The summer holiday period is in full swing in Europe, which means we’ll be seeing a bit less of our favorite royals and their jewels for several weeks. Because of that, our usual weekly royal jewel roundup will also be on hiatus for a bit.
But today, I’ve got a chance for you to vote on your favorite jewels anyway! I’ve got a survey of ten royal ruby tiaras from current royal collections. Check out the list, vote for your favorites, and offer us your top ten rankings in the comments below. (And, if you’re enjoying the chance to vote, stay tuned—we’ve got a little jewelry contest fun coming again at the start of next week!)
Among Princess Grace of Monaco’s wedding gifts was the Bains de Mer Tiara, a ruby and diamond sparkler that could be converted for wear as a necklace or a series of clip-style brooches. The diamonds and rubies reflected the national colors of her new home country. Above, Grace wears the Cartier-made tiara (with her diamond festoon necklace) for a private audience with Pope Pius XII at the Vatican in April 1957. Today, the family still owns the tiara, though it hasn’t been worn by any of the present Grimaldis. Instead, it’s often loaned to exhibitions.
When Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom needed a ruby tiara to add to her collection in the 1970s, she had diamonds from the dismantled Nizam of Hyderabad Tiara combined with a cache of Burmese rubies to create this distinctive sparkler. The piece features bold Tudor-style roses in its design, but it often gets mixed reviews from tiara lovers.
This tiara began its life as a series of hair combs, purchased by Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte for his wife, Desiree, to wear at Napoleon’s coronation in 1804. When Bernadotte was elected Crown Prince of Sweden, the rubies became royal jewels. The combs were made into a bandeau by Queen Alexandrine of Denmark, who had received them from her mother-in-law, Lovisa of Sweden. Queen Ingrid turned the bandeau into a grand wreath tiara, which is now worn by Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.
The King Edward VII Ruby Tiara was one of Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden’s wedding gifts in 1905. As the name suggests, it was a present from her uncle and aunt, King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom. After Margareta’s death, the tiara, which can also be worn as a necklace, was inherited by her son, Sigvard. After a bit of wrangling and back-and-forth arguments about ownership, his descendants eventually sold it to King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, and Queen Silvia wears it today.
This magnificent diamond and ruby tiara is one of two ruby sparklers from the Dutch royal vaults. The Mellerio Ruby Parure Tiara was made in 1889 and given to Queen Emma as a Christmas gift by King Willem III. Queen Maxima has worn this tiara often throughout her marriage, including a stunning appearance in June 2015 at the wedding of Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia of Sweden.
One of Queen Sofia of Spain’s wedding gifts was this Van Cleef & Arpels ruby set, presented to her by the shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos. The set includes a bandeau, which can be worn with either one or two strands of diamond and ruby clusters linked by diamond leaves. We last saw this tiara in public during the French state visit in 2009.
In June 2015, Princess Claire of Luxembourg debuted a brand-new ruby tiara. She wore the modern diamond and ruby bandeau for a family portrait taken during the annual National Day gala. For the celebrations, she paired the tiara with coordinating earrings and necklace from the same suite—which, interestingly, are much more substantial than the tiara itself.
This Indian-inspired diamond and ruby tiara was designed by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom after the Great Exhibition and made by Garrard. The diamond sparkler was originally set with opals, which were later replaced with rubies by Queen Alexandra. The tiara was a great favorite of the late Queen Mother, and it is presently owned and worn by Queen Elizabeth II.
This ruby and diamond tiara, designed to resemble an olive wreath, first belonged to Queen Olga of the Hellenes. They were later bequeathed to her son, Prince Nicholas, and worn by his daughters, Princesses Olga and Marina. After being bought back by King Paul, the tiara has stayed with the main line of the family, and is now worn by Queen Anne-Marie. (The Greeks may no longer have a throne, but the tiara is still in the collection of a royal princess. Anne-Marie is the sister of the Queen of Denmark.)
One of the most fun tiaras in the Dutch collection is, without a doubt, the Ruby Peacock Tiara. The diamond and ruby tiara features a removable center element designed to resemble a peacock’s tail. The set’s coordinating necklace and brooch also feature the same peacock-inspired design. The tiara has been worn in recent years by both Princess Beatrix and Queen Maxima.