The Top Ten: The Best Royal Jewels of 2016

We've chosen the ten best royal jewel moments of 2016 -- here's our complete list!

The Dutch Star Tiara

Queen (then Princess) Maxima of the Netherlands wears the star tiara (Sion Touhig/Getty Images)

The year is 2002, and Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti is preparing to marry the heir to the Dutch throne. If you're a royal bride, you can play the wedding tiara game a few ways: you can opt for a safe choice (like the Duchess of Cambridge), you can wear an heirloom tiara (like Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden), you can go for no tiara at all (never something I'd personally advise), or you can go big. Máxima, being Máxima, went for major sparkle.

The Best Royal Jewels of 2016: #1 (Madeleine's Tea Party)


We've made it, everyone: this is the top spot on our Best Jewels of 2016 countdown! (If you've missed any of the list, catch up over here!) Who will be the big winner...?

#1: Madeleine's Tea Party


In February, Princess Madeleine of Sweden pulled off the very best bejeweled royal appearance of the year: attending a tea party for Swedish children dealing with medical issues, all while wearing full white-tie attire. The kids got a real-life princess in all her glory for this party!

The Best Royal Jewels of 2016: #2 (Mary's Edwardian Tiara)


We're in the homestretch of our year-in-review countdown, everybody! If you missed any previous posts, catch up over here...

#2: Mary's Edwardian Tiara

(Henning Bagger/AFP/Getty Images)

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark gave us one of the best gifts of all in 2016: a new tiara! Technically, this is a piece we'd seen before -- she wore it as a necklace in public for the first time in 2015.

The Best Royal Jewels of 2016: #3 (Victoria's Nobel Splendor)


We're getting close to the top of our year in review countdown! Catch up on any posts you missed over here...

#3: Victoria's Nobel Splendor


The annual Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm is always one of the most exciting events of the year for royal jewel lovers, and this year, Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden gave us a tour-de-force jewel performance.

The Best Royal Jewels of 2016: #4 (Silvia's German Jewels)


We're getting in to some really amazing jewels now! Our countdown continues with the fourth best bejeweled appearance of the year ... if you missed any of the previous posts, catch up here!

#4: Silvia's German Jewels

(Clemens Bilan/Getty Images)

For a dinner at Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin this October, Queen Silvia of Sweden wore two major pieces of royal jewelry with German roots. (Here's our post on the event.)

The Best Royal Jewels of 2016: #5 (Maxima's Wellington Sparkle)


Our countdown of the best royal jewels of 2016 is at the halfway mark! Catch up on previous posts in the series over here!

#5: Maxima's Wellington Sparkle

(Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

During a state visit to New Zealand in November, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands pulled out all of the sparkling stops for a state dinner in Wellington.

The Best Royal Jewels of 2016: #6 (Kate's Royal Loans)


Our countdown of the best royal jewels of 2016 continues with spot #6. (Catch up on the previous posts in our top ten over here!)

#6: Kate's Royal Loans

(Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

For years, many of us had been hoping that the Duchess of Cambridge would begin wearing more pieces from the royal vaults. In 2016, we got our wish, thanks to a whole lot of jewelry loans from the Queen to Kate. Above, she wears the diamond chandelier earrings that the Queen loaned to her shortly after her marriage for an EACH gala at Houghton Hall in June.

The Best Royal Jewels of 2016: #7 (Beatrice's Rose Ball Glitter)


We're up to number 7 in our countdown of the best royal jewels of 2016! (Catch up on previous entries on the list over here!)

#7: Beatrice's Rose Ball Glitter


When I make "best of" lists like this one, I often find myself drawn to pieces and appearances that were unexpected and surprising. Beatrice Borromeo's jewels from this year's Rose Ball definitely fit that bill. While so many members of Monaco's princely family stick with minimalist, modern jewels, Beatrice went in a completely different (and sparkling) direction this year.

The Best Royal Jewels of 2016: #8 (Astrid's Art Deco Debut)


We're up to number eight in our year-end countdown! Catch up on numbers 9-10 over here!

#8: Astrid's Art Deco Debut

(Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Until this March, Princess Astrid of Belgium had really only worn one major tiara in public: the Savoy-Aosta Tiara that comes from the collection of her mother-in-law. (More on that one here!) But for a state banquet for the President of Germany in March, Astrid wore a new tiara in public for the first time: her mother's Art Deco Bandeau.

British Royal Christmas Jewels 2016

The Windsors walk to church on Christmas (Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

The Queen's under the weather and the Cambridges are in Berkshire, but that didn't stop the Windsors from bringing us a bit of Christmas sparkle this weekend. Here's a look at the jewels that the royal ladies wore for Christmas 2016.

The Best Royal Jewels of 2016: #9 (Sofia's New Tiaras)


Our countdown of the best royal jewels of 2016 continues...

