30 January 2016

Saturday Sparkler: Princess Ingeborg's Star Tiara

Even though turquoises are relatively inexpensive semi-precious gems, many royal families do not own significant pieces of turquoise jewelry, let alone tiaras featuring turquoises. But this tiara, once in royal hands and now owned by Danish nobles, combines turquoises with stars.

Ingeborg wears the star tiara at the Nobel Prize Ceremony in 1937 [source]

The tiara’s first owner was Princess Ingeborg of Denmark, the daughter of King Frederik VIII and Queen Louise of Denmark. (She's best known today for because of the brilliant marriages made by her daughters, including Crown Princess Märtha of Norway and Queen Astrid of the Belgians, making her the grandmother of one reigning king and the great-grandmother of a reigning king and a reigning grand duke.)

When Ingeborg married Prince Carl of Sweden in 1897, she received this tiara as a wedding present. The giver was none other than the Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, who was one of Ingeborg’s first cousins. The tiara also has a coordinating star brooch.

When Ingeborg’s jewelry was distributed between her children after her death in 1958, this tiara was inherited by her daughter, Princess Margaretha. She had married back into the Danish royal family, wedding her cousin Axel in 1919. Margaretha wore the tiara frequently, but this branch of the Danish/Swedish royal family was extremely generous about sharing jewels with their female relatives. Along with Ingeborg and Margaretha, Crown Princess Märtha was also photographed in the tiara; so was Princess Anne of Denmark, Margaretha’s daughter-in-law (and niece of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother).

Margaretha bequeathed the turquoises to her daughter-in-law, the late Countess Ruth of Rosenborg, in 1977. Today the tiara belongs to Ruth’s daughter-in-law, Countess Jutta, who has worn it at royal events. Apparently the plan is for this tiara to stay in the family, inherited by successive generations, and because the Rosenborgs still attend royal events like weddings, we may be able to see these stars shining occasionally in the future.