16 July 2018

Jewel History: Women Fought for Admission to Gem Auction (1927)

Laurits Tuxen's painting of the Coronation of Nicholas II and Alexandra, completed in 1898 and held in the collection of the Hermitage Museum

"Women Fought for Admission to Gem Auction"
(originally appeared in the Montreal Gazette, 17 March 1927)

LONDON, March 16 -- Women fought for admission to Christie's showrooms today to attend an auction of a collection of royal Russian jewels including the famous nuptial crown of Catherine the Great [1]. The gems brought a total of £80,561, or almost $400,000.

The nuptial crown, as it is described to distinguish it from the great imperial coronation crown, was sold early to a Paris firm for £6,100. It has double rows of fine brilliants set in borders of smaller stones and surmounted by a cross of six large brilliants.


15 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Swedish Aquamarine Kokoshnik

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Princess Madeleine of Sweden wears the family's aquamarine kokoshnik during the Nobel Prize banquet in Stockholm, December 2015; read more about the tiara here!


Birthday Jewels for Crown Princess Victoria

Michael Campanella/Getty Images

Crown Princess Victoria, the future Queen of Sweden, celebrated her 41st birthday on Saturday with festivities on the island of Öland. Here's a look at the jewels the family wore for the annual Victoriadagen celebrations.


14 July 2018

Pearls for a Day of Duchesses at Wimbledon

NIC BOTHMA/AFP/Getty Images

We got a bit of a royal treat earlier today, when the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex headed to Wimbledon together to take in a spot of tennis, including a match featuring Meghan's close friend, Serena Williams. Here's a look at the jewelry we did (and didn't) see on this duchesses' day out.


The Daily Diadem: The Greek Emerald Parure Tiara

German Federal Archives/Wikimedia Commons

Queen Friederike of the Hellenes wears the (slightly-modified) kokoshnik-shaped version of the family's emerald parure tiara during a visit to Germany, September 1956; learn more about the parure here!


Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna's Fringe Tiara

Detail of Philip de Laszlo's portrait of Queen Marie of Romania wearing her mother's diamond fringe tiara, painted 1936 (Wikimedia Commons)

When the Romanovs reigned in Russia, every grand duchess got a kokoshnik-style diamond fringe tiara as a part of her trousseau when she married. Think about how many Russian grand duchesses there were! No wonder there are so many of these hanging around in royal vaults, huh? But today we're talking about one, Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovna's Fringe Tiara, that bounced from royal family to royal family before finally disappearing through the doors of an auction house.


13 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: Grand Duchess Ella's Emerald Kokoshnik

Wikimedia Commons

Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia wears the emerald and diamond kokoshnik she inherited from her aunt and guardian, Grand Duchess Ella, in a portrait; read more about the tiara here!


This Week in Royal Jewels: July 6-12


July 6-12, 2018

It's been another crazy busy royal week, so we've got plenty of jewels for you to enjoy today! Don't forget to vote for your favorites in the poll below!


Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

20. For audiences at Zarzuela Palace on Thursday, Queen Letizia of Spain wore a pair of delicate beaded pendant earrings.


12 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Vladimir Sapphire Kokoshnik

Wikimedia Commons

Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia wears her diamond and sapphire kokoshnik in a portrait by Boris Kustodiev, painted ca. 1911; learn more about the kokoshink over here!


Scouting Statement Earrings for Queen Maxima

Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands headed to Voorburg on Tuesday to attend a scouting event, and although the environment was a fairly casual one, our reliable Max brought along a major pair of earrings.


11 July 2018

Sussex Visit to Ireland: Jewels of Day Two

Andrew Parsons - Pool/Getty Images

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex wrapped up their quick visit to Ireland on Wednesday with a tour of some of Dublin's most famous landmarks. Here's a look at Meghan's jewels for the day.


The Daily Diadem: The Cartier Pearl and Diamond Kokoshnik

Cole Bennetts/Getty Images

A delicate pearl and diamond kokoshnik, made by Cartier in 1908, is displayed in Canberra, Australia, March 2018; learn more about the exhibition here, here, and here!


