16 October 2020

Joyas de Pasar: The Brooches

Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images

Today, we've got the last post in our week-long series on the joyas de pasar, the collection of Spanish royal jewels that passes from monarch to monarch. In this fifth and final installment, we're taking a look at the brooches included in Queen Ena's grand collection of royal jewels.

Queen Ena, ca. 1914 (Grand Ladies Site)

As we've noted in the previous posts from the series, the joyas de pasar collection was created by Queen Ena of Spain in her 1963 will. (You can read much more detail about the will and the language of inheritance regarding these jewels in this post.) The collection includes a tiara, a pair of earrings, a pair of bracelets, three necklaces, and two brooches.

Detail from Ramon Padro y Pedret's 1906 portrait of Queen Ena

The first brooch is described in the will as "un broche de brillantes del cual cuelga una perla en forma de pera llamada 'La Peregrina,'" or, in English, a diamond brooch from which hangs a pear-shaped pearl called "La Peregrina." Queen Ena believed that the pearl drop given to her by King Alfonso XIII was La Peregrina, one of the world's most famous pearls. Unfortunately, it wasn't. La Peregrina took a different historical path; the pearl drop from Queen Ena's collection is often called "La Peregrina II" instead. In the painting above, Queen Ena wears La Peregrina II suspended from a diamond and pearl ribbon brooch. (The brooch is #4 in this collage image of Queen Ena's wedding presents.) But later in life, Ena also wore La Peregrina II suspended from a diamond bow brooch, worn by her in this 1956 portrait. It seems quite likely that the bow brooch is the one described in her will.

Queen Sofia wears the bow brooch, 2009 (Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

That diamond bow brooch has yet to be worn by Queen Letizia, but it was worn by Queen Sofia during the reign of King Juan Carlos -- but without La Peregrina II. She wore the pendant-less diamond bow to secure her order sash for the Argentine state dinner in Madrid in February 2009. (She's also wearing the Spanish Floral Tiara and Queen Maria Cristina's Mellerio Pearl Necklace.)

Queen Sofia wears the 37 Pearl Necklace with La Peregrina II, 2014 (Antonio Gutierrez -Pool/Getty Images)

Queen Sofia also wore La Peregrina II frequently, but as a pendant on various pearl necklace (including the 37 Pearl Necklace) rather than suspended from a brooch. One of her last appearances in La Peregrina II came when she wore it with the 37 Pearl Necklace during the final state visit of her husband's reign in June 2014. (Queen Letizia has yet to wear La Peregrina II in public.)

Queen Ena, ca. 1920

The second of the two joyas de pasar brooches is described in Queen Ena's will as a "broche con perla grande gris pálido rodeada de brillantes y del cual cuelga una perla en forma de pera," or a brooch with a large, pale gray pearl surrounded by diamonds, from which hangs a pear-shaped pearl. Originally, the top pearl was surrounded by a single row of diamonds; at some point during Ena's lifetime, a second row was added to form a double cluster. In the portrait above, she wears the brooch with additional pearls and the Mellerio Shell Tiara.

Ron Sachs/Pool/Getty Images

Queen Sofia wore the gray pearl brooch often during her tenure as custodian of the joyas de pasar. Above, she wears the piece during a state dinner in Washington, D.C. in February 2000 -- though she appears to have worn the cluster portion with La Peregrina II instead of the usual drop.


And in December 2009, she wore the brooch in its usual form with the 37 Pearl Necklace and the Spanish Floral Tiara during a gala dinner in Madrid for the President of Vietnam.


She also wore the cluster portion without any pendant at all, as seen in this photo, taken during the Japanese state visit to Spain in October 1994. (She's also wearing Queen Ena's Pearl and Diamond Tiara, her long pearl drop earrings -- and I think that's La Peregrina II on a pearl necklace.)

Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images

When King Felipe VI became Spain's monarch in June 2014, Queen Letizia became the new wearer of the joyas de pasar collection. Though she has yet to wear La Peregrina II or the diamond bow brooch, she has worn the gray pearl brooch on one important occasion. She debuted the piece at the Pascua Militar celebrations in January 2019, pinning it to a tweed jacket. (More from that event, including a brooch close-up, over here!)