09 January 2021

The Dutch Diamond Trellis Necklace

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The Dutch royal jewelry collection is full of sparkling wonders. One of my personal favorites is this delicate, dazzling jewel: the Diamond Trellis Necklace.


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The necklace, made around 1900, is a wonder of delicate jewelry construction. The piece features around a hundred diamonds mounted on a knife-edge platinum setting in a trellis or lattice design. The largest diamonds can be swapped out for other stones, including sapphires, pearls, and rubies. These fishnet-like motifs were popular at the turn of the twentieth century, with firms like Cartier also producing similar pieces. This particular necklace, though, was reportedly made by Koch, a German firm that frequently employed these knife-edge lattice designs in their pieces. Compare this necklace, for example, to the Koch-made kokoshnik owned by the Prussian royal family. (The lattice design is also why I suspect that the Swedish Aquamarine Kokoshnik may have been made by Koch.) The clever knife-edge setting almost disappears when viewed from a distance, making the diamonds look as if they are floating freely.


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The necklace was a wedding gift to Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands from her mother, Queen Emma. Wilhelmina married Prince Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in 1901. She didn't wear the necklace on her wedding day, but she wore it often in the ensuing years. She reportedly particularly favored the necklace's pearl setting, and she often stacked it with a single-stranded pearl necklace. In the portrait above, which dates to the 1920s, she wears the trellis necklace in that format. You'll also spot the Dutch Ears of Wheat attached to a bandeau, as well as the Dutch Diamond and Pearl Devant de Corsage.




The necklace also included fittings that allowed it to be worn with a series of pendant drops. In the formal state portrait above, a younger Queen Wilhelmina wears the necklace with seven pear-shaped pearl pendants, and again stacks it with another pearl necklace. (She's wearing the necklace with the Wurttemberg Ornate Pearl Tiara, which is so tall that it almost resembles a crown, plus the devant de corsage and lots of other pearls.) Reportedly, the necklace could also be worn with a set of seven diamond drops.


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From Queen Wilhelmina, the necklace passed to Queen Juliana, her only daughter. She wore the necklace frequently at gala events in various settings. Here, during a dinner at the Austrian embassy in May 1961, she wears the all-diamond setting of the necklace with additional diamond and pearl jewels. (You'll again spot the diamond and pearl devant de corsage pinned to her sash.)


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Delightfully, Queen Juliana also experimented with the necklace. During her visit to the United States in the spring of 1952, she wore the trellis necklace as a hair ornament for a dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. The dinner, which was sponsored by the Netherlands-America Foundation, was also attended by one of Juliana's friends, Eleanor Roosevelt. Juliana wore the all-diamond version of the necklace in her hair for the banquet, but she paired it with sapphire jewels, including Queen Emma's Sapphire Necklace and her Sapphire Bow Brooch. (More on the sapphires over here!)


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During Juliana's reign, the necklace was also worn by her daughters. Princess Irene, for example, paired the necklace with the Dutch Ears of Wheat Tiara during the state visit from Queen Elizabeth II in 1958. And above, Princess Beatrix wears the sapphire setting of the necklace in June 1968 for a philharmonic concert. She paired the necklace with diamond earrings and the diamond and sapphire wing brooch.


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Princess Margriet still continues to wear the necklace on occasion. Here, she wears the all-diamond setting for the 40th birthday celebrations for King Willem-Alexander in September 2007.  


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Another royal sister-in-law, Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau, has been pictured in the necklace as well. She paired it with her diamond wedding tiara in April 2013 for the gala dinner held the night before King Willem-Alexander's inauguration ceremony.


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The most enthusiastic wearer of the necklace in recent years, however, has been Queen Maxima. She embraced the piece from the start, and has worn it in at least two of its settings. Above, she makes an early appearance in the diamond setting of the necklace at the wedding of Princess Martha Louise of Norway. On that occasion, she paired it with the Dutch Star Tiara, her wedding diadem.


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She also wore the all-diamond setting with diamond earrings from the royal vaults for a grand 60th birthday party in November 2008 at Buckingham Palace in honor of the Prince of Wales.


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She wore the sapphire setting of the necklace in May 2017 in Oslo during the glittering 80th birthday celebrations for King Harald V and Queen Sonja of Norway.


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And a few months later, in September 2017, she wore the all-diamond setting of the necklace with Queen Juliana's aqumarines for Prinsjesdag, the annual opening of the Dutch parliament, in The Hague.