Sussex Visit to Ireland: Jewels of Day One

BRIAN LAWLESS/AFP/Getty Images

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex embarked on the first foreign trip as a married couple on Tuesday, touching down in Dublin to start their two-day visit to Ireland. Luckily for us, Meghan treated us to not one but two pairs of earrings for day one.


10 July 2018

Royal Jewels to Celebrate the RAF

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the royal family gathered in London to celebrate the centenary of the Royal Air Force. Here's a look at the jewels that they wore for the occasion.


The Daily Diadem: The Prussian Meander Kokoshnik

Wikimedia Commons

Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia wears the Prussian Meander Kokoshnik at her wedding to Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, 1938; learn more about the tiara over here!


Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna's Coronation Brooch

Princess Elisabeth wears the coronation brooch, May 2004 (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

When Princess Elisabeth of Denmark passed away last month, we chatted about one of her beautiful heirloom jewels: her diamond and sapphire tiara. But, given our focus on the Romanovs this month, it's only fair to peek once more into her jewelry collection to discuss a rare, spectacular jewel: the coronation brooch that belonged to her Russian great-grandmother, Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna.


09 July 2018

Royal Jewels at Prince Louis's Christening

DOMINIC LIPINSKI/AFP/Getty Images

The Wales/Cambridge/Sussex family was out in force on Monday for the christening of their newest member, Prince Louis of Cambridge. Here's a look at some of the jewelry they wore for the little prince's big day.


The Daily Diadem: Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom wears Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik with pieces from the Brazilian Aquamarine Parure during a reception at Buckingham Palace, January 1969; read more about the tiara here and the aquamarines here!


Order of the Thistle Jewels 2018

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

During Holyrood Week, the annual period when Queen Elizabeth II is officially in residence at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, a service is held for members of the Order of the Thistle, Scotland's highest order of chivalry. Here's a look at the royal jewels we saw on display on Friday at the order's chapel at St. Giles High Kirk.


08 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Vladimir Tiara

Department of Defense/Wikimedia Commons

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom wears the Vladimir Tiara in its original pearl setting for a state dinner with President and Mrs. Reagan in Washington, D.C., 23 February 1983; more on the tiara over here!


The Grima Ruby Brooch

Queen Elizabeth II tours the Diamond Jubilee Galleries at Westminster Abbey, 8 June 2018 (KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/AFP/Getty Images)

Many of the Queen's brooches are traditional pieces, inherited from generations past. But there are an increasing number of modern pieces in her collection. Today, we're looking at one of these newer brooches: the Grima Ruby Brooch.


07 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Meiji Tiara

National Archives/Wikimedia Commons

Empress Nagako of Japan wears the Meiji Tiara for a state dinner with President and Mrs. Ford in Washington, D.C., 2 October 1975; more on the tiara over here!


Empress Alexandra's Boucheron Coronet

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia wears her Boucheron coronet in a portrait, ca. 1914 (Wikimedia Commons)

The Romanov jewelry vaults were massive, including some of the most elaborate diadems and tiaras worn at the turn of the twentieth century. But Russia's last empress was partial to a much smaller sparkler: a sentimental pearl and diamond coronet.


06 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Niarchos Ruby Bandeau

Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

Princess (now Queen) Sofia of Spain wears the Niarchos Ruby Bandeau and other pieces from the accompanying suite for an official dinner with President and Mrs. Nixon in Washington, D.C., 26 January 1971; more on the parure over here!


The Court Jeweller on Jeopardy!



What is ... The Court Jeweller on Jeopardy!?

Grab your snacks and set your DVRs, everybody -- I'm going to be on Jeopardy! today! I traveled to California to tape the show back in March, and my appearance finally airs today. You'll notice on the show that they call me by my real name, Lauren. (I write online under a pseudonym based on my initials!)

If you're not sure when Jeopardy! airs in your television market, you can hop over to the show's website to find your station. I'll also be tweeting about the experience on my personal Twitter account, which you can find here. Thanks so much for all of your excitement about the show so far!


This Week in Royal Jewels: June 29-July 5


June 29-July 5, 2018

The royals were out and about in a significant amount of daytime sparkle this week. Don't forget to vote for your favorites in the poll below!


