31 March 2016

Crown Princess Mary's New Tiara is an Antique

Crown Princess Mary wears the necklace and earrings at Aarhus on 8 Apr 2015 (Photo: Henning Bagger/AFP/Getty)

We've got even more provenance news about the new tiara/necklace worn by Crown Princess Mary! Turns out the rumors from Billed-Bladet were correct: it is an antique, it was purchased at auction, and it's actually a part of a set! Even more exciting? There are rubies and spinels sprinkled throughout this jewel...

The Brabant Laurel Wreath Tiara

26 Oct 2004: The Duchess of Brabant wears the Laurel Wreath Tiara at Laeken Castle

Most of the senior royal ladies in Europe have multiple tiaras at their disposal, some of them personally owned, some of them loaners from the royal vaults. Until her husband's accession to the throne, however, Queen Mathilde of the Belgians only had one tiara in her personal jewel box: her diamond laurel wreath.

30 March 2016

Jewel History: Lady Salisbury Chagrined (1888)


"Lady Salisbury Chagrined"
(originally appeared in the Washington Post on 26 Mar 1888)

From the New York Tribune cable -- Since the presentations were made [1] a little story has leaked out which has its amusing side. There was a hot contest for the honor of offering the diamond tiara [2] to the Princess. Two marchionesses were the disputants, representing both sides of the great political controversy of the hour [3]. It is an omen that the Home Ruler [4] won.

About this folks will differ, of course, but the Prime Minister's wife [5] had to give place to the celebrated Maria, Marchioness of Ailesbury [6]. The present seems to have been suggested by the dowager, who also collected the subscriptions. Apart from this, her age and position in society naturally pointed her out as a suitable person to head the deputation.

29 March 2016

The Top Ten: Royal Aquamarine Tiaras

As March draws to a close, so does our month-long discussion of various royal jewels set with aquamarines. To wrap things up, here's a look at my ten favorite royal aquamarine tiaras. Add your own top ten list in the comments below!

10. The Aquamarine Pineflower Tiara: Made in the 1940s by Cartier, this diamond and aquamarine tiara was originally owned by the Queen Mother. She passed the piece along to her granddaughter, Princess Anne, who had it remodeled; she now wears the new version occasionally at state events.

28 March 2016

Jewels on Film: Our Queen at Ninety

Good news for those who weren't able to view the new ITV documentary, Our Queen at Ninety, when it aired on Easter Sunday: it's currently available on YouTube. I'd watch quickly, though -- this will surely be pulled fairly soon. In the meantime -- enjoy!

Easter Sunday Jewels 2016

Time for a look at the jewels worn by the royals to celebrate Easter Sunday across Europe!

In Palma de Mallorca, the Spanish royal family gathered to attend mass. Queen Letizia wore an interesting pair of chunky gold earrings with her bright pink coat.

27 March 2016

Kate's Jewelry Box: Diamond and Aquamarine Earrings

Time for a new Sunday feature, everyone! Each week, we'll be peeking into the Duchess of Cambridge's jewelry box to see some of the glittering pieces she's worn since joining the royal family. Today we're kicking things off with her diamond and aquamarine earrings.

The earrings, which are made of 18K white gold, feature oval aquamarine drops surrounded by diamonds in a pear-shaped setting, suspended from five smaller round diamonds. The maker of the earrings has not been identified.

26 March 2016

Saturday Sparkler: The Aquamarine Pineflower Tiara

Today’s aquamarine tiara is one that generally falls into either “love it” or “hate it” camps: the British aquamarine tiara with pine cone/flower motifs that is owned today by Princess Anne.

The tiara itself dates back nearly a century to Anne’s grandparents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The king commissioned Cartier to make the tiara for his wife as an anniversary present in the 1940s. She was photographed in it a few times, but it was never used as much as many of her other jewels. In 1973, Elizabeth (by then better known as the Queen Mother) gave the tiara to her granddaughter, Princess Anne, as a wedding gift.