#9: Sofia's New Tiaras

(Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

During her first year as a member of Sweden's royal family, Princess Sofia only wore one tiara in public: the Emerald Palmette Tiara that she received as a wedding gift from her new parents-in-law. (More on the background of that tiara here!) But this December, she brought out not one but two new tiaras!

The Best Royal Jewels of 2016: #10 (Albania's Royal Bride)


It's officially the last week of 2016, which means it's time for a countdown of the best royal jewel appearances of the year! I've chosen ten of my favorite bejeweled royal appearances from this year, and we'll be featuring two of them every day until we reach #1 on Friday. Enjoy -- and, of course, weigh in on your own favorites in the comments!

#10: Albania's Royal Bride

(STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)

When royal pretenders have big weddings, we often get to see pieces of jewelry that have remained hidden from public view for years. And when Prince Leka, the pretender to Albania's throne, married Elia Zaharia in October, we got to see a very unusual bridal tiara on display.

The Daily Diadem: The Luxembourg Amethyst Tiara

The Luxembourg Amethyst Tiara (Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg wears the Luxembourg Amethyst Tiara during the 2005 National Day celebrations, pairing it with pieces from the family's oval amethyst parure

Merry Christmas!

Photo: JURE MAKOVEC/AFP/Getty Images

Happy Holidays, everyone! I celebrate Christmas, so I'm taking today off. I've scheduled a Daily Diadem post for those looking for a little bling today, and then we'll be back tomorrow with our first yearly wrap-up posts. If we get good bling from Sandringham today, it will be up tomorrow as well!

Hope that the day is a wonderful one for all of you!

The Daily Diadem: The Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara

The Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Grand Duchess Augusta of Mecklenburg-Strelitz wears the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara (borrowed, perhaps, from her granddaughter, Jutta) for the coronation of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, August 1902

Queen Sofia's Tiara

Queen Silvia wears Queen Sofia's Tiara at the 2011 Nobel Prize Banquet

The Swedish royal vaults are fully stocked with every kind of tiara you could imagine, but today's tiara -- Queen Sofia's Tiara -- is one of the most divisive. Whether you love it or hate it, let's have a look at the history of the tiara with a million nicknames!

The Daily Diadem: Grand Duchess Alexandra's Honeysuckle Tiara

Grand Duchess Alexandra's Honeysuckle Tiara (Photo: Grand Ladies Site)

Grand Duchess Alexandra of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (born Princess Alexandra of Hanover) wears a tiara made of honeysuckle/anthemion designs in a portrait

This Week in Royal Jewels: December 16-22

December 16-22, 2016

Can you believe it, everyone? It's time for our last regular weekly roundup of the year! We'll be delving into year-in-review posts next week -- but in the meantime, don't forget to vote for your favorites in the poll below!

Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

10. Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden visited Italy this week. On Friday, she wore a pair of dark hoop earrings with a small round dangle for a party in Milan.

The Daily Diadem: Grand Duchess Feodora's Tiara

Grand Duchess Feodora's Tiara (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Grand Duchess Feodora of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach wears an elaborate tiara and court dress in an early twentieth-century portrait

Book Review: Victoria: The Queen

I'm gearing up to write about the new miniseries about Queen Victoria when it airs here on PBS in January (all of you in Britain have already seen it, lucky ducks!). I've been doing my homework, and one of the books I've been enjoying most while brushing up is Julia Baird's new biography of Queen Victoria.

Statement Earrings for Letizia in Madrid

Queen Letizia attends a Foundation Against Drug Addiction meeting (Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

Queen Letizia of Spain met with the Foundation Against Drug Addiction in Madrid on Monday. Letizia is the organization's honorary president, and she wore a major pair of statement earrings for the occasion.

The Daily Diadem: Grand Duchess Caroline's Tiara

Grand Duchess Caroline's Tiara (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Grand Duchess Caroline of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (nee Princess Caroline Reuss of Greiz) wears an elaborate tiara in a portrait, ca. 1903

Jewels We Didn't See on The Crown

Replicas of the Vladimir Tiara and Queen Alexandra's Wedding Necklace on display at Liberty
[Photo courtesy of The Lady and the Rose]

We've spent a lot of time analyzing and assessing the jewelry shown on screen in Netflix's The Crown. (If you missed any of our recaps, head over here to catch up!) But -- as it turns out -- there were jewels made for or rented by the production that never showed up on screen!

A good friend of mine, the blogger behind The Lady and the Rose, recently visited the exhibition of costumes from the series at Liberty of London, and she's graciously allowed me to share a few photos with you. Get ready for a couple of jewelry head-scratchers!

