03 July 2017

Princess Charlene's Bejeweled Wedding Gifts

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When Charlene Wittstock married Prince Albert II of Monaco in July 2011, she accrued a small but significant haul of jewelry. After all, the wife of a sovereign prince definitely needs some bling, right? Here's a look at three of her most important bejeweled wedding gifts, all presents from her new husband.




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The Ocean Tiara and Earrings

Van Cleef and Arpels has been supplying the princely family of Monaco with jewels for decades, so it's no surprise that Albert turned to the firm to make a suite of jewelry for his wife-to-be. The jewelry firm created a convertible necklace/tiara and coordinating earrings for Charlene. Fittingly, the suite was inspired by the sea that surrounds Monaco.




As Charlene was an Olympic swimmer before she met Albert, jewels with watery themes are perfect for her. This set is made of diamonds and sapphires, and each circle element includes design elements that resemble cresting waves. (Read more about the tiara over here!)


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Only days after the princely wedding, the Ocean Tiara went on display with Charlene's wedding gown at the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco. Press photos of the tiara mistakenly identified it as the tiara worn by Charlene on her wedding day. (She wore no tiara during her wedding, and the Baumer Aigrette during her reception.) The tiara has also been included in other museum exhibitions, including the Van Cleef and Arpels "A Quest for Beauty" touring exhibit.


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Charlene has posed in the tiara for portrait photographs, but for her public debut in the piece, she wore it in its necklace form. Her first outing in the piece came at the Red Cross Ball in 2011, shortly after her wedding.


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She's also worn the earrings from the suite on a few occasions. Above, she wears them at the Rose Ball in Monaco in 2014.




The Baumer Aigrette

Albert commissioned a second tiara for his wife as well: an all-diamond aigrette made by Lorenz Baumer. Like Van Cleef and Arpels, Baumer took his inspiration from Charlene's aquatic prowess and the principality's maritime location, creating an aigrette that resembles the spray rising off of a cresting wave. (Read more about the aigrette over here!)


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Charlene has worn the aigrette only once so far in public: at her wedding reception, held after her religious wedding ceremony.





When you compare the piece's wedding reception outing with the videos of Charlene trying it on during the creation process, you can see that she wore it "backwards" during her wedding. In this moving image, you can see that the bottom of the "spray" is placed behind her right ear, so that the piece rises over her head, with the largest diamonds suspended in mid-air. When she reversed the piece on her wedding, the aigrette hugged her head more closely, with the diamonds nestled into her hairstyle instead of forming a rising spray effect. as Baumer intended.




Which way do you like the aigrette better?



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The Infinite Cascade Necklace

Water elements also inspired Albert's third bejeweled gift for his bride: a diamond and pearl necklace made by Nagib Tabbah of Tabbah Jewellery. The necklace was a collaboration between Princess Charlene and Tabbah. The rose gold necklace is set with 1237 diamonds and 6 large pearls.


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Charlene wore the necklace at a concert held in Port Hercule just after her civil marriage ceremony, on the evening before her religious wedding. Tabbah explains that the necklace "is imbued with fluid structure: ripples that at once wrap, as if to protect, the neck, while simultaneously cascading over the collar bone where the large pearls drop, their individual settings ensuring delicate sparkle and warm glow as they catch the light."


Which of Charlene's wedding presents would you like to see her wear again?