16 November 2019

The Dutch Diamond Festoon Tiara

DPA Picture Alliance Archive/Alamy

Here's how you know the Dutch royal vaults are some of the biggest in Europe: I've been writing this blog for five years, and there are still Dutch royal tiaras we haven't covered here! One of those sparklers is today's jewel: the Dutch Diamond Festoon Tiara.

Wikimedia Commons

I'm classifying this piece as a tiara, but it began life as a completely different kind of royal jewel. The piece was originally set as a diamond festoon necklace. Made by Vita, the piece featured a diamond riviere from which five diamond festoons were suspended, with a single diamond collet in the middle of each festoon. The central festoon also featured another pendant diamond. The necklace was part of a collection of diamond jewels that was given to Queen Wilhelmina on her ninth birthday (!) by her father, King Willem III, in 1889. Above, Wilhelmina wears the necklace early in her reign with the tiara and devant de corsage from the Stuart parure.

Grand Ladies Site

Wilhelmina continued to wear the necklace throughout her reign. She posed later in life for this postcard portrait, wearing the necklace with two jewels that belonged to her mother, Queen Emma: her diamond tiara (topped with diamond stars) and her grand diamond devant de corsage.

Anefo/Nationaal Archief/Wikimedia Commons

The next wearer of the necklace was Wilhelmina's daughter, Queen Juliana. Above, she wears the necklace in January 1967 for an important family occasion: a dinner hosted by the Dutch government to celebrate the wedding of her daughter, Princess Margriet.

Eric Koch/Anefo/Nationaal Archief/Wikimedia Commons

For the occasion, Juliana paired the necklace with another Dutch royal heirloom: the Ears of Wheat Tiara. Her diamond earrings also feature pendants from Queen Emma's Art Deco Corsage (worn by Queen Wilhelmina in one of the portraits above).

PA Images/Alamy

In November 1982, the then-Queen Beatrix wore the necklace with Queen Emma's Diamond Tiara for a state banquet at Hampton Court Palace during her state visit to Britain.


The arrival of Queen Maxima breathed new life into the diamond jewel. She was the first member of the royal family to wear the necklace in public on a tiara frame. Since then, the tiara version of the jewel has also been worn by Princess Margriet.

DPA Picture Alliance Archive/Alamy

For a state banquet in honor of President Vaira Vike-Freiberga of Latvia in January 2005, Maxima wore the festoon tiara with the earrings sourced from Queen Emma's Art Deco Corsage -- the same ones worn by Queen Juliana with the necklace in 1967.