30 April 2019

Crown Princess Masako's Diamond Scroll Brooch

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As the imperial transition begins in Japan today, I thought it was an especially appropriate time to highlight one of my favorite pieces from Crown Princess Masako's jewelry box. Today, we're looking at the diamond scroll brooch worn by the woman who soon becomes the Empress of Japan.




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The brooch is a modern piece featuring a mirrored set of scrolling elements, joined together so that they almost mimic a traditional bow or ribbon brooch.


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Here's another view of the piece that gives you an idea of its scale and sparkle.


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The brooch is part of a larger suite of jewelry, the Japanese Crown Princely Wedding Parure. The set was worn as wedding jewelry by both Empress Michiko (in 1959) and Crown Princess Masako (in 1993). Above, you'll spot Masako wearing the tiara and necklace from the suite on her wedding day. (Learn more about the set in our previous post here!)


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Masako has been wearing the brooch and its coordinating jewels for more than 25 years. An early appearance for the brooch came in January 1994, when she wore it with a green dress for the annual New Year's appearance by the family on the balcony of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.


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Masako paired the brooch with a vibrant orange dress in January 1998 as she joined the family for the annual New Year's appearance on the balcony.


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And in December 1998, she pinned the brooch to a dress in a shade of coral pink during a balcony appearance celebrating her father-in-law's birthday.


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As time went on, Masako's tastes shifted, and she tended to prefer more neutral colors. The brooch still managed to sparkle on this cream-colored embroidered ensemble, worn for the New Year balcony appearance in January 2006.


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She repeated the same ensemble and jewels in December 2006 as her father-in-law received birthday greetings at the palace.


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She paired the brooch with pale blue and pearls in January 2014 for the New Year appearance...


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...and for the same event a year later, in January 2015.


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My favorite pairing with the brooch, though, is dark navy blue, a combination that really lets the details of the brooch shine. She wore the brooch this way for the Emperor's birthday in December 2007...


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....and for his milestone 75th birthday the following year, in December 2008.


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One of her most recent appearances in the brooch, for the Emperor's 85th birthday celebrations in December 2018, also saw her wearing the piece with blue.