25 July 2017

Royal Rubies from Van Cleef & Arpels

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July babies were blessed with a particularly vibrant birthstone: the bright red ruby. Today, we're looking at a selection of royal ruby pieces created by one of the world's most famous jewelry firms, Van Cleef and Arpels.


The Niarchos Rubies

Queen Sofia of Spain received this suite of VCA diamond and ruby jewels as a wedding gift in 1962. As the name suggests, the jewels were a present from Stavros Niarchos, the famous Greek shipping magnate. A similar ruby set is also owned by Marina Karella, wife of Prince Michael of Greece and Denmark. (Learn more about the set over here!)

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Princess Grace's Versailles Rubies

For a 1973 gala at the Palace of Versailles, which was a benefit to raise funds for restoration of the magnificent building, Princess Grace of Monaco borrowed a VCA ruby and diamond suite. The set bears some resemblance to Queen Sofia's rubies. (See another angle on the pieces over here!)

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The Duchess of Cornwall's Ballerina Brooch

The Duchess of Cornwall has an extensive collection of VCA jewelry, including this lovely ballerina brooch. The golden brooch, which dates to the 1940s, is set with diamonds, sapphires, and rubies. It's an heirloom from Camilla's own family.


Grand Duchess Josephine Charlotte's Ruby Bracelet

Made by VCA in 1952, this bracelet features diamonds and rubies set in platinum. It was an engagement gift to Grand Duchess Josephine Charlotte of Luxembourg from her father, King Leopold III of Belgium. Thanks to some expert jewelry detective work by the bloggers at Luxarazzi, we know that the bracelet was sold at Sotheby's in Geneva in 2009, fetching around $78,000.


Princess Gabriele's Mystery-Set Rubies

Gabriele, Princess zu Leiningen (the former wife of the Aga Khan IV) once owned this suite of diamond and ruby jewels from VCA, which are made using the firm's famous mystery setting. Along with numerous other pieces of her jewelry, the brooch, earrings, and ring were sold at Christie's in 2016. The three pieces combined fetched more than $1.1 million. (Read more about the sale over here!)

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The Duchess of Windsor's Rubies

One of the most famous royal ruby suites of all time belonged to a woman who was almost royal: the Duchess of Windsor. The cascading ruby tassel necklace, worn by Wallis above in Paris in 1966, was a birthday gift from her husband; it's inscribed "My Wallis from her David, 19.VI.1936." Wallis also had other VCA ruby pieces, including a bracelet and a pair of brooches. All were auctioned after her death.