17 October 2018

The Dutch Fire Opal Suite

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Some royals throughout history have been wary of the opal, the birthstone of October babies. But the Dutch royal family apparently doesn't subscribe to this superstition, as their royal vaults include a set of opal jewels in a very appropriate shade of orange. Today, we've got a closer look at the Dutch Fire Opal Suite.




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The suite of jewels, which includes a brooch, earrings, bracelet, and ring, arrived in Princess Beatrix's jewelry box in the 1960s, when she was still heir to her mother, the late Queen Juliana. Here, the brooch and ring are visible as Beatrix visits a hospital in June 1968.


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But early black-and-white photos don't do the opals justice. You can see them blazing in all their orange glory in this photo of Queen Maxima wearing all four pieces (earrings, brooch, bracelet, and ring) during a visit to Germany in June 2013.


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Here's a closer look at one of the earrings. The diamonds here are typical of the set's mid-century creation date.


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The dangle portion of the earring can be removed, and the stud can be worn with other attached drops, as Beatrix did here in The Hague in October 2004. Beatrix has also been known to affix pearl drops to the stud portion of the earrings.


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For Prinsjesdag in 2003, Princess Laurentien wears the stud portion of the earrings with a large diamond drop -- so large, in fact, that the sparkle was a little too much for the camera to handle, causing that red flare.


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Here's a closer look at the brooch, which features diamonds set in a design that coordinates with the earrings, plus five lovely fire opals.


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The silver-toned bracelet includes a trio of fire opal clusters.


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And here's a view of the ring. A large fire opals is surrounded by diamonds, coordinating with the rest of the pieces from the set.


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Beatrix has continued to wear the opal suite throughout her life. This photograph, taken in The Hague in April 2006, shows a little bit of the luminous power of the opals set in the brooch.


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And here, you'll see a glimpse of the opals against Beatrix's patterned orange jacket as she attends the Apples of Orange awards ceremony at the Noordeinde Palace in 2015.


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But Beatrix has also been generous in sharing the suite with the other women in her family. Here, Princess Laurentien wears the fire opals at the wedding of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima in February 2002.


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And Queen Maxima, who often wears orange, has been a fan of the fire opals since the early days of her royal marriage. In September 2005, she wore the brooch and earrings with her topaz bracelet for Prinsjesdag.


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The brooch and earrings still managed to pop against her orange dress during the Apples of Orange awards ceremony in 2013.


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And here, she wears the earrings (and the entire suite, visible in a photograph above), for a visit to Wiesbaden in June 2013.