The Daily Diadem: The Baden Seed Pearl Tiara

The Baden Seed Pearl Tiara (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Baden (born Stéphanie de Beauharnais) wears her seed pearl tiara in an engraving

Jewel History: Three Royal Widows at Christmas (1922)

Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom and Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia
[Photo: Wikimedia Commons]

"Three Royal Widows at Christmas"
(originally appeared in the Indianapolis Star, 18 December 1922)

Two dowager queens and one dowager empress of Europe, the widows of the former kings of England and Denmark and an emperor of Russia, are to spend the Christmas holidays together in England.

Catherine Zoraida for Kate's Christmas Party

The Duchess of Cambridge attends a Christmas gathering at The Mix (Photo: ALASTAIR GRANT/AFP/Getty Images)

This morning, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry attended a Christmas party at The Mix in London. The charity is one of the partners of the Heads Together initiative sponsored by the trio's foundation; the project aims to change the way mental health issues are discussed and supported.

The Daily Diadem: Grand Duchess Hilda's Diamond Tiara

Grand Duchess Hilda's Diamond Tiara (Image: Grand Ladies Site)

Grand Duchess Hilda of Baden wears her diamond tiara, which today is on display at the museum at Karlsruhe Palace

Bejeweled Close-Ups: The Cameo Parure

Crown Princess Victoria wears the cameos on her wedding day (Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

The parure of cameo jewelry that now belongs to the Swedish royal family is one of the most unique and interesting sets worn by royals today. The cameo suite was made in France during the first decade of the nineteenth century; researchers have argued very convincingly that the parure was owned and worn by Empress Josephine, first wife of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Today, the cameos belong to the Bernadottes of Sweden, who inherited them via the Duke of Leuchtenberg. The tiara has become something of an unofficial bridal diadem for the Swedish royal women. (You can read a more complete timeline of the set's history here.) The central cameo in the tiara depicts a scene from the myth of Cupid and Psyche, but each cameo is unique. Here's a series of images that give us a close-up look at the set, which is made of cameos, gold, diamonds, and pearls.

The Daily Diadem: Queen Victoria's Pearl and Diamond Tiara

Queen Victoria's Pearl and Diamond Tiara (Photo: Grand Ladies Site)

Princess Louise, Duchess of Connaught wears Queen Victoria's Pearl and Diamond Tiara in an 1883 portrait. The tiara was a gift to Victoria from the Aga Khan; its current whereabouts are apparently unknown

The Marie Curie Daffodil Ring

The Marie Curie Daffodil Ring (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

In 2008, a special ring was offered for sale by Sotheby's: a diamond and peridot cocktail ring shaped like a daffodil. The piece had been specially created to raise money for a very important cause: care for those with terminal illnesses.

The Daily Diadem: The Fife Tiara

The Fife Tiara (Photo: Grand Ladies Site)

Princess Louise, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife wears the Fife Tiara in a portrait

The Napoleonic Cut-Steel Tiara

Crown Princess Victoria wears the Napoleonic Cut-Steel Tiara at the 2016 Nobel Banquet
[Photo: SOREN ANDERSSON/AFP/Getty Images

Some tiaras are made of gold, some of silver, some of platinum. But regardless of the material, they all generally have one thing in common: they're set with sparkling precious gems. Today's tiara, however, is a horse of a different color: a tiara made of a different metal -- steel, to be precise -- that has not a single gem set in its frame. And yet, thanks to its innovative design, it manages to sparkle with the best of them.

The Daily Diadem: Lady Warwick's Diamond Aigrette

Lady Warwick's Diamond Aigrette (Photo: Grand Ladies Site)

Daisy Greville, Countess of Warwick wears a diamond aigrette in a portrait, ca. 1897

This Week in Royal Jewels: December 9-15

December 9-15, 2016

Here's our roundup of the best royal jewels that weren't worn for Nobel gala events this week! Be sure to vote for your favorites in the poll below!

Photo: LEX VAN LIESHOUT/AFP/Getty Images

10. Queen Maxima of the Netherlands wore earrings by Natan to coordinate with her dress on Thursday for the awarding of the Prince Claus Prize in Amsterdam; she also accessorized with her diamond initial bracelet and her diamond and citrine ring.

This Week in Nobel Gala Jewels: December 10-11

December 10-11, 2016

It's really massively unfair to make any other jewelry compete with the royal glitter in Scandinavia during the Nobel gala celebrations, so we've got a separate roundup just for them this week! (The regular jewelry roundup will be up in a few hours, so stay tuned.) Don't forget to vote in our special poll!


10. Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway wore a headband of baroque pearls and a pair of coordinating earrings at the Nobel Peace Prize Banquet in Oslo. (See more images, including pearl close-ups, here!)

Presents and Pearls for Princess Charlene

Princess Charlene distributes gifts at the annual palace Christmas celebration (Photo: VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

Yesterday, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco attended the annual Children's Christmas Party at the Palais Princier -- and brought along two special guests.