25 March 2016

This Week in Royal Jewels: March 18-24

March 18-24, 2016

This was a rather subdued week for royal jewels, in part because of the horrific terror attacks in Brussels. We still have a few pieces to talk about, plus a couple that we missed last week. Be sure to vote in the poll below...

10. Princess Beatrix and Princess Mabel attended the Prince Friso Engineering Awards on March 16; Beatrix chose an interesting pearl necklace and coordinating earrings, while Mabel went with a sparkling pair of earrings.

24 March 2016

The Swedish Aquamarine Kokoshnik

One of my favorite tiara shapes is the kokoshnik, a style popularized at the Russian imperial court of the Romanovs in the nineteenth century. These diadems are meant to mimic the traditional headdresses worn by Russian women, and their half-moon shape is particularly flattering to many wearers. Many royal collections today include at least one kokoshnik tiara, but one of my very favorites is the aquamarine kokoshnik owned by Princess Margaretha of Sweden.

It's said that this tiara originally belonged to Margaretha's grandmother, Margaret of Connaught, who was the first wife of King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden. To my knowledge, Margaret was never photographed in the tiara, which also has a coordinating aquamarine and diamond brooch. But Margaret's collection was absolutely lousy with jewels, so it's certainly possible that she acquired the piece somewhere along the line.

23 March 2016

Did Crown Princess Mary Purchase Her New Tiara Herself?

Most royal tiaras are gifts, either from spouses, families, or even governments or business -- but some royal ladies occasionally purchase tiaras for themselves. That's the provenance suggested for Crown Princess Mary's new tiara by a new article in Billed-Bladet, which claims that she bought the convertible piece herself at auction. Here's my rough translation of the article:

Jewel History: Englishwoman Tells of Many Royal Brides (1922)

"Englishwoman Tells of Many Royal Brides"
(originally appeared in the Winnipeg Tribune, 18 Mar 1922)

LONDON -- Following the Princess Mary's nuptials, Muriel, Viscountess Helmsley [1] writes the following account of state weddings of the past:

Everybody is delighted at the marriage of the British royal princess to a gallant English soldier [2]. Memories of many royal weddings come to me when I look back over the years of my life. A union akin to this was that of the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria, the Princess Louise, who on March 21, 1871, was wedded to the Marquis of Lorne [3]. Not since 1515, when Mary Tudor, youngest daughter of King Henry VII, became the wife of Charles, Duke of Suffolk [4], had an English princess married anyone not of princely birth; and in a letter to the Queen at the announcement of the Princess Louise, Disraeli [5] wrote words that are well worth recalling today:

"What is about to happen seems to me as wise as it is romantic. Your Majesty has decided with deep discrimination to terminate an etiquette which had become sterile, and the change will be effected under every circumstance that can command the sympathy of the country."

22 March 2016

Rose Ball Jewels 2016

The royals were out in force in Monaco this weekend for the annual Rose Ball, which raises money for the Princess Grace Foundation. For the second year in a row, Princess Charlene was not in attendance (I don't think there's been any explanation given), but Princess Caroline and her family were there in all their Rose Ball splendor.

With Charlene absent, Princess Caroline served as co-host of the ball, which was Cuban-themed this year.

21 March 2016

The Royal Jewel Questionnaire: Castleholic's Sydney (Part 2)

Time for Part 2 of Sydney's Royal Jewel Questionnaire! You can read part one over here, and don't forget to jump over to her blog, Confessions of a Castleholic, to see me nattering on about my favorite castles!

QUESTION #5: You have a magic wand and the opportunity to make your least favorite piece of royal jewelry disappear from public view forever. Which one would you choose?

Probably Queen Margrethe’s Golden Poppies – I can get over bad jewellery designs if the intention was good but who thought it would be a good idea to stick large golden poppies and bugs all over someone’s head in the first place?!

20 March 2016

The Royal Jewel Questionnaire: Castleholic's Sydney (Part 1)

It really 'tis the season for new features here at the Court Jeweller! Today, we're featuring something I've been thinking about for a long time: the Royal Jewel Questionnaire, a post in which I get to make my friends answer incredibly tough questions about their favorite royal jewels.

