24 February 2018

Queen Emma's Diamond Tiara

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The Dutch royal vaults are absolutely brimming with tiaras, but today's deceptively-simple sparkler, Queen Emma's Diamond Tiara, has been treasured by the women of the family for more than a hundred years.

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The diamond tiara, which features a trio of harp designs with large diamond rosette-style clusters in their centers, is made of silver and gold. It was made for Queen Emma of the Netherlands, the second wife of King Willem III, in 1890 by Royal Begeer. Although it was commissioned for Emma by Willem, the tiara unintentionally turned into a posthumous gift: it was delivered to Emma at the palace shortly after her husband's death.

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Emma often wore the tiara topped with a series of diamond stars from her collection. She wore it in that configuration for the wedding of her daughter, Queen Wilhelmina, in 1901; her jewels from that occasion are shown in the illustration above, which is based on a photograph.

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Queen Wilhelmina inherited the tiara from her mother, and she also wore it topped with diamond stars, as you can see in the portrait above, taken in the 1930s. The tiara was not a favorite of Wilhelmina's daughter, Queen Juliana, but as it is now a part of the family's jewel foundation, it's been worn by numerous other members of the Dutch royal family.

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The tiara has been one of the go-to sparklers for Juliana's daughter, Princess Beatrix. When Andy Warhol created a portrait of then-Queen Beatrix for his Reigning Queens series in 1985, he chose to depict her wearing the tiara. His portrait was based on this image, taken during the celebrations for her inauguration in 1980.


Beatrix wore the tiara throughout her reign. Above, she chose it for a formal dinner with the Governor-General of Australia at Palace Noordeinde in The Hague in September 2006. The Dutch royal ladies often pair the tiara with this lovely diamond scroll brooch, which belonged to Queen Wilhelmina.

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The tiara also has another setting: the center diamond of each rosette can be swapped out for a ruby. Princess Laurentien wore the tiara with a ruby in the center of the largest rosette at the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden in June 2010.


Laurentien has also worn the all-diamond version of the tiara; here, she sports it during the state visit from Belgium in November 2016.

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Queen Maxima has also embraced the tiara, including an ultra-glam appearance in the all-diamond version during a visit to New Zealand in November 2016. (You can read our post on that event here!)