May’s birthstone is the delicious green emerald, and all week, our Sparkling Spotlight will shine on some particularly nice examples of royal jewelry set with emeralds. Today, here’s a closer look at the Greek royal emeralds as worn by Queen Anne-Marie in January 2012 at her sister’s Ruby Jubilee in Copenhagen.
The emeralds owned by the former royal family of Greece originally come from Russia. Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna brought the Romanov gems with her to Athens when she married King George I of the Hellenes in 1867. The set of emerald cabochons included both round gems and pear-shaped drops, all polished to a smooth shine. Olga wore them in various configurations, occasionally even attaching some of them to a fabric kokoshnik.
The emerald set was adapted to include a traditional tiara by Queen Elisabeth of the Hellenes. The current tiara, which incorporates some of the round emeralds, is the second one she commissioned. You’ll note that its shape echoes the traditional kokoshnik—a tribute to Olga’s Russian roots—and includes the letter E in its design, a nod to Elisabeth. The rest of the parure also includes other pieces of jewelry, most notably a pair of earrings with pear-shaped emerald drops and a large brooch which incorporates both round and pear-shaped emeralds.
For the celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the accession of her sister, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, in 2012, Queen Anne-Marie wore the tiara from the set, as well as the earrings. She also suspended the suite’s brooch from a diamond riviere.
You’ll also spot a modern diamond and emerald bracelet on her right wrist. On her left, you’ll see a watch, as well as a slim golden bangle bracelet. This is the traditional bracelet given to female descendants of Princess Margaret of Connaught on their fifth birthdays.
Anne-Marie also wore decorations connected to her husband’s former Greek throne as well as her own Danish royal heritage. The large necklace-like ornament she wears on her navy blue gown is the collar of the Order of the Elephant, the most senior order of Danish chivalry. (Note the elephant suspended from the collar.) She’s also wearing the star of the Order of the Elephant, plus the star of her highest-ranking Greek order, the Order of the Redeemer. On her left shoulder, she pinned the Royal Family Order of her father, King Frederik IX of Denmark.
Here’s one more look at the gorgeous green cabochon emeralds in the Greek parure. The family hasn’t had a throne in almost half a century, but I’m pleased that we still get to see some of their royal jewelry worn today.