Today's questionnaire comes courtesy Sydney, a blogger you'll be very familiar with if you read Luxarazzi (one of the best sources out there about the royal families of Luxembourg and Liechtenstein). Sydney also runs a great blog called Confessions of a Castleholic, which chronicles her visits to various schlosses, chateaux, and palaces.

I'm guest posting about my favorite castles over at Castleholic today, so when you're done reading through part one of Sydney's questionnaire, head over there and check it out! And stay tuned tomorrow here at the Court Jeweller for more of Sydney's answers to the really tough royal jewel questions!

19 March 2016

A Closer Look at Kate in the Lover's Knot Tiara

Preview footage of a new documentary commissioned for Queen Elizabeth II's upcoming 90th birthday was released yesterday, including the above image of the Duchess of Cambridge wearing the Lover's Knot Tiara at last December's diplomatic reception. Finally, a glimpse of the full tiara on Kate!

This video, posted by Buckingham Palace on Twitter, shows not only Kate wearing the Lover's Knot but also the Queen wearing the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara. We almost never get images of the Queen's jewels at the diplomatic reception!

Saturday Sparkler: Princess Margaretha's Floral Tiara

Princess Margaretha [source]

We've talked quite a bit around these parts about the jewels that belonged to a pair of royal sisters, Queen Astrid of Belgium and Crown Princess Martha of Norway. But did you know that there was actually a third princess in the family? Astrid and Martha's elder sister, Princess Margaretha, is the wearer primarily associated with today's diamond floral tiara.

Princess Marie of Denmark [source]

The sparkler actually goes back at least one generation further in royal history. It was owned by Prince Axel's mother, Princess Marie of Denmark (born Princess Marie of Orleans). Some have suggested that its first owner was Marie's mother-in-law, Queen Louise of Denmark, but to my knowledge, that claim has never been substantiated.

18 March 2016

This Week in Royal Jewels: March 10-17

March 10-17, 2016

State visits, galas, and even a tiara debut! Be sure to vote for your favorite in the poll below...

10. It was a big jewel week for Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, who wore her golden fan earrings by JAR on Monday in Vlaardingen.

17 March 2016

The Ultimate Collection: Kelly Lynch and Princess Margaret

It's been a week of exciting jewel discoveries and debuts, so it feels right that we're also introducing a new feature! Today, Kelly Lynch -- the blogger behind The Duchess Diary -- has selected her ultimate collection of jewels from the pieces worn by Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon. I challenged her to choose five of her favorite pieces from Margaret's jewelry box. 

In turn, I'm guest posting over at The Duchess Diary today, answering some of Kelly's questions about the history of Margaret's jewelry. Head over there for more!

Kelly: This was not easy to narrow down, seeing as Princess Margaret’s collection was/is/always will be utterly gorgeous. I never take the opportunity to chat about jewels on my site, so many thanks and advanced apologies to The Court Jeweller and her fantastic readers for indulging me in a bit of gem speak.

Ella: No apologies needed -- this is a major challenge, and I think you've made some great choices!

15 March 2016

Crown Princess Mary Debuts New Diamond Tiara

When Crown Princess Mary debuted a new convertible diamond necklace last spring, many were anxious to see the piece in tiara form. That day has officially come!

Mary wore the diamond tiara at a gala held at Christiansborg Palace on Tuesday.

Princess Lilian and the Nine Provinces Tiara

Following last week's glittering state banquet, there was much discussion about Belgian royal jewels here and elsewhere. Over on the Royal Jewels of the World Message Board, the talk turned to the jewels worn by Princess Lilian, second wife of King Leopold III, and the thread turned up an interesting surprise.

For years, I've thought (and said here more than once) that although Lilian wore many of the jewels from the collection of her husband's first wife, the late Queen Astrid, she never wore the Nine Provinces Tiara as a traditional tiara. It turns out, though, that that's not precisely true. Lilian apparently did wear the piece as a tiara -- at least in partial form.