YUI MOK/AFP/Getty Images

10. The Duchess of Sussex wore dainty diamond earrings on Thursday for a Commonwealth Secretariats Youth Leadership Workshop reception at Marlborough House; according to What Meghan Wore, these are the 3 Diamond Amigo Earrings from Adina Reyter.


05 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: Grand Duchess Hilda's Floral Tiara

Image licensed to The Court Jeweller; do not reproduce

Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg wears Grand Duchess Hilda's Floral Tiara for a state dinner with President and Mrs. Kennedy in Washington, D.C., 30 April 1963; more on the tiara here!


Jewel History: State Performance at the Opera (1893)

Guests in the royal box at the Opera House in Covent Garden on 4 July 1893, just before the royal wedding, in an illustration from the Illustrated London News

"State Performance at the Opera"
(originally appeared in the Daily News, 5 July 1893)

The State performance given at the Opera House last night in honour of the Duke of York [1] and the Princess May [2] differed in one important respect from previous "gala" representations held in the same building. Hitherto, or at any rate during the past thirty years, these "Command" performances have taken place only on the visit of some foreign potentate, such as the late Czar, the German Emperor, or the Shah. The event of last evening, when the large majority of the illustrious company in the Royal box were connected by ties of kinship with our own Royal family, was, on the other hand, essentially a national and almost a domestic gathering -- a compliment paid by London Society to the English Prince and Princess whose wedding will be celebrated tomorrow.

Not that the splendour of the scene was diminished a whit on this account. It may indeed be said, without the slightest fear of contradiction, that a more brilliant spectacle has never before been witnessed at Covent Garden. As to the galleries, which were crammed to their last seats, the crowds had been waiting outside the doors from one o'clock in the afternoon. The floor of the house and the boxes were filled by the flower of the English aristocracy, the ladies resplendent in costly costumes and rare diamonds, while the gentlemen, although Court dress was not unduly insisted upon, were almost without exception clad in either levee dress or uniform.


04 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Seven Emeralds Tiara

Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons

Farah Pahlavi, the last Empress of Iran, wears the Seven Emeralds Tiara for a state dinner with President and Mrs. Kennedy in Washington, D.C., 11 April 1962; the tiara is now on display in Tehran with the rest of the nation's crown jewels


The Grima Bicentennial Brooch

The Grima Bicentennial Brooch (Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library/Wikimedia Commons)

Happy Independence Day, fellow American magpies! I'm taking the day off to enjoy parades, barbecue, and fireworks with my family, but before I go, I've got an intriguing bit of American bling to share with you: the Grima Bicentennial Brooch.


03 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Pearl Sunburst Tiara

Image licensed to The Court Jeweller; do not reproduce

Crown Princess (now Empress) Michiko of Japan wears the Pearl Sunburst Tiara and jewels from its accompanying suite for a state dinner with President and Mrs. Eisenhower in Washington, D.C., 27 September 1960; learn more about the parure here!


Princess Ayako's Engagement Jewels

KOJI SASAHARA/AFP/Getty Images

Another Japanese princess is hanging up her jewels for love! Princess Ayako of Takamado announced her engagement on Monday, and we've got a look at her understated jewels from the official press conference.


02 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) of the United Kingdom wears the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara for a dinner with President Truman at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., 1950; read more about the tiara over here!


The Bay Tree Egg

The Bay Tree Egg is displayed at Sotheby's in New York ahead of its auction, 8 January 2004 (STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Most of the jewels we focus on here on the blog are wearable pieces of art, but in imperial Russia, some of the most fabulous bejeweled pieces were objects -- more specifically, Fabergé eggs. The presentation of jewel-encrusted eggs was an Easter tradition for the last two Russian emperors. Today we're looking at one of my very favorite imperial Easter eggs: the Bay Leaf Egg.


01 July 2018

The Daily Diadem: Queen Mary's Russian Bandeau

Image licensed to The Court Jeweller; do not reproduce

Queen Mary of the United Kingdom (far right) wears her Russian bandeau at the Royal Command Performance at the London Palladium, 11 April 1931; see a closer view of the tiara over here!


