21 December 2019

The Luxembourg Sapphire Bracelet Bandeau

Mark Renders/Getty Images

Princess Margaretha of Liechtenstein is one of the rare European royals who is part of two different reigning families. Married to the brother of the Prince of Liechtenstein, Margaretha is also a sister of the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. Such a well-connected princess definitely needs a tiara or two, and today's sparkler, the Luxembourg Sapphire Bracelet Bandeau, currently resides in her jewelry box.

Official Portrait/Grand Ducal Court of Luxembourg

The jewel originally belonged to Margaretha's mother, the late Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte of Luxembourg. The sapphire and diamond bracelet was one of the presents she received when she married Hereditary Grand Duke Jean in 1953. Josephine-Charlotte was born a Belgian princess, and the bracelet was a gift from the Belgian nobility. The bracelet, made by Jean Lantonnois, is set with more than 200 diamond brilliants and a single Ceylon sapphire. Josephine-Charlotte wears the bracelet on her right wrist in the official portrait above (as well as her Sapphire Art Deco Necklace Tiara).

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The bracelet is marvelously convertible, which is always a good thing for a piece of royal jewelry. Josephine-Charlotte most often wore it as a bracelet, but she was also pictured wearing the central portion of the bracelet as a brooch. (Above, she uses it to secure her order sash.) She was also photographed wearing the bracelet as a bandeau-style tiara, as was her elder daughter, Princess Marie-Astrid.

Mark Renders/Getty Images

After Josephine-Charlotte's death in 2005, the family decided to sell a large amount of her jewelry, including the sapphire bracelet, at auction. Though the sale was canceled following public outcry, many pieces were quietly sold afterward. But in 2007, the sapphire bracelet made a prominent public appearance on Josephine-Charlotte's younger daughter, Princess Margaretha, suggesting that it had been spared from the auction block.

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Princess Margaretha wore the bracelet as a bandeau-style tiara for a state banquet at Laeken Castle in Belgium in March 2007. She was part of the Luxembourgish royal party visiting the Belgian royal family on that occasion. (Of course, the Belgian royals are also Margaretha's aunts, uncles, and cousins, thanks to her mother's Belgian royal heritage.)

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Margaretha paired the bandeau with diamond and sapphire earrings and diamond bracelets for the dinner. From this angle, you get a good idea of the design of the sides of the bracelet, as well as the way those sides attach to the central element.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

We haven't seen Margaretha wear the bracelet in bandeau form since 2007, but in 2012, she made another prominent appearance in sapphires. For the wedding of her nephew, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume, she used a diamond and sapphire brooch to secure her pale pink wrap. Many have speculated that the central sapphire and diamond cluster is the same one from the bracelet, just removed and reset into a new brooch design.