26 July 2016

Royal Ruby Necklaces

Queen Sofia of Spain wears pieces from her ruby suite (Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Pool/Getty Images)

Here in my corner of the United States, July is drawing to a hot and muggy close. To help brighten things up, let's have another look at more royals wearing July's birthstone -- this time, in necklace form!

Photo: ROBERT MICHAEL/AFP/Getty Images

The gorgeous Crown Ruby Necklace -- one of the treasured British heirlooms of the crown -- was designed by Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. It was originally set with opals, but Queen Alexandra chose to have those stones replaced with stunning, blood-red rubies at the turn of the twentieth century. Today, it's worn by Queen Elizabeth II.

Photo: FIONA HANSON/AFP/Getty Images
The Queen Mother wore the crown rubies during her lifetime, so Queen Elizabeth II bought a ruby necklace of her own -- the Baring Ruby Necklace -- in 1964. The necklace has three distinct pendants, two of which many have originally been made as earring drops.

Photo: STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images

The Queen also had another diamond and ruby necklace in her jewelry box. Her bejeweled wedding gift haul in 1947 included this v-shaped necklace, which was made by Boucheron in 1907 for Mrs. Greville. The Queen Mother inherited the piece and passed it along to her daughter, who wore it quite a lot during the early years of her marriage.

Photo: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Here's how big Queen Elizabeth II's jewelry collection is: this is her fourth significant diamond and ruby necklace. It's a swagged diamond necklace set with two cabochon rubies; it was a gift from the Emir of Qatar in the 1980s.

Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Across the Channel in the Netherlands, Queen Maxima wears the heck out of the gorgeous necklace from the family's Mellerio Ruby Parure. The piece was made in 1889 for Queen Emma. Three rows of round diamonds are gathered by an elaborate, off-center diamond and ruby floral clasp.

Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Queen Sofia of Spain received a parure of ruby and diamond jewels from Stavros Niarchos as a wedding gift. The set, which was made by Van Cleef and Arpels, includes this diamond and ruby cluster necklace, which features substantial cabochon stones. She's worn the necklace on some of the most important days of her life, including the proclamation of her husband as king.

Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Queen Sofia's most sentimental ruby piece, however, is this diamond and cabochon ruby pendant, which she often wears on a pearl necklace. The pendant is a legacy from her mother, Queen Friederike of Greece.

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

The former Greek royals still have a major ruby necklace of their own. This piece, which is set with diamonds and pigeon's blood rubies, features three large diamond and ruby pendants. It is usually worn with the family's distinctive Ruby Olive Wreath Tiara.

Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The ruby necklace worn today by Crown Princess Mary of Denmark has an astonishing history: it was worn by Desiree Clary (later Queen of Sweden) at the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte in the Cathedral of Notre Dame in 1804. Note how smaller rubies are clustered to create the impression of larger stones!

Photo: Henning Bagger/AFP/Getty Images

Crown Princess Mary also has another necklace set with diamonds, rubies, and spinels. It dates to the Edwardian era and can be worn as a tiara; it was purchased at auction in 2012.

Photo: Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Perhaps the largest ruby necklaces worn by a royal today are those from the collection of the Duchess of Cornwall. Camilla wore this lacy, intricate diamond and ruby necklace at a film premiere in 2015.

Photo: Steven M. Falk/AFP/Getty Images

But the most imposing of all is surely the ruby necklace she received from the Saudis. It's enormous and must be incredibly difficult to wear, so perhaps it's not surprising that she's only donned it once in public!

Which royal ruby necklaces are your favorites?