14 March 2016

Reader Mailbag: Wedding Tiaras in Copenhagen

In last week's post on Princess Beatrix's wedding tiara, I mentioned that she was one of several royal women who wore their own wedding tiaras at the crown princely wedding in Denmark in 2004. Reader BlueSaphire70 asked for a post on those tiaras -- and here you have it!

Beatrix of the Netherlands wears the Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara in 1966 and in 2004

13 March 2016

Vintage Royals: Elizabeth II Views Her Royal Family

13 Mar 1953: A few months ahead of her coronation, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom views Winterhalter's Royal Family -- which depicts her great-great-grandparents, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, with several of their children -- at Burlington House in London. In 2015, Elizabeth II broke Victoria's record as the longest-serving monarch in British history

12 March 2016

Saturday Sparkler: Queen Maud's Turquoise Circlet

When the Norwegian royals gathered for a gala this week, the three senior royal ladies all wore tiaras. But although she is neither the first nor second royal lady in the land, the most historic tiara on display belonged to Princess Astrid: her turquoise circlet.

While this tiara is often identified with the first queen consort of modern independent Norway, Queen Maud, it actually goes back a generation further than that. Maud had her own diamond and turquoise tiara, which had been a wedding present; that piece could be worn in either all-diamond or diamond-and-turquoise versions. (That particular tiara was inherited by Princess Ragnhild, and following her death, it’s assumed to have returned to the royal vault.) But in 1925, Maud added a second diamond and turquoise tiara to her collection: this circlet, which she inherited from her mother, Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom. She wore the tiara four years later for the pre-wedding concert held in honor of her son, Crown Prince Olav, and Princess Martha of Sweden.

11 March 2016

This Week in Royal Jewels: March 4-9

March 4-9, 2016

We've got an immense amount of glitter on the list this week. Don't forget to vote for your favorites in the comments below!

(Note: This post had to be written earlier than usual this week, and the jewels worn on Thursday will be featured in next week's roundup.)

10. The Belgian king and queen welcomed the German president and his partner for a state visit this week. On Tuesday, Queen Mathilde wore a pair of dangling earrings with round pearls to a center in Brussels devoted to finding missing children.

10 March 2016

Dutch Royal Weddings: Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus

Discussion of the wedding of the current Dutch king and queen often includes the political controversy surrounding the family of the bride. But Queen Maxima was far from the first Dutch consort to have a complicated background -- fifty years ago today, a Dutch royal wedding took place that had almost been derailed because of the groom's controversial early life. On what would have been their golden anniversary, let's have a look at the wedding of Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus.

Princess Beatrix met her future husband, Klaus von Amsberg, first at a dinner party and then again at the 1964 wedding of another pair of royals: Moritz of Hesse and Tatiana of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. (Tatiana is the sister of Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, who would later marry Princess Benedikte of Denmark.) The romance blossomed on a ski trip (also organized by Moritz) the following winter.

09 March 2016

Tiara Timeline: The Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara

Tomorrow marks fifty years since Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands married Claus van Amsberg. We'll talk more about that royal wedding tomorrow, but today, here's a look at the history of the tiara Beatrix wore: the Württemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara.

1839: Princess Sophie of Württemberg marries her first cousin, the future King Willem III of the Netherlands, in Stuttgart. The new Dutch princess receives a tiara as a wedding gift, probably made for her by A.H. Kuhn, a local jeweler. Some believe that this tiara was an early version of the ornate pearl tiara now worn by the royal women of the Netherlands, but this has never been conclusively proven.

08 March 2016

Swedish Royal Weddings: Prince Johann Georg and Princess Birgitta

Birgitta and Johann Georg marry in Stockholm [source]

Last week, Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern, husband of Princess Birgitta of Sweden, died in Munich at the age of 83. (Coincidentally, the newest Swedish prince, Oscar, was born the same day -- definitely a "circle of life" moment for the Bernadottes.) Today, we're looking at two of the most public and most bejeweled days of the late prince's life: the two wedding ceremonies that united him with Princess Birgitta, sister of the current king of Sweden.

Johann Georg, who was called "Hansi" by friends and family, met Birgitta at a cocktail party in Germany in the late 1950s. In December of 1960, they announced their engagement to the public. The couple followed Swedish tradition and presented each other with engagement rings: plain gold bands, both worn on the ring finger of their left hands.

