21 January 2017

The Wolfers Tiara

The Wolfers Tiara, worn by Queen Mathilde of the Belgians
[Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images
]

The Belgians may not have extensive jewel vaults, but there are tiaras in the royal family’s possession that are reserved primarily for queens. The main one is the Nine Provinces Tiara, but there are a few more tiaras that have also only been worn by queens. Today, let’s have a look at one that was created by a Belgian jeweler, the Wolfers Tiara.




Queen Fabiola wears the tiara during King Baudouin's Silver Jubilee celebrations
[AFP/Getty Images
]

This piece was one of Queen Fabiola's wedding presents. It was given to her on behalf of the brokers and jewelers of the diamond industry in Antwerp. The diamond tiara, which can also be worn as a necklace, was crafted on their behalf by Wolfers, a company that had been making jewelry in Belgium for more than a century. The piece is small but versatile, and it’s not lacking in glitter, as it’s packed with more than 200 diamonds.


Queen Fabiola wears the tiara as a necklace
[AFP/Getty Images
]

Fabiola wore the tiara regularly during her queenship, sometimes as a diadem, and sometimes as a necklace. She often wore the piece as a necklace while wearing either the Spanish tiara or the Nine Provinces, or alone, as she does in the photograph above. While the tiara looks rather small nestled in Fabiola's voluminous bouffant, as a necklace, it provides substantial sparkle.


Queen Fabiola (with President Mitterand) wears the tiara at a state dinner in Paris, November 1992
[JOEL ROBINE/AFP/Getty Images
]

Fabiola’s husband, King Baudouin, died in 1993; after his death, this necklace/tiara and many of her more elaborate jewels were worn seldomly, if at all. We learned shortly after Fabiola's death earlier this month that she had donated all of her possessions to Hulpfonds van de Koningin, a charity that she founded after becoming Belgium's queen. But, as it turns out, the Wolfers Tiara was not one of those possessions.


Queen Mathilde wears the tiara at an official dinner in Poland, October 2015
[Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images
]

In October 2015, Queen Mathilde, wife of Fabiola's nephew, King Philippe, wore the tiara in public for the first time. We knew that Fabiola had privately distributed some of her jewelry to family members before her death, and it's clear that she reserved some of the grandest pieces for Mathilde. The reemergence of the Wolfers Tiara has given many of us hope that Fabiola's biggest tiara, the Spanish Wedding Gift, may be hidden away in Mathilde's jewelry collection, too.