27 September 2017

The Dutch Sapphire Necklace Tiara

Michel Porro/Getty Images

As our celebration of September's birthstone draws to a close, we've got an especially innovative tiara creation on tap. Today’s sparkler, the Dutch Sapphire Necklace Tiara, is actually composed of a sapphire necklace supplemented by elements from another dismantled sapphire jewel.

Princess Juliana wears the shorter version of the necklace with the family's grand sapphire tiara in 1937 (Wikimedia Commons)

While the necklace was not worn in public as a tiara until 2009, it has a much longer history. It began as a choker of diamonds and eleven sapphires and was purchased for Queen Emma by her husband, King Willem III. Along with other sapphire and diamond jewels, it was collected into a married parure. Occasionally a sapphire pendant was added to the center of the piece.

Queen Juliana wears the longer version of the necklace in 1955 (AFP/Getty Images)

The choker necklace was lengthened in the first half of the twentieth century; with the extra length added, it can still be worn either with or without the pendant. Above, Queen Juliana wears the lengthened version of the necklace in a 1955 portrait.

Michel Porro/Getty Images

The tiara is topped by five lozenge-shaped sapphire and diamond ornaments. These pieces came from another item altogether: part of the sapphire and diamond “wedding gift parure” that was made by Israel and Hoetig and given to Queen Wilhelmina on behalf of the people of the Netherlands when she married in 1901. (Read more about the set over here!) The five pieces were originally sections of the necklace from that parure, which was broken up in 1962 and used to make other smaller pieces of jewelry for the four daughters of Queen Juliana.

Maxima wears the tiara in 2010 (Jens Nørgaard Larsen/AFP/Getty Images)

Princess Margriet began wearing the new tiara in 2009, and since then, both she and Queen Maxima have sported the sparkler at various occasions. Maxima chose the tiara for one of the biggest royal events of 2010: the 70th birthday celebrations for Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.

Beatrix wears the tiara during an official visit from the Prince of Monaco, 2014 (FRANK VAN BEEK/AFP/Getty Images)

And in 2014, Princess Beatrix wore the piece for the first time during the official visit from Prince Albert II of Monaco. In a collection full of major (and sometimes tough-to-wear) tiaras, I'd predict that innovative smaller pieces like this will be more and more useful in the coming years -- especially when there are three young Dutch princesses attending tiara events.

Note: This is an updated version of an earlier post, with new text and images.