrine's Sapphires

Some of you asked yesterday for more on the sapphires that Queen Margrethe II of Denmark wore at this weekend's Norwegian Silver Jubilee, and I'm more than happy to oblige. Here's a look at various sapphire pieces from the collection of Queen Alexandrine of Denmark, grandmother of the current queen.

Queen Margrethe's Sapphire and Diamond Demi-Parure

This versatile set consists of at least three major pieces: a necklace, earrings, and a large brooch. The necklace is adjustable; sections can be removed to make it longer or shorter. Queen Margrethe has in the past used some of the removed sapphire elements as hairpins. She's also worn the necklace with an additional marquise-shaped sapphire and diamond pendant. The entire set comes from Queen Alexandrine, and it's often speculated that it has Russian origins. That would make sense -- Alexandrine's mother, Anastasia, was born a Romanov grand duchess. When Alexandrine owned these sapphires, some of them were mounted in a large corsage ornament, which was broken up to create the set now worn by Margrethe.

Queen Alexandrine's Sapphire Tiara

This tiara of diamonds and sapphires was inherited by the other major branch of the current Danish royal family: the family of Alexandrine's younger son, Prince Knud. The tiara was worn by his wife, Princess Caroline-Mathilde, as well as his daughter, Princess Elisabeth. Eventually it ended up in the collection of their younger son, Count Christian of Rosenborg, and it was worn frequently by his wife, Countess Anne-Dorte. Both Christian and Anne-Dorte have recently died, and it's presumed that the tiara was inherited by their daughters, but I don't think any kind of official announcement about the inheritance of the jewel has been made. The tiara was originally convertible, able to be worn as both a diadem and a necklace. I've read that the piece originally belonged to Alexandrine's mother, Grand Duchess Anastasia, but I'm not sure that's ever been confirmed.

Queen Alexandrine's Sapphire and Diamond Pendant Brooch

This brooch from Alexandrine's collection is worn today by Princess Marie; it was previously worn by Marie's mother-in-law, Queen Margrethe. The piece can be worn as a pendant on a necklace or as a brooch; its pendant drop can also be removed. The piece's origins are apparently not known, but Alexandrine wears the brooch in portraits that date to the turn of the 20th century.