07 March 2016

Jewel History: Queen Victoria at Home (1882)

"Queen Victoria at Home"
(originally appeared in the Washington Post on 9 Mar 1882)

From the Pall Mall Gazette -- The Queen [1] held the first drawing-room of the season at Buckingham Palace yesterday afternoon. The Prince [2] and Princess of Wales [3], the Duke of Edinburgh [4], Princess Christian [5], Princess Beatrice [6], the Duke of Cambridge [7], and the Duke [8] and Duchess of Teck [9] were present. About eighty presentations were made to Her Majesty.

The following account of the dresses worn by the Queen and the Princesses is given in the Court Circular this morning: "The Queen wore a dress and train of black silk, trimmed with jet embroidery and fringe, and a long white tulle veil, surmounted by a coronet of diamonds. Her Majesty also wore a necklace, brooches, and earrings of diamonds, the ribbon and star of the Order of the Garter [10], the Orders of Victoria and Albert [11], the Crown of India [12], Louise of Prussia [13], the Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese Orders, and the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Family Order.

06 March 2016

Vintage Royals: Beatrix and Her Betrothed

March 6, 1966: Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands wears Queen Emma's Diamond Tiara at a formal banquet in Delft; she is accompanied by her fiance, Claus van Amsberg

05 March 2016

Saturday Sparkler: Princess Madeleine's Aquamarine Bandeau

There are few royal tiaras more polarizing than this one: the aquamarine bandeau tiara worn by Princess Madeleine of Sweden. Funny how something so simple can be so divisive, huh?

The tiara — which is often dubbed “the cyclops” for rather obvious reasons — is much older than it seems. When Madeleine first began wearing the tiara, many assumed that it was a newly-made piece. But there are photos of Madeleine’s aunt, Princess Désirée, wearing the tiara. Its history apparently goes back two generations further: sources suggest that it was the property of Queen Louise, the wife of Madeleine’s great-grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden.

04 March 2016

This Week in Royal Jewels: February 26-March 3

February 26-March 3, 2016

It was a light week for royal jewelry, but two bright, colorful pieces managed to steal the show. Be sure to vote for your favorites in the poll!

10. Princess Charlene of Monaco wore pearl stud earrings to accompany Prince Albert and Prince Jacques to the Sainte Devote Rugby Tournament on Saturday.

03 March 2016

Redesign It: The Golden Poppies

Often derided -- I even declared it one of the "maddest royal tiaras" -- but certainly unique, the golden poppies from the collection of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark are nothing if not divisive. If you could redesign this controversial headpiece, what changes would you make?

02 March 2016

Jewel History: Countess Szechenyi Robbed of Jewels (1912)

Gladys, Countess Szechenyi [source]

"Countess Szechenyi Robbed of Jewels"
(originally appeared in the New York Times on 7 Mar 1912)

Vienna, March 6 -- Telegrams from Budapest state that last week jewels of the value of $200,000 were stolen from the town residence of the Countess Laszlo Szechenyi, formerly Miss Gladys Vanderbilt [1].

A detective afterward found the jewels in a motor car garage in the city, where they had been hidden, wrapped in a piece of newspaper behind a barrel.

The grateful countess immediately sent to the detective a reward of $600. The Chief of Police, happening to hear of this, ordered the return of the money, saying the member of the force had only done his duty and required no recompense.

Count Laszlo Szechenyi [2], the younger son of an ancient Hungarian house, and Gladys Moore Vanderbilt were married in this city by Mgr. Lavelle in January 1908, the marriage being the most widely discussed international union since the wedding of her cousin, Consuelo Vanderbilt, to the Duke of Marlborough [3].

01 March 2016

On the Block: Devonshire Auction Press Call

We've already discussed some of the jewels of the late Duchess of Devonshire that will soon be auctioned at Sotheby's in London, but courtesy of last week's press call, we now have some stunning images of the pieces on offer. Enjoy!

Diamond and ruby butterfly brooch