12 May 2019

The Dutch Emerald Butterfly Brooch

Patrick van Katwijk/Getty Images

The Dutch royal jewelry vaults are some of the most impressive in all of Europe, with numerous parures and suites set with precious gems. Today, we've got a closer look at one of the family's lovely butterfly brooches.


This stunning brooch, set with diamonds and emeralds, dates to the end of the nineteenth century. It was a gift from King Willem III of the Netherlands to his second wife, Queen Emma. The royal couple married in 1879, and Willem died in 1890. Emma needed major jewels for her dual royal roles, first as queen consort, and then as regent for her young daughter, Queen Wilhelmina.


The brooch is still in the royal vaults today. The piece has been worn by numerous members of the royal family, including Queen Juliana and Princess Beatrix. Today, it's become a favorite piece of Queen Maxima. Above, she wears the brooch during a visit to Japan in October 2014.


Appropriately, Maxima likes to pair the brooch with clothing in vibrant shades of green. Above, she wears the brooch on a green jacket for a conference on transgender health care in Amsterdam in June 2016.

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And in October 2018, she pinned the brooch (carefully!) to a modern lace gown in a darker shade of jade. On both occasions, she wore the brooch with her diamond and emerald earrings, which can be worn in various lengths.

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The brooch's size also makes it a lovely hair ornament. In May 2015, the brooch was fastened in Maxima's hair for the annual Liberation Day Concert in Amsterdam.

Harry Pot/Anefo/Nationaal Archief/Wikimedia Commons

And she's not the first member of the family to have experimented with wearing the brooch in her hair. In April 1963, Princess Irene used the brooch as an alternate to a traditional tiara for a return dinner during a state visit from the President of Mexico.