Today is National Day in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the tiny sovereign nation tucked into Western Europe. To mark the holiday, I’ve got a look at some of the most sparkling treasures from the grand ducal family’s jewelry collection. Enjoy the Luxembourgish glitter!
Any survey of Luxembourg’s grand ducal jewels really has to begin with this enormous diamond diadem, the Luxembourg Empire Tiara. The tiara has been in the family’s collection for around 200 years, but it arrived in Luxembourg with them in 1890, when the Duke of Nassau became the Grand Duke of Luxembourg. (Before then, the grand duchy was ruled in a personal union with the Netherlands, but because it was governed by Salic law, Queen Wilhelmina wasn’t allowed to inherit the grand ducal throne.) The towering tiara is worn exclusively by the grand duchess (currently Grand Duchess Maria Teresa) and was a particular favorite of Grand Duchess Charlotte. In the photo above, taken in Belgium in 2007, Maria Teresa pairs the tiara with emerald and diamond jewelry, including the Diamond Epaulette Brooch.)
The Long Nassau Diamond Rivière
This sparkling diamond necklace is the longer of two classic rivières from the grand ducal collection. (Rivières are necklaces with diamonds that are graduated in size, appearing to flow a little bit like a river—hence the name!) The shorter necklace features 35 diamonds; the longer one, pictured above on Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie, includes 45 diamonds. As you’ll see in the next photograph, the two necklaces are often worn together as a pair. Both necklaces date to the nineteenth century. (More here from our friends at Luxarazzi!)
The family’s collection also includes a trio of naturalistic diamond rose brooches, which date to at least the 1850s. The women of the family generally wear the brooches one at a time, often to secure the sash of a chivalric order. In the photograph above, taken in the Netherlands in 2006, Maria Teresa wears one of the brooches pinned to the sash of the Order of the Netherlands Lion. She’s also wearing the Empire Tiara, both diamond rivières, and the family’s classic pearl drop earrings.
The current ruler of Luxembourg, Grand Duke Henri, is the grandson of King Leopold III and Queen Astrid of Belgium, so it should come as no surprise that there are several pieces of Belgian royal jewelry in the grand ducal vaults. One of the most impressive is this diamond and emerald jewel, which features a single emerald cabochon. The piece can be worn as both a choker necklace and as a bracelet. The necklace has become a favorite of Grand Duchess Maria Teresa, who wears it above during a visit to France in 2018. She often pairs them with these diamond and emerald earrings.
The vaults in Luxembourg are stocked with emerald jewels, including this stunning Art Deco tiara from Chaumet. The piece features a geometric diamond design and an enormous central cabochon emerald, as well as a large cushion-cut diamond. The tiara was a favorite of Grand Duchess Charlotte, and given its design, it’s plausible that it was acquired during her reign. Today, it’s one of the tiaras worn exclusively by Grand Duchess Maria Teresa.
Perhaps Grand Duchess Maria Teresa’s favorite of all the tiaras in the family collection, this classic diamond tiara was one of the wedding gifts offered to her mother-in-law, Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte, in 1953. The sparkler was made by Henry Coosemans for the Société Générale, a French bank, who gave it to the princess as a wedding present. The tiara was nearly sold by the family after Joséphine-Charlotte’s death, but it remains with them today and is worn exclusively by Maria Teresa.
This classic brooch, which is designed in the shape of a fleur-de-lis, features a large pear-shaped pearl as its centerpiece. It belonged to Princess Ingeborg of Sweden, the great-grandmother of Grand Duke Henri. Grand Duchess Maria Teresa often wears the brooch for important royal occasions, including the Swedish royal wedding in 2010 and the British royal wedding in 2011.
This lovely, romantic tiara of berries and leaves was made in the second half of the nineteenth century. It’s been a favorite bridal diadem for the women of the grand ducal family. All four of Grand Duchess Charlotte’s daughters wore it on their wedding days, and more recently, it was worn by Princess Claire for her wedding to Prince Felix in 2013. Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie also wore the tiara for her pre-wedding gala in 2012.
One of the most elegant tiaras from the grand ducal vaults, this diamond and sapphire diadem features a leafy design and a lovely central sapphire. The tiara, which resembles a small kokoshnik, has likely been with the family since the 1870s. Today, it’s often worn by all of the senior ladies of the family, especially Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie. It’s also been worn by two recent family brides: Princess Marie Gabrielle in 2017 and Archduchess Gabriella in 2020.
One of the most delicate pieces in the family collection is this diamond and pearl négligée, which can be worn either as a brooch or a pendant. (In jewelry terms, a “négligée” is an ornament with two pendant sections, one of which is slightly longer, producing an asymmetrical effect.) The first owner of the piece was Infanta Maria Ana of Portugal, the wife of Grand Duke Guillaume IV of Luxembourg. It’s now worn by Grand Duchess Maria Teresa. In the photograph above, she wears it as a brooch on National Day in 2010.