The Russian Sapphire Cluster Brooch

Queen Elizabeth II wears the Russian Sapphire Cluster Brooch at the Vatican in 2014 (Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

A hundred years ago this month, the last Emperor and Empress of Russia lost their lives in Yekaterinburg. Appropriately, we're devoting the month of July to Romanov jewels, both pieces that still exist and those that have vanished into history. Today, we're starting with one of my very favorite British royal brooches: the Russian Sapphire Cluster Brooch.

30 June 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Nizam of Hyderabad Tiara

Image licensed to The Court Jeweller. Do not reproduce.

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom wears the Nizam of Hyderabad Tiara (and necklace) to the Royal Variety Performance at the London Palladium, 3 November 1952; learn more about the now-dismantled tiara over here!


The Fife Tiara

© Historic Royal Palaces

There are tiaras -- and then there are masterpieces. Today's tiara definitely falls into the latter category. One of the most stunning tiaras in the collections of the extended British royal family, the Fife Tiara was given to Princess Louise, the daughter of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, as a wedding gift in 1889.


29 June 2018

The Daily Diadem: Queen Mary's Honeysuckle Tiara

Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The Duchess of Gloucester wears Queen Mary's Honeysuckle Tiara with its pink gemstone (variously described as a kunzite or a pink topaz) for a Guildhall banquet in honor of the President of India, 27 October 2009; read more about the tiara here!


This Week in Royal Jewels: June 22-28


June 22-28, 2018

State visits, horse races, national celebrations -- and tiaras! You've got plenty to choose from this week, so don't forget to vote for your favorites in the poll below!


Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

15. The Princess Takamado, honorary president of Japan's Football Association, continues to delight at the World Cup in Russia with soccer-themed jewelry; she wore this pair of earrings and brooch with a gold and diamond necklace and a lovely ring on Sunday during the Japan-Senegal match.


28 June 2018

The Daily Diadem: The Modern Gold Parure Tiara

Hakon Mosvold Larsen/AFP/Getty Images

Queen Sonja of Norway wears the green tourmaline setting of the tiara from her modern gold parure during a gala dinner honoring the President of Brazil in Oslo, 13 September 2007; read more about the tiara over here!


TCJ Book Club Pick: Cherie Burns's Diving for Starfish



Drumroll, please! Our July 2018 selection for The Court Jeweller Book Club is...


TCJ Book Club Discussion: Julia P. Gelardi's Born to Rule

Julia P. Gelardi's Born to Rule (Photo: The Court Jeweller. Do not reproduce.)

It's time for the inaugural discussion post for The Court Jeweller Book Club, everybody! Many of you have been reading along with our June 2018 selection, Julia P. Gelardi's Born to Rule: Five Reigning Consorts, Granddaughters of Queen Victoria, over the course of the last month, and today we're going to chat about our thoughts on the book.


27 June 2018

The Daily Diadem: Princess Benedikte's Floral Birthday Tiara

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Princess Benedikte of Denmark, Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg wears her diamond floral tiara at a gala dinner held before the wedding of her nephew, Crown Prince Frederik, 11 May 2004; read more about the tiara over here!


Royal Jewels to Celebrate Young Leaders

John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images

Members of the British royal family gathered at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday for the Queen's Young Leaders Awards Ceremony, which celebrates the achievements of young people from across the Commonwealth working to improve the lives of people across a diverse range of issues.


26 June 2018

The Daily Diadem: Queen Mary's Diamond Bandeau

Jonathan Brady - WPA Pool/Getty Images

The Duchess of Sussex wears Queen Mary's Diamond Bandeau (which includes the County of Lincoln Brooch) at her royal wedding in Windsor, 19 May 2018; more on the tiara here!


Princess Astrid's Gala Jewels

Prince Lorenz and Princess Astrid attend a gala performance at the Stockholm Concert Hall on the eve of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden's wedding, 18 June 2010 (FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Princess Astrid of Belgium, our Magpie of the Month, is the daughter of one monarch, the sister of another, and the cousin of several more -- which means she has lots of opportunities to wear her most glittering jewels. Here's a look at some of her gala appearances over the past fifteen years.