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Queen Ena's Brooch for Letizia

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Queen Letizia of Spain just keeps surprising us with more and more heirloom royal jewels, and I couldn't be more delighted! This week, she reached for Queen Ena's Gray Pearl Drop Brooch.




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The occasion for the brooch-wearing was a formal one: the Pascua Militar, the annual new year military parade and celebrations in Madrid. As usual, the day began outdoors for the military parade...


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...and then moved inside the Royal Palace for a reception.


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Letizia debuted another piece from the joyas de pasar, the collection of jewels that Queen Ena designated to pass from monarch to monarch in Spain. (More on the entire collection here!) This time, she chose the "broche con perla grande gris pálido rodeada de brillantes y del cual cuelga una perla en forma de pera," a brooch with a large, pale gray pearl surrounded by diamonds, from which hangs a pear-shaped pearl.


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The brooch has two notable features that help distinguish it from other royal brooches. The top portion features a pale gray pearl surrounded by a double cluster of diamonds, while other similar pieces from the Spanish royal vaults feature only a single diamond cluster. Also, the pearl pendant is suspended from an additional chevron of diamonds, providing it with a sort of diamond frame.


Queen Ena wears the gray pearl cluster brooch with its pendant drop in a portrait, ca. 1920s

That chevron-style frame is clearly visible in this photograph of Ena, taken in the 1920s. You'll note here that the brooch only features a single cluster of diamonds around the round pearl. The second row of diamonds was a later addition, made during Ena's lifetime.


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Before Letizia, the most recent wearer of the brooch was, of course, her mother-in-law, Queen Sofia. (Under the terms of Ena's bequest, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia had the use of the collection until his abdication, when they passed to King Felipe and Queen Letizia.)


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Two years ago, Letizia also began wearing another similar heirloom brooch from the Spanish royal vaults: the Countess of Barcelona's Pearl Drop Brooch. The piece is also set with large pearls, but note that (unlike Ena's brooch) it features only a single cluster of diamonds and no frame section above the pendant. (I think I might like the Countess of Barcelona's brooch slightly more on Letizia -- its simpler design suits her.)


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Along with Queen Ena's brooch, Letizia wore a pair of embellished pearl stud earrings.


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This angle gives you a better view of the silver-toned design on the pearl.


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And here's a look at Letizia's entire ensemble. (The long skirt is part of the dress code for the event.)